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Five ingredients + one hour to marinate + 15 minutes on the grill = perfect Grilled Balsamic Marinated Chicken Breasts.
Yes, once again tasteless, boneless, skinless, juiceless chicken breasts have been transformed into tasty juicy bites of deliciousness. There are a few recipes out there for Balsamic Grilled Chicken Breasts, but most of them use a number of ingredients that I didn’t find at all necessary. Keep it simple. That’s my general motto. Simple but good.
Traditional balsamic vinegar is produced from the juice of just-harvested white grapes (typically, Trebbiano grapes) boiled down to approximately 30% of the original volume to create a concentrate or must, which is then fermented with a slow aging process which concentrates the flavors. The flavor intensifies over the years, with the vinegar being stored in wooden casks, becoming sweet, viscous and very concentrated. During this period, a portion evaporates: it is said that this is the “angels’ share.” The wooden casks are generally heirloom and passed down from grandparents to grandchildren. The oldest and most aged of these vinegars can cost up to $400 per 100ml.
These commercial grade products imitate the traditional product. They are made of wine vinegar with the addition of coloring, caramel and sometimes thickeners like cornflour to artificially simulate the sweetness and thickness of the aged Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. There is no aging involved, and hundreds of thousands of liters can be produced every day. You can certainly taste the differences between a true Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena and these massed produced products; and granted a true balsamic is more expensive, but overall I think it’s worth it for the purity of ingredients and taste.
So while you don’t need to have the best of the best in balsamic for this dish; at the very least, look for the IGP (Indicasione Geografica Protetta which means simply it was made in a way that is approved by the Italian balsamic watchers) seal of approval!
So now that we know a bit about balsamic vinegar, let’s get back to the recipe. This is great for a picnic. Get it marinating at home, take it to the park, set up the grill and watch the envy on the faces of all those hot dog eaters …
Place the chicken breasts in a zip top bag. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, lightly pound them until they are fairly uniform in thickness (in other words, try to get the thick part to be closer to thickness as the thin part )Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour into the bag. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 - 4 hours.
Clean and lightly oil the grids of your BBQ or grill. Heat to high; when hot, remove the chicken from the marinade. Pour the marinade into a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 1 - 2 minutes or until it boils, or place it in a small sauté pan and bring to a boil over high heat on the stovetop.
Place the chicken on the grill and lower the heat (if using charcoal, set it up for off heat cooking); you want the temperature to be around 350°F. Cook, turning occasionally and basting with the marinade (do not baste during the last 2 minutes of cooking time). It should take about 15 minutes for the breast to be cooked through. Remove the chicken discarding any additional marinade.
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