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Yucatan Chicken Skewers with Peanut Red Chile BBQ Sauce

yucatan chickern

Being a self confessed Food Network junkie I have watched Bobby Flay for year and made a few of his dishes. Last fall I visited Mesa Grill while on a trip to NYC and was blown away by the flavor in all of the dishes.

When I came home I bought his Mesa Grill Cookbook, an updated version of the original one I had several years ago.

This weekend I decided to try the Yucatan Chicken Skewers With Red Cabbage Slaw and Peanut Red Chile BBQ sauce. I know, a mouthful! But it is a flavorful combination and would be a hit as an appetizer at a BBQ or as a dinner served as a quesadillo, taco or wrap.

It is not a quick recipe but a series of recipes, many of which can be made ahead.

The Mesa Grill BBQ Sauce is good on its own and is the base of several other recipes in his book.

Yucatan Chicken Skewers with Red Cabbage Slaw and Peanut Red Chile BBQ Sauce
adapted from Bobby Flay/Food Network online

6 chicken breasts, boneless skinless – Cut into long pieces
24 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Butter lettuce leaves, to serve
Peanut-Red Chile BBQ Sauce, recipe follows
Red Cabbage Slaw, recipe follows
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish

Skewer each chicken piece with 2 skewers so that they lay flat. Place the chicken in a large shallow baking dish.

Whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, honey, oil, chili powder, and garlic. Pour over thighs and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours.

Preheat grill to high or grill pan over high heat.

Remove skewers from the marinade and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until just cooked through.

Remove chicken from skewer, place in a butter lettuce leaf, drizzle with some of the peanut-red chili sauce, and top with slaw, mint, and chopped peanuts.

Peanut-Red Chile BBQ Sauce:
1 tablespoon canola oil
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Mesa BBQ Sauce, recipe follows, or store-bought BBQ sauce
2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo puree
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in medium saucepan over medium heat; add the ginger and cook until soft. Increase heat to high, add the BBQ sauce and chicken stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Whisk in the soy sauce, peanut butter, chipotle puree, and honey and cook until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes.


Mesa BBQ Sauce:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 cups canned plum tomatoes and juices, pureed
1 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
3 tablespoons pasilla chili powder
2 to 4 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, pureed (depending on how spicy you like it)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for an additional 30 to 40 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature. Sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator stored in a tightly sealed container.

Yield: 4 cups

Red Cabbage Slaw:
1/2 head red cabbage, finely shredded
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup freshly squeeze orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place cabbage and onion in a large bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, orange juice, oil and honey and pour over the cabbage. Add the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

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