So the chef and I are into trying new grains. Rice gets old. And it's not all that great for you nutritionwise- we can do better. And we have been scouring the markets and gourmet shops and websites, grocery co-ops, you name it, for unique new grains to try. This time around it's millet, which truly does look like bird seed. I did my research on cooking techniques and it's pretty much just like rice or quinoa, one part grain, two parts water. I also learned that if you use 3 parts water it cooks down to a porridgelike consistency and is often eaten for breakfast.
But I am making dinner so let's get to that.
Everyone knows I am a canner. If you don't you just met me five minutes ago. I have been trying new recipes every year and one that is super popular with other canners is "Cowboy Candy", sliced candied jalapenos in a spicy sweet syrup. A lot of people use it like pepper jelly, served on cream cheese and crackers. (I'll post that recipe below). I have been trying tho think outside the box and use this sweet hot condiment in a different way- a sauce !!
Now, the details:
1 jar Cowboy Candy
1 package chicken breasts (I used a package of two halves)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbs butter at room temperature
1 cup millet
2 cups water
1 tb butter
Let's get the chicken going first. I cut the breast halves into halves leaving me with 4 pieces of chicken. Place in lightly oiled baking pan. Mix brown sugar with several tablespoons of the syrup from the Cowboy Candy, testing til you get the desired heat/sweet balance. Add butter and mash/mix (it will look curdled and weird but that's ok). Pour over chicken and top each piece with jalapeno slices. Bake at 425 degrees about 20 minutes or until chicken tests done.
While the chicken is baking, put the millet in a small saucepan and heat over high heat,stirring constantly, to slightly toast the grain. Add the water, butter, dash of salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes until done. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
I served the chicken sliced over the millet, drizzled with the pan sauce and a vegetable.
Now for the Cowboy Candy- this is a VERY common recipe canners have been sharing for generations. I do not have any idea who originally invented the recipe, or even this particular version, but it's been shared and passed around so much I think it's ok to put it here.
- 3 lb firm, fresh jalapeno peppers
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 6 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp celery seed
- 3 tsp granulated garlic (I had to sub 2 cloves super minced fresh)
- 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
Wearing gloves, remove stem end from peppers and slice into uniform 1/4 inch thick slices. Set aside.
In a large pot bring remaining ingredients to boil. Reduce heat, simmer five minutes, then add pepper slices and simmer 4 more minutes. Using a slotted spoon, pack peppers into hot sterile canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Bring heat back up under the pot and boil the syrup at a full rolling boil for 6 minutes.
Ladle syrup over peppers. Remove air bubbles, fix lids and rims and process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool, age peppers for at least two weeks.
*Note- if you want to skip the canning step, just divide the peppers and syrup among jars or freezer containers and store in the fridge. They are a pickled product so they will last a while.