Huzzah! Spring is finally here to stay. I might be somewhat prejudiced but Atlanta has to be one of the most gorgeous cities anywhere this time of year. Ornamental cherry trees, redbuds, and dogwoods have burst into full bloom creating a living palette of color. Azaleas will soon follow adding spectacular pinks to the range of hues. The clear air, warm sunshine, and the vivid green of budding leaves brings me back to life from a cold and dreary winter.
Spring also means grilling season is in full swing at the Harris-Polak house and I’m firing up my Weber and Big Green Egg every chance I get. Almost anything in my fridge is fair game for the hot grates. Of course, chicken in various forms makes the rotation on a regular basis. I sometimes get into a rut buying boneless, skinless chicken breast. They can be delicious if they’re doctored up, but a plain grilled chicken breast bores me to tears.
Lately, I’ve rediscovered how much I love chicken thighs. The dark meat of the chicken imparts so much flavor and is much more difficult to overcook. You can readily find boneless, skinless thighs at most supermarkets these days if you’re watching fat content. I recently used thighs for a delicious version of Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic.
For today’s post I’ve made grilled bacon-wrapped chicken thighs coated in a maple mustard sauce. The rich flavor of the chicken and the caramelized bacon produced the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors. I served the dish with grilled okra, which has become my favorite preparation of this southern vegetable. I only grill it for a few minutes on each side so it’s still somewhat firm with a little crunch. If you’ve every had okra cooked the old-fashioned way, you know that it can get very slimey. In my opinion, the less it’s cooked, the better.
This dish proved to be a delicious way to bring in the grilling season. Stay tuned for more grilled dish as summer approaches.
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half
Salt and pepper
12 strips bacon, cut into 2 equal strips
36 okra pods
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Soak 12 wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes.
2. Mix maple syrup, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl.
3. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dip each piece in maple mustard mixture. Wrap each piece with a 1/2 strip of bacon and place on baking sheet. Thread 4 chicken pieces onto each skewer. Brush remaining maple mustard mixture onto bacon.
4. Place okra in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to distribute olive oil. Thread 6 okra pods onto each of the remaining skewers.
5. Preheat one side of grill to high heat. Place chicken skewers over heat and grill for 2 minutes on each side or until bacon is browning. Bacon fat can cause flareups so watch carefully so bacon doesn't burn. Move skewers to other side of grill and cook covered with indirect heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
6. When chicken is almost done, place okra skewers over high heat and grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
7. Serve immediately.