Pineapple Chicken: Page 233, Aloha Days Hula Nights

As I flip through my cookbook, I keep seeing the gorgeous photo of the whole-pineapple presentation for Pineapple Chicken on page 233 of Aloha Days Hula Nights in the Entrees – Poultry section, and I made sure to pick up a pineapple this week so I could finally make it myself.  It is just as pretty in real life, and super-delicious–not to mention a great healthy choice.

It was so easy to make – even though my boys didn’t go to sleep until very late this evening, I was able to put this together and have a tasty dinner for myself (and great leftovers to take to work for lunch).  I thought the sauce might be too sweet, but the Dijon mustard added a nice (and unexpected) kick that balanced the sweetness perfectly.

I used fresh orange and pineapple juice, since I already had the pineapple and orange around – it was easy to get 1/2 cup by squeezing one orange and scraping the inside of the pineapple after I took out the cubes.  Oh, the cubes – the recipe is silent on how to carefully remove the inside of a pineapple and keep the shell intact, and I’m afraid my pineapple pieces looked more like a kindergartener’s shape sorter and less like lovely squares – but they still tasted yummy!

A party in a pineapple!  Mine looks just like the book – pretty cool.

Pineapple Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe fresh pineapple
  • 4 to 6 boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pineapple orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Twist crown from pineapple.  Cut pineapple in half lengthwise.  Carefully cut out pineapple meat, keeping shells intact to use for presentation.  Cube pineapple and place in a bowl.  Set aside.

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.  Season with salt and set aside.  Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté until tender.  Add chicken and sauté until nicely browned and cooked through.  Place in a bowl.  Add pineapple to skillet and sauté until lightly browned.  Add red pepper to skillet and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened.  Add to chicken in bowl.

Combine juice concentrate, wine, mustard, and cornstarch in skillet.  Stir until blended, deglazing pan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Cook until thickened.  Add sautéed pineapple and chicken.  Heat thoroughly.  Season with pepper. Mound into pineapple shells.  Place on serving platter.  Garnish with chopped basil and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

Buy the cookbook at www.juniorleagueofhonolulu.org (click the eStore tab).  All proceeds go to support our charitable work in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

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