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Barbecued Chicken with Jalapeño Jack Cheese Dumplings

Servings: 6


2 medium leeks (about 3/4 pound)
12 medium fresh asparagus spears (about 3/4 pound)
10 ounces skinned, boned chicken thighs
3/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce, divided
3 1/2 tablespoons Spice Mix, divided (recipe follows)
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
2/3 cup (3 ounces) diced Wisconsin Monterey jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
6 skinned, boned chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 chicken wings (about 1 pound)
24 wonton wrappers
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 English cucumber (about 3/4 pound), thinly sliced
Tomato-Corn Sauce (recipe follows)

For Spice Mix:
3 tablespoons cumin seeds, ground
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cracked pepper

For Tomato-Corn Sauce:
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon spice mix
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
2 1/3 cups seeded and diced peeled tomato
1/2 cup drained, canned whole kernel corn

Cooking Directions:

Discard roots, outer leaves, and tops from leeks, leaving 10 inches of each leek; cut each leek in half lengthwise, and set aside. Snap off tough ends of asparagus; remove scales with a knife or vegetable peeler, if desired. Drop leeks into a Dutch oven of boiling water; cook 30 seconds. Add asparagus; cook another 30 seconds. Drain and plunge into ice water; drain well, and set aside.

Place chicken thighs in food processor; process 1 minute or until puréed, scraping sides of bowl once. Add 3/8 cup barbecue sauce, 1 tablespoon Spice Mix, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; process until blended. Spoon half of mixture into a bowl; stir in Monterey jack. Cover and chill.

Place each chicken breast half, boned side up, on work surface; fold back tenderloin on each breast half. Spoon 2 tablespoons of remaining puréed chicken mixture (without cheese) under each tenderloin; fold tenderloin over puréed mixture. Set aside.

Cut 6 sheets (12x12 inches each) of aluminum foil. Place one leek leaf at one edge of each foil sheet. Place 4 more leek leaves, side by side, next to the first leek leaf, extending toward the center of the foil. Reserve remaining leek leaves for another use.

Place one chicken breast half, stuffed side down, on top of leek leaves; sprinkle breast halves and leek evenly with 1 1/2 teaspoons spice mix, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Starting at leek edge, roll up foil, leek, and chicken, wrapping the chicken in the leek leaves. Twist ends of each foil packet to seal. Chill.

Place chicken wings in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook one hour. Remove skin and meat from bones; set bones aside. Discard skin; reserve meat for another use.

Working with 2 wonton wrappers at a time (cover remaining wrappers to keep them from drying out), place 1 wrapper on top of another so there are 8 alternating corners. Spoon about 1 tablespoon puréed chicken-cheese mixture into center of each set of 2 wrappers. Stick 1 chicken wing bone vertically into center of puréed chicken-cheese mixture. Moisten edges of dough with egg white; bring 2 opposite corners of bottom wrapper to center, pinching points around bone to seal. Pinch 4 edges together to seal. Cover dumplings to keep them from drying out; set aside.

Using a metal skewer or ice pick, make 2 holes, about 1 1/2 inches apart, through the sides of each foil packet, piercing foil, leeks, and chicken. Twist skewer to widen holes; insert 1 asparagus spear, stem end first, into each hole, allowing asparagus to extend from each side of foil packet.

Drop foil packets into a Dutch oven of simmering water; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Remove foil packets with tongs or a slotted spoon; set aside. Increase heat to high, and bring water to a boil. Drop dumplings into boiling water; cook 3 minutes. Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon; set aside, and keep warm.

Remove foil from leek-wrapped chicken; cut chicken rolls lengthwise, through asparagus, into thin slices. Line each of 6 large shallow bowls with cucumber slices; place 1 sliced chicken roll in each bowl.

Place 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce in a small bowl. Place 2 tablespoons spice mix in another small bowl. Dip bottom of each dumpling in barbecue sauce, and then in spice mix.

Place 2 dumplings in each bowl. Spoon 1/2 cup tomato-corn sauce over chicken.

Spice Mix: Combine all ingredients in a bowl; stir well.

Note: Use a mortar and pestle or an electric spice grinder to grind the cumin seeds.

Tomato-Corn Sauce: Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook 10 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Remove from heat; stir in tomato and corn.

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