Friday Recipe Exchange: Grilling Up Some Chicken

BBQ Thighs Final2A few years ago, I picked 5 gallons of crab apples and made up a large batch of apple butter. It made a LOT of butter. I gave it away, I tucked some away, I kept a jar open in the frig for toast. It lasted forever, so I was always looking for different things to do with it (btw, was a great addition to pumpkin pie).

I thought it might be good with chicken or pork and eventually decided that barbecue chicken thighs would be where I started.  A spicy, smoky mix of apple butter, chipolte peppers in adobo sauce and a touch of spices made the perfect sauce. Alas, all my apple butter is gone and I don’t anticipate making it again (ever, not even if you paid me). Canning is not my thing. But the Farmer’s Market to the rescue for tonight’s featured recipe, where I found someone who likes to can and I was happy to pay.

In that fruity vein, I have two more fruit inspired grilled chicken recipes:

Cranberry Grilled Chicken, click here for the recipe, mustard gives it a bit of bite, but you can add cayenne or red pepper flakes to kick it up a bit more.

Can’t go wrong with citrus and chicken, here’s a marinade that is a notch above traditional lemon chicken, Sunrise Chicken (click here).

JeffreyW puts his smoker to work on Smoked Chicken, pictured below and directions here.

DSC_4338 (1600x1060)

One of my favorite grilled sides (besides grilled corn) is Sweet Peppers and Potatoes, recipe here.

What’s cooking in your backyard this weekend? If you grill, what’s your preference – coals, wood pellets, or gas?

For the pet lovers, a quick Bixby update here.

Bixby paw 7 4

For tonight’s featured recipe, you can make it is as spicy or mild as you like by adjusting the number of peppers you add. Bone-in, skin on thighs would work best, but you can easily switch out leg quarters or bone-in, skin on breasts.

Chipolte-Apple Butter Barbecue Chicken

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic

————

  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (to start, add more as desired)
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Season thighs with 1 tsp crushed garlic,  salt and pepper. Let sit for 5-10 minutes while oven or grill preheats to 375 degrees. Bake or grill chicken for 15 minutes. Meanwhile in a blender or food processor, blend together remaining ingredients until smooth. Brush on chicken thighs thickly at the 15 minute mark and add more every 5 minutes until chicken reaches 165 degrees internal temperature (usually 10-15 minutes for a total cooking time of 25 to 30 minutes). Serve with lots of napkins.

That’s it for this week. I’m working on a couple of breakfast pizzas (inspired by a restaurant review I stumble upon) so those might make an appearance in the next week or so. Until then, have a great weekend – TaMara

cropped-dsc_2554-1024x7681.jpg

Tidbits

DSC_9141 (1600x1060)Just a reminder:  You can make a burrito out of nearly anything you can wrap a tortilla around.  We had chicken chili with white beans a few days ago and the little dab of leftovers worked great with the addition of Monterey jack.DSC00571 (1600x1060)I call this a “cuddle” of puppies.  I like how the little guy with the white on his muzzle is framed in this picture.DSC_9146 (1600x1060)Mrs J likes banana bread so much that she buys bananas and lets them ripen just so she can make it.  The one has raisins and pecans.  I found a jar of apple butter on the pantry shelf, applesauce works well as an accompaniment but apple butter just goes it one better.DSC_4902 (1600x1060)Notice the subtle segue from apples to snakes?  LOL  Here’s your random wildlife, a small snake in the grass beside the walk this morning.  I’m not sure what species it is but I would guess it’s a juvenile black rat snake.  The mottled look fades over time.DSC_9158 (1600x1060)We made the last batch of tomatoes into soup and canned 7 quarts.  I amazed myself with a practical application of arithmetic – I knew my canner would hold seven quart jars so I figured how many inches of juice I needed and let the tomatoes reduce at a simmer until it measured the correct depth.  I won’t burden you with the formula lest I make a foolish error but if I remember correctly 7 US quarts is a tad over 5 inches in my 10″ pot, I think I went five and a quarter-ish, making a mark on a wooden spoon.DSC00585 (1600x1060)I never said there wouldn’t be math!  I did say there would be kittehs, though.  They named this one Brock and he was adopted the next day after Mrs J posted this picture on the shelter’s facebook page.DSC_9157 (1600x1060)I’ll close out with a couple of sammiches, here’s a loaded chicken tenders sammy with some potato salad from the local Kroger deli.DSC_9163 (1600x1060)More sauerkraut than pastrami on this reuben.  There wasn’t much pastrami left so I compensated a tad.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Chipotles in Adobo Sauce

DSC_4217 [1600x1200]

JeffreyW uses his chipotles in adobo sauce for breakfast.

It seems that JeffreyW and I both have a fondness for chipotles. I hadn’t realized it until I decided to feature his recipe for homemade chipotles in adobo sauce. There were four pages of recipes that included them in some way or another. They can all be found here.

I was thrilled when JeffreyW put together a batch of chipotles in adobo sauce, using jalapenos from his summer garden. I learned a lot from his post. I’m going to direct you to the entire thing instead of just reposting his recipe because he does a terrific explanation of the whole process. So before you try any of tonight’s other recipes, you might want to start with JeffreyW’s recipe (found here).

Once you’ve got your chipotles and sauce all prepped (or bought), you can try them in any of the following:

My absolute favorite is Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon (recipe here). A great way to kick up a comfort food.

The spicy sauce is great in combination with fruits. When strawberries were in season I spiced up someone else’s recipe for Chicken in Strawberry Sauce with some chipotles in adobo sauce for a real treat (recipe here).

And from the photo at top, JeffreyW uses it to spice up his breakfast (recipe here).

So are you a fan of chipotles in adobo sauce? Have a favorite way to use them? If you haven’t tried them, are they something you might try now that we’ve wowed you with their many uses?

Finally, tonight’s featured recipe:

I had canned a big batch of apple butter a while back and one night I was wondering what to do with it besides spread it on bread. I had been thinking that it would be good with chicken or pork and eventually decided that barbecue chicken thighs would be where I would start. Then I decided to heat it up.  A spicy, smoky mix of apple butter, chipotles in adobo sauce and a touch of spices made the perfect sauce:

BBQ Thighs Final

Chipotle-Apple Butter Barbecue Chicken

I decided that bone-in, skin on thighs would work best.

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic

————

  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (to start, add more as desired)
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Season thighs with 1 tsp crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Let sit for 5-10 minutes while oven or grill preheats to 375 degrees. Bake or grill chicken for 15 minutes. Meanwhile in a blender or food processor, blend together remaining ingredients until smooth. Brush on chicken thighs thickly at the 15 minute mark and add more every 5 minutes until chicken reaches 165 degrees internal temperature (usually 10-15 minutes for a total cooking time of 25 to 30 minutes). Serve with lots of napkins.

Baked Bacon

On my latest trip, my youngest brother decided it would be nice to cook a big breakfast for us.  And he showed me something I’d never seen before.  He baked the bacon.  It was terrific.  Perfect texture and easy cleanup.  He said the instructions were on the back of the package and easy to follow.  Have to admit, I’ve never read a package of bacon – avoiding those calorie counts don’t cha know.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place the bacon on racks in a foil covered baking dish.

Thick cut bacon placed on racks in foil covered baking dish.

Baked for about 17 to 20 minutes.

Perfect!

We used the homemade apple butter on the toast and his garden fresh peppers and onions in the yummy eggs.

Sometimes the best breakfast is the one your brother cooks for you.

Chipotle-Apple Barbecue Chicken

I don’t know if you heard, but I have a bit of Apple Butter at my house.  The other day I was wondering what I could do with it besides cover slice after slice of bread with it (not that there is anything wrong with THAT!).  I had been thinking that it would be good with chicken or pork and eventually decided that barbecue chicken thighs would be where I started.  A spicy, smoky mix of apple butter, chipolte peppers in adobo sauce and a touch of spices made the perfect sauce:

I decided that bone-in, skin on thighs would work best.  Serve with corn on the cob and marinated green beans for a complete meal.

Chipolte-Apple Butter Barbecue Chicken

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic

————

  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (to start, add more as desired)
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Season thighs with 1 tsp crushed garlic,  salt and pepper. Let sit for 5-10 minutes while oven or grill preheats to 375 degrees. Bake or grill chicken for 15 minutes. Meanwhile in a blender or food processor, blend together remaining ingredients until smooth. Brush on chicken thighs thickly at the 15 minute mark and add more every 5 minutes until chicken reaches 165 degrees internal temperature (usually 10-15 minutes for a total cooking time of 25 to 30 minutes). Serve with lots of napkins.

Apple Butter Anyone? Updated.

This is how I spent my weekend.  How’d you spend yours?  Do anything fun?

(Updated.  See final tally at end of post)

Adventures in Apple Butter

It all started with a tree:

A tree filled with crab apples.  And a desire to see them not go to waste.  It took me 20 minutes to pick a 5 gallon bucket full.  I grabbed a few green apples from a neighboring tree to top it off.

Then it was home to wash them.  And wash them and wash them.

I washed 4 sinks full and washed them each three times, culling the bad ones each time.  A couple of things about crab apples:

  1. Bad ones float right to the top.
  2. Black spots always go all the way through the apple – took me about 10 to figure this out – so you can’t cut out the bad stuff.
  3. They seem to suffer from blossom rot, if the stems pulled out they had blossom rot and were rotten throughout.
  4. Unlike the green apples next to them, I saw no evidence of worms or bugs in any apple.  Whew!

Once I figured this out, culling them was pretty quick.  But the thing you need to know is that no matter how much you cull a few bad ones are going to slip through.  Just the nature of their size.  So if that is going to make you queasy, cooking with crab apples probably isn’t for you.

I used three tools for the apple butter and without them I don’t think I would have gone to the trouble.  I cooked them (basically steamed them) in my pressure cooker, I pureed them in my Vita-Mix and I cooked the apple butter down in my slow-cooker.  I can’t imagine the amount of work it would have taken without these.

Next step was to pressure cook them.  Whole: peels, seeds, stems and all.   I added about 1 cup of water and the steamer tray to my pressure cooker and then I cooked them for 25 minutes.  Which is probably a bit long, but that made sure they were good and mushy before the blending stage.

After cooling each batch a bit, I ran them through the Vita-Mix – peels, stems, seeds and all.  Keep in mind the seeds are minuscule  and the stems are smaller than grape stems and cooked tender.  To puree this in a hand puree’er would be to lose much of  the texture and flavors of the whole crab apples. You’d also lose a good portion of your tiny apples.

After running it through the Vita-Mix, I added about 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp of pumpkin spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg) for each 6 cups of puree.

This is the smooth mixture from the blender, before cooking down in slow-cooker

Then the mixture was added to the slow-cooker, filled to about 2 inches from the top.  Set the slow-cooker on low and use a wooden spoon to prop the lid open to let the steam escape. Because what you want is for the mixture to cook down by half and caramelize.    This takes 8-12 hours.  After the first batch, when the sides browned a little too much, I stirred the next batches every hour or so to keep it from burning.  After it cooked down and was the consistency I was looking for, I did it all over again.

As you can see, there is still a lot to do.  I am cooking the next batch of apples as I put this blog post together.  I only jarred two pints – these are not canned and will need to be refrigerated – one to use here and one to take to work tomorrow.  The rest I plan to can tomorrow night when all the butter is cooked.  I’m planning on both pints and 1/2 pints, most of which I will give away.  I still don’t have a good idea how much this is going to make, but I’ll wager 6 additional pints and 6  half pints.  I’ll update you when it’s all done.  Oh, and by the way, it tastes amazing.  And all weekend long my house smelled like fall.

UPDATED:  Final tally was 12 pints and 12 half pints.  I canned all but 3 pints and 4 half pints which were given away immediately to friends and neighbors with instructions to keep refrigerated.  I never expected it to make so much.

Apple Butter Pork Loin

This is a new recipe for me and I loved the way it turned out.  The combination of pork, apple and spices was so good and this recipe is really easy.  It’s based on this recipe from Allrecipes.com, but I changed it up a little bit.  This recipe can be cut back to serve less people with very little trouble.

Apple Butter Pork Loin Roast

1 10 lb pork loin roast

7 apples – peeled and cored – sprinkled with cinnamon sugar if desired

4 cups of apple cider (32 oz)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups of apple butter (16 oz)

3/4 cup dark brown sugar (6 0z)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground cloves

1 teaspoon of fresh grated nutmeg

20 whole cloves – optional

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Put your pork roast in a roasting pan and season to taste with salt and pepper and stud with cloves if you’re using them.  Pour in the apple cider, making sure that  the bottom of the pan is covered.  Place your apples in the pan around the roast.  I used 4 Granny Smith and 3 Pink Lady apples, the Granny Smiths melted into apple sauce in the juice, the Pink Ladies stayed intact, but were very soft and sweet.

Cover tightly with foil and roast for 1 1/2 hours.

Mix the apple butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves and nutmeg in a small bowl while the roast is in the oven.

Remove the roast from the oven, uncover and slather the apple butter mix  over the roast, re-cover with the foil and return to oven and continue to roast for at least another 1 1/2 hours.  Uncover the roast and return to oven for 30 minutes until the apple butter glaze starts to dry out a bit.  Remove from oven and let sit and rest for 10 minutes.  Slice and serve with juice/sauce from the pan.

I found the cooking time after you add the apple butter glaze to be pretty forgiving.  There’s so much moisture in the pan that you can leave it cooking for a really long time without drying it out as long as the foil is on it.  I like to cook my pork until it’s falling apart, so I cooked mine for almost 2 1/2 hours before I pulled the foil off.  If you like your pork more firm, stick with the shorter time but cook until it is at least 190 degrees internal temp on a meat thermometer.

I served this with twice baked potatoes made with sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese and bacon, steamed asparagus drizzle with garlic-olive oil and classic ceasar salad.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.