05.07.09: dinner.

Grilled Chicken Pita with Grilled Onions, Tomato Jam and Cilantro Creme Fresh

Grilled Chicken and Onion Pita with Tomato Jam and Cilantro Creme Fresh with Garbanzo Salad

This is something I made about a year ago and really enjoyed, but then never made again.  I had been travelling the previous weekend and when I returned home, I was in a creative mood.  My fridge was stocked with strange leftover odds and ends and I sought out to improvise wherever possible.  The tomato jam is definitely the star and the hero of this preparation- the tandoori gives a depth that’s both unexpected and irresistible.  Also, this is the first time I thought to add onions- as a Philly boy, it’s embarrassing that this sweet and savory cheesesteak staple eluded me for so long.  The recipes follow:

Grilled Chicken and Onion Pitas with Tandoori Tomato Jam and Cilantro Creme

  • 2-4 pitas.
  • 12 oz chicken tenderloins
  • soy sauce
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large onion, sliced into thin circles
  • 1 14 oz can of petite cut tomatoes
  • 1-2 tsp tandoori spice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • creme fresh
  • cilantro, finely chopped

Marinate the chicken in enough soy sauce and balsamic vinegar to coat for 20 minutes.  Open the tomatoes and drain most of the liquid.  In a medium saucepan, add the tomatoes, sugar and tandoori spice and turn to medium high.  The sauce will begin to simmer then reduce and after 5-10 minutes, turn down the heat to medium.  Continue reducing the heat as the mixtures tightens, ending eventually at low.  Add a splash balsamic vinegar every once in a while when the tomatoes are looking dry.  Give this at least 30 minutes and keep a vigil over the pan to make sure its simmering high enough but not sticking or burning.

Warm up an electric or outdoor grill (medium setting) or grill pan or saute pan.  Cook the chicken until done, reaching an internal temp above 170 F.  Remove the chicken from the grill then immediately add the onions and saute until brown and sweet, about 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Finally, add the chopped cilantro to the creme fresh.  The amounts here vary based on how much of the green stuff you like on your pita.  Chop the cilantro finely to avoid that leaf-in-teeth feeling.  Add a bit of salt and pepper.  You can substitute Greek yogurt or sour cream for the creme fresh, so omit it all together and mix the cilantro into the tomato jam once it’s done cooking.  Stuff pitas to your liking and dive in.

Simple Garbanzo Salad

  • 1 15 oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red pepper, roasted and chopped
  • 1/4 onion or 2 shallots, chopped very fine
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2+ tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Mix the first four ingredients well.  Top with the vinegar, add some salt and toss.  Let sit for *at least* 30 minutes.  If the salad is too bland, add more vinegar.  Drizzle with olive oil before serving.  Any number of additional components can be added to the salad, just make sure the garbanzos have some quality time with the vinegar and make sure that whatever else you add can stand up the salt and acid for the waiting period, otherwise wait to add it until serving.

Bon Appetito!


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