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Grilled & Spicy Merlot Chicken

For the Chicken:

  1. 2 tsp ground fennel seeds (you’ll need your spice grinder for this)

  2. 1 tsp Kosher salt

  3. 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  4. 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes

  5. 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)

  6. Fresh rosemary sprigs

Firstly, grind up your fennel seeds in your spice grinder.  The aroma will be amazing as you whirl the seeds into oblivion.  Next mix up the ground fennel, Kosher salt, black pepper and chili flakes.  Next, take your chicken breasts and pat them down with a bit of vegetable oil. This step helps the rub adhere and allows the goodness to penetrate into the meat.

Now what I did next kind of deviates from the original recipe – I used all the rub on two pieces of chicken as opposed to 4 as called by the recipe I followed.  The result of this creative license meant that the chicken was super spiced.  If you’re not into really spicy food, only use a bit of the rub as opposed to ALL of it!  Place the rubbed chicken on a plate and cover it with cling film and pop it back into the fridge for 3-4 hours.

At this point you can prep the merlot reduction that will accompany the chicken. What you’ll need for this includes:

  1. 3 1/2 cups merlot

  2. 8 pieces dried Chinese mushrooms

  3. 2 shallots, thinly sliced

  4. 4 cloves garlic, smashed

  5. 4 tbsp light cream

Bring the merlot to a simmering boil and then add the mushrooms, shallots and garlic.  Have this reduce down over a 20 minute period.  Once done, pass the liquid through a fine strainer and be sure to squish down hard on the mushrooms as they’ll absorb a lot of the reduction.  Once done, set aside and don’t add the cream just yet!

OK, set up the grill for direct heat cooking at about 400 deg