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Chef's Hat: Don't hesitate to use that forgotten broiler in oven

A few weeks ago I was discussing recipes with a friend and I was surprised to hear that she had never used the broiler in her oven.

I don't know if it's because I'm short on time or because I find broiling an easy cooking method, but I use my broiler once or twice a week.

Broiling may be an intimidating cooking method to some people. Essentially, it is using direct, dry heat to cook. One way of looking at broiling is that it is grilling upside down since your heat is coming from above instead of from below your food.

Broiling is also similar to grilling as foods brown on the surface and have a caramelized flavor. It is a common cooking method for meat, chicken and fish, but if you are creative you can also broil fruits, vegetables and breads.

The tricky part about broiling is the timing. With high heat, food cooks fast and can burn quickly if you're not paying attention. On a high broil, your oven may heat up to 550 degrees.

Some ovens may have a couple of broiler settings, but most are simple - the broiler is either off or on. If you don't want to cook at an extremely high heat, then you move the oven rack lower, which will drop the heat by 50 to 75 degrees.

If you're new to broiling, check your oven's user manual. Some ovens call for leaving the door open a few inches while broiling, but others won't operate unless the door is closed.

Remember, this is a fast, hot cooking method, so don't walk away from your food! If you are short on time, broiling is a great way to cook. It gives the taste of grilling, but doesn't require the long prep time.

Welcome to the world of broiling and Happy Eating!

Saucy BBQ Chicken

Adapted from bhg.com

  • 8 chicken drumsticks or chicken thighs
  • 1 large onion, cut into 8 slices
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup barbeque sauce
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Several dashes hot pepper sauce, if desired
  • Fresh chopped parsley, optional

Preheat broiler. Place chicken on a broiler pan and place the pan 5 to 6 inches from heat. Cook for 10 minutes. (For easier cleanup, line the broiler pan with aluminum foil before placing the chicken on the pan.)

While chicken is cooking, lightly brush onion slices with olive oil. Remove broiler pan from oven. Turn chicken over and move all of the chicken pieces to one side of the pan. Place the onion slices in a single layer on opposite end of pan. Broil for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear (chicken should be 180 degrees).

While the chicken/onions are in the oven, combine the following sauce ingredients in a medium sized saucepan: barbeque sauce, molasses, vinegar, brown sugar, paprika and pepper sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil to over medium heat. Remove from heat; keep warm. Remove onions from broiler. Brush chicken with the sauce and return to oven. Broil an additional 2 minutes.

Chop one of the onions and stir into the sauce. Remove chicken from oven and garnish with the parsley. Serve with the additional onions and with the additional sauce.

Cider Glazed Chicken Thighs

Adapted from finecooking.com

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Montreal Chicken Seasoning
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces

Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil or line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil. If using a baking sheet, place a wire rack on top of the sheet.

In a small bowl combine the salt, peppers and chicken seasoning. In a large bowl, toss the chicken thighs with the oil. Add the seasoning and toss well. Place the chicken on the prepared sheet or pan. Bake until the thighs are lightly golden and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part without touching the bone registers 165 degrees F, approximately 15 to 18 minutes. Turn once about halfway through the cooking time.

While the chicken is cooking, place the cider vinegar and honey into a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the mixture has reduced to 1/2 cup, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Turn the oven to broil. Brush the thighs with the vinegar-honey mixture. Broil for 1 minute. Brush with more glaze and broil again until thighs are a deep golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven, brush with more of the glaze, and serve.

Broiled Garlic Butter Shrimp with Lemon Aioli

Bettycrocker.com

Aioli

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Shrimp and Bread

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 16 slices (12-inch thick) baguette
  • 1 pound uncooked, deveined, peeled, large shrimp with tails left on
  • 1 parsley leaf

In small bowl, beat together the aioli ingredients; set aside.

Spray an 18x13-inch rimmed baking pan with cooking spray. Position oven rack 4 inches from broiling element. Set oven temperature to broil.

In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in Worcestershire sauce, pepper flakes and the chopped garlic. Brush baguette slices on both sides with about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture; place on baking pan. Broil 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, until toasted. Transfer to serving bowl or platter.

Add shrimp to same baking pan. Pour remaining butter mixture over shrimp; carefully toss to coat. Broil shrimp 4 to 6 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm; transfer to serving platter or bowl. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve shrimp with bread and aioli.

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