This is not an April Fool. I repeat this is not an April Fool.
A couple of weeks ago I was looking back over some older recipes in my collection to make sure I wasn’t repeating myself on the blog. Whilst going through the chicken section I was reminded how much I’d enjoyed my Margarita Chicken. I started to think what else I could do in a similar vein, but struggled to work out what that should be. It only started to coalesce into a plan when I saw my Dublin Mudslide Pavlova on my Instagram feed. Could I use classic cocktails as the inspiration for a recipe collection? Well, you can be the judge of that as I present my Piña Colada Chicken.
The basic flavours in a Piña Colada are rum, coconut and pineapple. Perfect for a dessert, right? Well it turns out that they’re also pretty good as a main course too – if you get the flavours spot on. The last thing I wanted to create was the experience of eating an ice cream sundae with a chicken garnish. It needed to be a savoury dish with a hint of sweetness. Considering I don’t normally like fruit and meat together I had really set myself a challenge.
First up is the chicken itself. I’ve been a big fan of making oven-baked crispy chicken for a while. It’s a technique I use in quite a few recipes and it’s yet to fail me. Here I’ve used a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and desiccated coconut to bring crunch and flavour. They work perfectly and the coconut tastes even better once it’s slightly toasted in the oven.
Alongside the chicken is the purest piña colada element – a rum, coconut and pineapple sauce. Whilst this is undoubtedly sweet and rich, it maintains a savoury edge with a little salt and a hit of coriander to keep it just on the right side of being sickly. Trust me when I say it really does work. Plus, the chicken could be a little dry without some sort of sauce so it might as well be this one, no?
Finally, the plate is dressed with a spicy pineapple salsa which adds contrast in both heat and texture. The sweetness of the pineapple is balanced by red onions and peppers, as well as chilli, lime and coriander. I even found an excuse to hide a little more rum in here too. I liked this so much that I’m tempted to make this as a side on its own for a summer barbecue. Or as a dip to go with tortilla chips and drinks on the patio. Maybe fruit and meat can work together? Maybe the people who put pineapple onto a pizza aren’t completely mad after all…
Anyway, suffice it to say that Michael and I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe and I will no doubt be making it again in the summer. Just in time for us to enjoy it outside in the garden, with frozen piña colada chasers in hand!
Piña Colada Chicken
For the Pineapple Salsa
- 150 g Pineapple fresh or from a tin
- ½ Red Onion peeled and chopped
- ½ Red Pepper deseeded and chopped
- ½ Red Chilli deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 Lime juiced and zested
- 2 tbsp Dark Rum
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Fresh Coriander chopped
- Pinch Sea Salt Flakes
- Pinch Freshly Ground Black Pepper
For the Chicken
- 2 Skinless and Boneless Chicken Breast Fillets
- 2 tbsp Plain Flour
- ½ tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- ½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Free Range Egg beaten
- 2 tbsp Panko Breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp Desiccated Coconut
For the Piña Colada Sauce
- 100 ml Coconut Cream
- 100 ml Pineapple Juice
- 1 tbsp Dark Rum
- 1 tbsp Fresh Coriander chopped
- 1 tbsp Soured Cream
- Pinch Sea Salt
- 150 g Rice cooked per packet instructions
- Mixed Salad Leaves or Green Beans
Make the Pineapple Salsa
- If you’re using tinned pineapple drain well and pat away the excess moisture with some kitchen paper. If you’re using fresh pineapple trim well and remove the tough core section, before cutting into slices or wedges.
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, then dry fry the pineapple for a few minutes on each side until slightly charred.
- Finely chop the pineapple and put into a bowl along with any juice. Add the finely chopped onion, red pepper, chilli and lime zest, then stir until mixed.
- Mix together the lime juice, rum, olive oil and coriander to make a dressing. Pour over the salsa and stir until everything is coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep at room temperature whilst you follow the next steps.
- If you’re making this in advance, cover and keep in the fridge until needed. Allow the salsa to come back to room temperature before serving – you don’t want it to be fridge cold.
Prepare the Chicken
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
- Put the chicken breast fillets between two sheets of cling film (or into a large freezer bag) and pound them with a rolling pin until they’re about 1cm thick. This will help them cook more quickly and ensure that you get a nice balance of crunchy coating and tender chicken.
- Season the flour with the salt, pepper and paprika then spread out onto a large plate. Put the beaten egg onto a second plate and mix together the breadcrumbs and desiccated coconut onto a third plate.
- Dredge each chicken in the seasoned flour first, tapping off any excess but leaving a nice coating. Follow this by dipping them into the egg, again making sure all parts get coated. Finally dip them into the breadcrumb-coconut mixture and coat well – you may need to apply a little pressure to ensure the chicken is fully coated with breadcrumbs. Transfer the breaded chicken fillets to a baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning after 10 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.
Make the Sauce
- Whilst the chicken is baking you can prepare the sauce.
- Put the coconut cream, pineapple juice and rum into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and reduce until thickened. You want it to be coating the back of a spoon. Add the soured cream and chopped coriander, then reduce the heat to low and keep warm until needed. Season to taste before serving.
- Serve the chicken with the salsa alongside and drizzle over the sauce as you see fit.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||17||g|
|of which Sugars||9||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|