Today we premiere a new recipe series called “Open Flame,” which allows outdoor cooking enthusiasts the opportunity to cook alongside some of the city's top chefs and grill masters.
“Open Flame” is sponsored by American Propane, which also hosts the monthly event.
To start us, I invited chef Luke Fry, of Republic Gastropub, and chef Ryan Parrott, of Iguana Mexican Grill and Table One, to join me at the American Propane's cabana to do variations on a theme, namely chicken.
We used four different grills to prepare nine different dishes. My recipes are here, all the recipes can be found on NewsOK.com.
If you're interested in expressing yourself behind the grill, call me at 475-3155 to find out how to register for an upcoming “Open Flame.”
The next “Open Flame” at American Propane will be surf and turf. If you're interested in attending, call American Propane at 843-6868 to reserve your seat.
Here are the recipes.
Mexican Roadside Chicken
One of my favorite restaurants growing up in Austin, Texas, was a little place called Pinch-a-Pollo, which served one thing: roasted chicken.
Walking into the restaurant, diners were greeted by a huge charcoal grill encased in glass. Upon that grill was as many whole chickens as could fit. As with chicken served on roadsides throughout Mexico, these birds were butterflied, seasoned with rub and spread wide over a gentle flame.
You could order them whole, halved or quartered. With the chicken, you got a few tortillas and a handful of salsas to choose from. Sides included the obligatory beans and rice.
It's hard to succeed with a single dish unless it's perfect, and Pinch-a-Pollo served perfect chicken (not to mention having the greatest double-meaning restaurant name ever.) Over the years, I've developed my own version, though I doubt I'll ever be able to match what Pinch-a-Pollo used to serve.
At American Propane, I chose the HastyBake grill with its adjustable firebox, which allowed me to emulate the method used at Pinch-a-Pollo. Usually, I have to grill these birds over indirect heat, meaning shove all the coals to one side or turn off half the burners and roast at 320 degrees.
Having never used a HastyBake, I was amazed how perfectly the chicken came out. Perfect bronze color, crispy skin and evenly cooked, juicy chicken throughout.
1 whole chicken, cut along the backbone and spread wide
1 cup chile putty, recipe below
½ cup achiote oil, recipe below
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder, (you may use 2 tablespoons regular chile powder rather than these two powders)
1 tablespoon chimayo chile powder or other hot chile powder
1 tablespoon achiote powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¼ cup orange juice
Salt and pepper
• To make chile putty, combine all ingredients and set aside.
1 cup vegetable oil
1 glove garlic
2 tablespoons achiote powder
Pinch chile de arbol or cayenne powder
• To prepare the chicken, use kitchen shears to cut along the backbone. You may also use a sharp butcher's knife. Remove giblets and liver if present, spread wide on a chopping block and cover with wax paper.
• Using a meat pounder, hammer straight down on the breast to flatten the bird.
• Salt and pepper thoroughly, then smear chile putty all over chicken and place breasts side up. Try to maintain heat between 320 and 350 degrees. It will take about 45 minutes for the bird to reach 165 degrees. After 30 minutes, brush the achiote oil all over the skin and close grill for last 20 to 25 minutes. This will help crisp up the skin.
• Serve with tortillas, grilled green onions, spicy pickled red onions and Salsa de Chile de Arbol.
• Cook's notes: Rub green onions, especially those with the hearty whites known as knob onions, with remaining achiote oil and a little salt. Grill the last 5 to 10 minutes with the bird.
Pickled Red Onions
3 red onions, sliced very thin
3 to 6 serrano chiles sliced in half lengthwise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
8 to 10 black peppercorns
2 to 3 whole cloves
• Bring vinegar and all ingredients except peppers, onions and orange juice to a boil in a saucepan.
• Place onions, peppers and orange juice in a heatproof, resealable container. Once vinegar is at full boil, add to onions, peppers and orange juice.
• Mix well, allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.
Salsa de Chile de Arbol
15 to 20 chiles de arbol
2 cloves garlic
2 roma tomatoes
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 cups water
• Roll chiles between your hands to remove as many seeds as possible.
• In a small sauce pan, bring water to a boil and add chiles, tomato and garlic. Boil 20 minutes.
• Move chiles, tomato, garlic, vinegar and ¼ cup of water from saucepan to food processor. Puree until smooth, add salt and pepper to taste. If too thick, add a little more of the water until you reach desired consistency.
• Run through a sieve to remove any chile skin pieces. Seal and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
2 pounds chicken wings, rinsed and thoroughly dried
1 stick butter
1 cup Salsa Guajillo, recipe below
¼ cup crumbled queso fresco
½ cup achiote oil
Salt and pepper
Flaky salt to finish
• In a large mixing bowl, toss wings with achiote oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Make sure wings are well-coated. Clean bowl for second use.
• Over a hot grill, cook wings 4 to 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through.
• Melt butter in a sauce pan, blend with Salsa Guajillo
• Return wings to mixing bowl and toss with butter-salsa mixture. Add cheese and flaky salt, serve with Crema Casera.
Apple Pie Tacos
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons divided out
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 stick of butter
2 teaspoons fresh-ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup apple juice
8 six-inch tortillas
¼ cup confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
• Combine apples with flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar.
• Preheat a large, heavy skillet to medium and add 3 tablespoons butter. When butter sizzles, add apple mixture.
• Cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until well-combined. Add cinnamon, cloves, apples and ½ cup sugar, bringing to a slow boil. Gently simmer until apples are softened, 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of your pan.
• Cool to room temperature.
• Heat a heavy skillet to medium heat and melt enough butter to coat one tortilla at a time. Drop the tortilla in the melted butter 3 to 4 seconds and flip.
• Put 2 to 3 spoonfuls of apple filling in the middle of the tortilla, then fold to create taco. Fry until golden and repeat until done. You might be able to do 2 or 3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan.
• Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and serve with vanilla ice cream.
• Cook's note: Filling can be prepared well in advance.
• Source: Dave Cathey.