Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Everything tastes better wrapped in bacon

Because I'm not a seafood fan, I know I'm missing out on a good number of sea-creature delicacies, including scallops wrapped in bacon. I'm not a fan of the consistency of water chestnuts, either, so I'm not tempted to eat those wrapped in bacon, either. But if you take something I like--say, chicken--and wrap it in bacon, I'll eat it.

I first saw skewered chicken wrapped in bacon at Quincy Market in Boston. In my three years in Boston, I only had these skewers once. The particular stand had all sorts of stuff wrapped in bacon, including scallops and shrimp, I think, but only the poultry siren sang her song.

Convinced I could recreate these skewers, which combined juicy chicken and crispy bacon, I bought some bamboo skewers. My first attempt resulted in really soggy bacon, while the second resulted in slightly crispier bacon that was still kinda limp. With a third attempt now under my belt, I've figured out how to produce bacon-wrapped, moist chicken...on a stick.

For a special dish like this, I used some of the Niman Ranch bacon I bought at Trader Joe's. Bacon you can buy at a regular grocery store works, too, but I like the thick cut and smokier flavor of Niman Ranch's stuff. A pound of bacon cost under $5, and after making these skewers and two grilled cheese-and-bacon sandwiches, I still have half a dozen slices left to make the perfect BLT.

Anyway, these skewers are simple, tasty, and pretty. If you're health-conscious in any way, you can add some veggies to your skewers, but because I am a pork purist, I just went for pig and poultry. Mm.

Chicken-Bacon Skewers

2 boneless, skinless split chicken breasts
10 strips bacon
Salt, pepper, any spices you want
4 bamboo skewers

  • Soak skewers in water for at least 15-20 min. to prevent burning once they go in the oven.
  • Put bacon on a broiler sheet under the broiler until the bacon looks about half-cooked or a bit more. Remove from oven once done, and then set baking temperature to 375.
  • Cut eat chicken breast into 10 (or so) 1-2" chunks.
  • Cut each bacon strip in two so you have two shorter pieces.
  • Wrap each piece of chicken with a half slice of bacon, being sure to overlap the two ends of the bacon. Stick the soaked skewer through the chicken and bacon, piecing the overlap of bacon so the whole bundle stays on the stick. Repeat process until five chunks are on each of the four skewers.
  • Place the wrapped skewers back on the broiler sheet. Season w/salt, pepper, and any other spices you want (I also used garlic powder) and put in the oven. Cook 15-20 min., flipping over halfway through.
  • Serve one skewer per person w/a side dish and/or salad--or, if you're a hoss like me, eat two of them on your own.

I'll admit that the whole double-cooking thing isn't necessarily the most convenient method, but look at it this way: you'll only have one pan to clean AND you're guaranteed to get a good crisp on your bacon. If you're afraid of any chewiness in your bacon, I'd stay away from the thick-sliced kind, going right for the normal stuff. Thicker bacon is chewier by nature, so it will NOT get 100% crispy w/this recipe...just 80% crispy.

Crispy or not, it tastes good. And it looks good, too...

Moist and juicy on the inside! Also with a skewer indentation!

With the method used here, you can wrap anything w/bacon and end up w/something tasty. I'm sure cubes of filet would be good (like a mini bacon-wrapped steak), as would roasted potatoes. And for everyone who loves seafood, scallops and shrimp are no-brainers. Now if only I could rationalize wrapping bacon in bacon and threading it onto a skewer...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OMG this is awesome!