This dinner really felt like summer, a cool refreshing salad & a sandwich off the grill. The prep work was pretty minimal, cooking some rice & brining the chicken. Oh, I also baked up a few hamburger rolls in the morning.
The BBQed Pulled Chicken Salad was Matt's idea & really a very simple one. He wanted to use some of the Wee Willy's Barbecue Sauce in grilled chicken sandwich. We decided to pull the chicken meat because I think it makes for a nicer sandwich than just sticking a breast of chicken on a bun. I've never brined anything other than a turkey for Thanksgiving but I thought brining the chicken breast before grilling would keep them moist & I was really right. I'll take the extra half hour to do that step when grilling chicken breasts in the future. This sandwich is really shows how tasty simplicity can be, just make sure to use a really good barbecue sauce.
BBQed Pulled Chicken
2 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
3/4 T kosher salt
2 t sugar
4 c cold water
4 hamburger rolls
Dissolve the salt & sugar in the water. Pound the chicken out until it is an even 1/2-inch thick. Put the chicken in a shallow baking dish or sealable plastic bag & pour the salted/sugared water over it. Allow the chicken to sit in the brine, in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Throw out the brine & grill the chicken until cooked throughly. Using two forks pull the chicken meat into shredded. Mix in your favorite barbecue sauce & serve on a roll.
Makes 4 sandwiches
The little bit fancier part of this meal was the Rice & Fennel Salad. It used up the half a fennel bulb I had from the Fennel Tzatziki we made on Sunday. The recipe is from Gourmet August '07. I changed the rice they used from basamati to brown rice. I think the brown rice has such a nice bite to it & is a little healthier. Don't overcook your rice for this, mushy or sticky rice would not be good.
This was a really refreshing summer salad. I really liked the way the flavor of the orange matched with the flavor of the fennel. I will definitely make it again but next time I think I might add a little more orange juice, I thought it could use just a touch more zing.
Rice & Fennel Salad
1/2 t fennel seeds
1 c water
1/2 c brown rice
1/2 large navel orange
1/2 t white wine vinegar
1 T olive oil
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thin
1 T fennel fronds, chopped
2 scallions, sliced thin
Toast the fennel seeds until slightly darker & fragrant. In a small saucepan, add the water & fennel seeds & bring to a boil. Add the rice & cook covered over low heat until the water is absorbed & the rice is tender. (We use a rice steamer so I just added the water, fennel seeds & rice to that & let it do its thing.) Spread the rice out on a baking sheet or pan & put in the refrigerator to chill for 5 to 10 minutes.
Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, a pinch of salt & a pinch of pepper together. Grate the zest of the orange & add it to the vinaigrette. Squeeze the juice of the orange into the vinaigrette & mix.
Once the rice has chilled, mix it together with the fennel, fennel fronds & scallions. Stir in the vinaigrette & salt & pepper to taste.
Makes 2 servings.