Chicken with Minted Cucumbers

Chicken with Minted Cucumbers

Thanks goes out to Janice Elder, of Charlotte, North Carolina for this delicious recipe.  I don’t personally know Janice, but we found her delicious entry in the Category Finalist section of the Cooking Light Ultimate Reader Recipe Contest, in the April 2008 edition of Cooking Light.  The cucumbers, mint and honey provided a sweet balance for the red pepper and serrano chile, and we seemed to find individual flavors bursting through in every bite.  The soy sauce and sesame oil pulled together this asian-influenced dish in a very satisfying way.  It looked like a winner from the start, and we were thoroughly pleased.  Great work, Janice!

Ingredients:

Cucumbers:

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced (about 2-1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced

Chicken:

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Preparation:

To prepare cucumbers, place cucumber slices in a colander; sprinkle with salt, tossing well.  Drain 1 hour.  Place cucumber slices on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels.  Let stand 5 minutes, pressing down occasionally.  Combine cucumber, shallots, and next 6 ingredients (through chile) in a large bowl; toss gently.  Cover and set aside.

To prepare chicken, place each chicken thigh between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.  (Note: Our chicken thighs were not that thick to begin with, so we omitted this task with no ill-effect.  Use your own judgement.)  Combine soy sauce and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag.  Add chicken to soy sauce mixture in bag; seal.  Marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade.  Place 4 thighs in pan; cook 6 minutes on each side, or until done.  Repeat procedure with remaining 4 thighs.  Place 2 thighs and 1/2 cup cucumbers on each of 4 plates; sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon green onions and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds.

Yield: 4 servings.

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