Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Coconut Sauce

Grilled chicken with spicy coconut sauce

Every so often, Joel buys ebook versions of cookbooks for the iPad. He has gotten a slow cooker book, a Pioneer Woman book, a Mark Bittman book, and now this one, The New Portuguese Table by David Leite. I'm not entirely familiar with Portuguese cuisine, but as I flipped through the book, I noticed that many of the dishes are simple and don't require fancy ingredients that I wouldn't normally buy. I immediately set out to make this chicken dish. While all of the components were delicious, my favorite part of this recipe was the coconut marinade for the chicken. I tried it (before putting the chicken into it) and was amazing! To continue the coconut theme, we served this chicken over coconut rice (rice made with coconut milk instead of water). Aside from the time the chicken took sitting in the fridge marinating, this dish came together very quickly, and could easily be adapted to serve a crowd. 

For the Chicken:
1 small Yellow Onion, chopped
4 Garlic Cloves
3-inch thumb of Fresh Ginger, peeled
1 cup Coconut Milk
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
2 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper Flake, plus more for serving
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves

Put the onion, garlic, ginger, coconut milk, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a food processor and buzz until smooth. Drop the chicken into a large resealable freezer bag, pour in the marinade, and toss to coat. Place the bag in a shallow dish and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, turning several times. Remove the chicken from the fridge about 30 minutes before ready to cook.  Preheat a gas grill to high. Lower the heat to medium and lightly brush the grill rack with oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill until well marked and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes per side. 

For the Coconut Sauce:
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 small Yellow Onion, minced
1 teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest
1-inch thumb Fresh Ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flake
2 teaspoons Double-Concentrate Tomato Paste (I just used regular)
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 can (13.5 ounces) Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the lemon zest, ginger, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste, and cook, stirring often, until the colors deepen and the mixture is very fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Toss in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Pour in the coconut milk and cream and bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by one quarter, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

For Serving:
Dollop cooked rice onto a plate, top with chicken breast, and spoon the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with chives and additional red pepper flake as garnish, if desired.