It was a hot day and I knew Steve would want to grill and I didn’t want to spend the money on pre-marinated chicken or the like. But, I didn’t have time to defrost AND marinate for long enough the 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts I had in the freezer. I also had a half a cabbage and some sweet potatoes I wanted to use up. What to do?
Well, I punted and first looked for a way to quickly make grilled chicken really flavorful and came across this incredibly simple but totally delicious rub:
The recipe calls for equal amounts chili powder, brown sugar, dried oregano, and olive oil, in this case, 1 Tablespoon each – and I added another tablespoon of olive oil to make it easier to spread around.
So – THAT took care of the chicken, but what else to serve? Time to do a search for “grilled sweet potatoes” on the Internet, via which I found lots of options. Rather than create more work for Steve by asking him to deal with multiple slices of sweet potatoes on the grill, I opted for a recipe that combined cubed sweet potato and seasonings in a foil pack that could go on the grill with little supervision.
I honestly don’t remember exactly what I did, but it involved 3-4 modestly-sized sweet potatoes cut into 1” or so cubes, a few pats of butter, a drizzle or two of olive oil, a few turns of the pepper mill, a pinch of salt, and a healthy sprinkling of brown sugar. I liked the idea of using brown sugar since it was also an ingredient in the chicken rub. And, so easy to just wrap it all up in a sheet of heavy foil and toss on the grill! Of course, this could easily be roasted in the oven or, with a bit of added liquid, cooked stovetop, as well.
For the cabbage, I decided to use a recipe that I had made with great success a few weeks before – with the original version using green beans with the cabbage:
Green Beans and Cabbage with Coriander Butter You can see how I prepared this veggie dish in my post of May 15, 2011
This time, I didn’t have green beans on hand but figured that carrots would work since their sweetness would also benefit from the coriander in the recipe as well as compliment the sweetness from the brown sugar in the chicken rub and sweet potato dish. So, I improvised:
Green Beans and Carrots with Coriander Butter
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups chopped cabbage
1 -2 cups julienned carrots
1 teaspoon ground coriander
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until butter just begins to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and add cabbage and green beans; toss to coat with butter. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon ground coriander and toss well. Return to stove and cook over low heat.
So, there you have it. A totally amazing meal with lovely flavors that totally complimented one another. Steve and I were in heaven during this meal of grilled chicken breast with a sweet and spicy rub, sweet potatoes roasted with brown sugar, and a cabbage and carrot sauté. Unbelievably delicious!!!! And I still can’t believe I made an entire meal with NO garlic and NO onions (or scallions or shallots, etc.) But, I am sure all three dishes would taste great with onion and or garlic added. Indeed, I have in my notes that I was planning on adding garlic to at least the veggie sauté…. Maybe next time.
Note to those Wary of Cabbage: I have served both red and green cabbage a lot this past winter and spring with Steve and I discovering, to our surprise, how much we REALLY like cabbage and leading Steve to comment: “Cabbage really gets a bum rap…” Needless to say, cabbage, with or without a complimentary vegetable, is superb when combined with butter and coriander!
Another Note: I just realized that this meal was based on fall vegetables and flavors but worked just fine on a hot summer night. Perhaps the chili powder brought it all together in a way that smoothed over that juxtaposition. Although, now we know what veggies to use on that first day warm enough for grilling but before the summer veggies are in.