BBQ Pineapple Chicken

It’s always so much fun to PLAY with local produce when making up new-to-us recipes in our Global Culinary Adventures! There are times when we find ourselves missing places we’ve lived before or imagining ourselves in locations we have yet to visit. There are also times when we may not have access to the tools and/or equipment that we’ve used in other kitchens around the world. It’s in these times that our creativity helps us to overcome homesickness or wanderlust, and feel all the more blessed by where we currently reside and all that is available to us in that place.

This summer has been particularly hot here in Tirana, Albania. We’ve enjoyed days at our local swimming pools and days out at the beaches in Durres. But we often lament that we don’t currently have a backyard with a big grill on which to fire up the wood or coals for a traditional summer BBQ. This BBQ Pineapple Chicken recipe combines the smoky flavor of a sweet and tangy vinegar-based barbecue sauce with the juiciness of fresh pineapple to remind us of the summers we spent in Japan hosting our own enormous BBQ events with the children and families of our International Montessori School, or the summer we spent in the tropical climes on the Pacific coast beaches in Mexico!

 

So, inspired by a fellow Worldschooler’s seafood salad served in a pineapple half from a few months ago, I PLAYED with a similar presentation for BBQ Pineapple Chicken using locally grown produce here in Albania:
BBQ Pineapple Chicken and Rice
BBQ Chicken and Steamed Rice, served in hollowed out Pineapple Half
Instructions for BBQ Pineapple Chicken
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Step 1 – Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with a layer of your favorite BBQ sauce (homemade or bottled).
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Step 2 – Season 3-5 chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides, then space evenly on top of the sauce.
[Note: We also played with a boneless pork variation of this dish. However, our family preferred the texture of the chicken breasts for this particular preparation.]
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Step 3 – Hollow out one half of a whole, ripe pineapple. Remove the core and dice the remaining fruit. Place in a bowl with the dice of a large onion (any color), one red bell pepper, and one orange bell pepper. Toss the fruit & vegetable mixture with a pinch of salt & pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil to coat lightly.
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Step 4 – Distribute the pineapple mixture evenly on top of and around the chicken. Top each chicken breast with an additional tablespoon of BBQ sauce.
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Step 5 – Bake in a 180°C/350°F oven for 25-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through completely. You may turn up the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F for the last 5 minutes or so of cooking time to encourage additional browning and caramelization on top.
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Step 6 – Serve with a side of steamed white rice, spooning equal measures of each into your hollowed out pineapple half for a lovely tropical presentation. Sprinkle with an optional garnish of chopped parsley and/or sliced green onion prior to serving.
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Please be sure to observe appropriate kitchen sanitation rules when preparing this dish. Make sure that you keep your raw meat separate from your fruits and vegetable, cutting them on separate cutting boards with clean hands and utensils at all times. While it is not necessary to wash your chicken, you may choose to pat it dry with a paper towel prior to seasoning. Please be sure to immediately discard the paper towels in the trash, and wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat. Also be sure that any and all utensils and kitchen equipment that may have come into contact with the raw meat (such as knives and cutting boards) are washed thoroughly with soap and hot water after use.

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