Balinese Chicken Recipe Captures $25,000 Prize

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Calling all cooking-contest lovers: Original recipes must be submitted by Oct. 15 for the 42nd National Chicken Cooking Contest. The five winners will share in the $36,000 in prizes.

The contest is sponsored by the National Broiler Council and the Southeastern Poultry & Egg Association. A finalist from each state and the District will be invited on an all-expenses paid trip to Hilton Head Island, S.C., to participate in the finals April 4.

Last year's grand-prize winner, Mary Louise Lever of Rome, Ga., took home $25,000 for her baked spicy pineapple Balinese chicken.

"I developed the recipe specifically for the contest and almost missed the deadline," says Mrs. Lever, a veteran of several cooking contests. Her low-fat recipe, inspired by a trip to Bali, uses boneless, skinless chicken breast halves that are brushed with mustard and coated with gingersnap crumbs. After baking, the chicken is served with a spicy pineapple sauce.

Asked what advice she would give to first-time contestants, Mrs. Lever says: "Do something with flavors you like; consider shape and color. Taste has to be the bottom line, after you've created a pretty picture. Experiment with flavors you believe in, and have fun."

Mrs. Lever also recommends testing the recipe on friends and family.

The only required ingredient for entering the contest is using chicken in the recipe - a whole bird or parts. Contestants should use their creativity to develop an original recipe that makes four to eight servings. Grilling recipes are not accepted, however.

During the three-hour finals, contestants must be able to completely prepare the recipe twice. One recipe will be served to the judges, while the second one goes on display.

An entry blank is not required for this contest, but it is helpful for contestants to get a copy of the rules to avoid disqualification. Contestants should include their name, address and phone number on the first page of each recipe submitted. Several recipes may be entered, but each must be on a separate sheet of paper. Judging is based on taste, appearance of the final dish, simplicity of preparation and overall appeal.

Complete copies of the rules are available by writing to the National Chicken Cooking Contest, Box 28158, Central Station, Washington, D.C. 20038.

Here is Mrs. Lever's winning recipe:

****RECIPE

BAKED SPICY PINEAPPLE BALINESE CHICKEN

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup gingersnap crumbs

Spicy pineapple sauce (recipe follows)

Red bell pepper strips

Basil sprigs

Between two sheets of plastic wrap, place chicken and gently pound to uniform thickness; brush with mustard. In shallow dish, place gingersnap crumbs. Add chicken, 1 piece at a time, dredging to coat. In nonstick-sprayed shallow baking dish, place chicken and refrigerate 20 minutes.

Place chicken in 350-degree oven and bake about 20 minutes or until juices run clear and a fork can be inserted in chicken with ease.

On 4 plates, spoon 1/4 of spicy pineapple sauce and top each with a chicken breast half. Garnish with pepper strips and basil sprigs. Makes 4 servings.

****RECIPE

SPICY PINEAPPLE SAUCE

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 minced garlic clove

1 chopped red onion

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar

1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, juice included

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons finely chopped basil

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

Place oil in frying pan and heat to medium temperature. …