The other weekend, I went to dinner at Tinto, Garces’ Basque-influenced small plates wine bar in Philly. Thanks to my wonderful parents, we got the chef’s tasting, and got to eat some of the most amazing food. My favorites were the duck confit and the cheese plate, but I’d have to go back to be sure.
The dish I decided that I could make was a version of the chicken brochettes. Tinto’s version had a truffle jus, so I had to just use the idea and run with some different flavors – but I’m pleased with my end result.
I made these for my mac and cheese party, and they really nicely offset the heavy creaminess of the later dishes. I think these flavors could also be adjusted to go with almost any style of food you were going for.
(I can’t believe I don’t have a picture! – Ok, I can believe it…I was cooking for 12 that night and was a bit distracted. My lovely roommate assembled mine, and they looked about as good as Garces’, so I’ll just include that picture here. And, yes, I do have those awesome skinny parfait glasses – wonderful birthday present!)
Chicken Brochettes with Garbanzo Puree
(Not based on a recipe, so the ingredient list is a bit fluid)
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-sized pieces
Lots of cilantro
Chickpeas – about 1/2 to 3/4 of a can
Salt and pepper
Take chicken breast, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Then, in a food processor, blend cilantro and lemon juice and pour over chicken to marinate for a while. Place chicken on skewers – be sure to soak in water beforehand – and cook. (It would be great to barbecue these, but I cooked them under the broiler and they turned out well.) Let the chicken cool slightly, then remove from skewers. On long toothpicks, or skewers that have been cut in half, create your brochette, with two grapes and two pieces of chicken each, alternating between the two.
I made the dipping sauce in my food processor, blending chickpeas with olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro, cayenne pepper, salt, and cumin. Make sure all the chickpeas are blended thoroughly and that you have enough liquid mixed in to make the puree more of a sauce than a hummus. It makes it easier to actually dip into. Also, be sure to use lots of spices – more than you think you would need – so they stand out against the flavor of the chickpeas.
Pipe the puree into parfait glasses (put the puree in a plastic bag, cut one corner of the plastic bag, and then use like a pastry bag) and put one chicken-grape skewer in each glass. Chicken should be a bit warm, but not really hot. The flavors really come out at closer to room temperature.
People loved these – even the ones who probably aren’t big on hummus – and they’re really pretty healthy and quick. I’m sure M could come up with a way to make these vegetarian or even vegan–I just like chicken.