Sunday, September 27, 2009

Not Quite Alice Springs Chicken

Even if you are a food snob, there's probably some chain restaurant recipe that you had way back when that you still like today. You might not want to admit it, but you harbor that lust like a dirty secret. It really might not be the actual dish anymore, but the experience you had when you first tasted it and didn't know better like you do know.

Some of my favorites include Popeye's Biscuits (yes, it uses 7-up), Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken, and Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken. We used this recipe Alice Springs Chicken years ago, which is simple and easy to do in any kitchen. It was good back then and has lots of positive reviews. But I've changed it around some and this is what it has evolved to for us today.

Not Quite Alice Springs Chicken

2 ea chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2 teaspoons poultry rub
1/4 cup honey mustard
4 oz mushrooms, sliced (canned or jarred works, but fresh sauteed are better)
4 oz black olives, sliced
5 ea bacon, cooked and crumbled into 1" or less pieces
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 cup colby/monterey jack cheese, shredded
parsley chopped for garnish

The original recipe called for letting it sit in McCormick's Seasonall (season salt) for an hour.

Instead we brine the chicken for an hour in a simple brine of 1 quart water, 1/4 cup salt, and 1/4 cup sugar. After brining, it is very important to flatten the breast to an even thickness of less than 1/2 inch. You can do this by pounding with a mallet but after brining for an hour, you should just be able to press it down with the heel of your hand.

Then rub the breast with the poultry rub. I use Poultry Perfect Rub that I make from the BBQ standard Smoke and Spice by Bill and Cheryl Jamison. But you could just sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Cut each flattened, seasoned breast into halves.

Grill chicken over direct heat at 350f for 4 minutes a side and remove from heat. You aren't trying to cook it through here, just get a nice sear and grill marks.

Switch to indirect heat (still at 350f) and brush each piece of chicken on both sides with honey mustard sauce. The linked recipe has a recipe for honey mustard sauce but I've tried it and prefer to use Ken's Steakhouse Honey Mustard Sauce.

Top each piece with mushrooms, black olives, bacon, green onion, and cheese.
If you are worried about how much cheese to use, just remember, a lot of it will melt and fall off.Roast indirectly at 350f for another 15-20 minutes until the chicken hits an internal temp of 160f.

Garnish with parsley or more green onions and serve with other pub food on game day. Today we served it with twice baked potatoes.

It came out so tender and perfectly cooked with tons of flavor packed on top. It ain't pretty but it's pretty damn good!

So, what is your favorite chain restaurant menu item and have you ever tried to make it at home?