Today’s recipe post was inspired by a Hawaiian chicken sandwich at a local restaurant called “Back Yard Burgers.” I’ve been ordering this sandwich (click on “chicken” to see their Hawaiian sandwich) for years, but not how it appears on the menu. I always have to go through the long and drawn-out “Hold the mayo, hold the mustard, extra pineapple, add pepperjack cheese, and yes, I do still want the teriyaki sauce…” one-act play just to manufacture my perfect sandwich. So, after ten years of being a picky patron, I decided to figure out how to make one at home just how I like it.
The finished sandwiches were so tender and juicy I wished I’d made more, even though I was completely full after eating just one. Hubby, who always picks any fruits or exotic ingredients off of his meal before eating it, actually ate his whole sandwich with TWO big pineapple rings on it, and loved it, too! A success!! (And did I mention the whole meal only took about fifteen minutes to throw together on a weeknight?)
Begin by buttering and browning both sides of 4 pieces of thick bread in a deep skillet over medium heat. (You can also substitute hamburger buns or hoagie rolls if you like.)
I do the bread first for two reasons–1) I can use the same pan first for bread and then later for the chicken, thereby decreasing the number of dirty dishes, and 2) I can warm
up the refrigerated cheese slices by keeping them between the hot toast buns while my chicken cooks and thereby make them good and melty by the time the sandwich gets put together.
While bread is browning, mix 1 teaspoon mustard, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and the juice from one 4-slice can of pineapple rings (reserve the actual pineapple rings). Stir well.
Place two chicken breast cutlets (thawed) in a shallow bowl and sprinkle with black pepper. Pour the liquid mixture over the chicken and let set until bread is browned and removed from skillet.
Place pepperjack cheese singles over two of the pieces of toast and temporarily cover with remaining toast to keep warm (I used two pieces of cheese per sandwich, but one is probably enough).
Using tongs, place the two chicken breasts in the empty hot skillet and increase heat to MEDIUM-HIGH. Transfer all of the liquid marinade from the bowl to the skillet by pouring over chicken breasts.
Place the four reserved pineapple rings directly in the skillet alongside the chicken. Cook chicken and pineapple approximately 8 minutes, adjusting
cook time for meat thickness and flipping whenever necessary.
If the pineapple begins to carmelize before the chicken is finished, move the pineapple rings from the bottom of the skillet to directly on top of the chicken breasts to hang out until everything is evenly cooked.
Once meat is thoroughly cooked, place chicken breasts over the pepperjack cheese layer on toast. Top with the cooked pineapple rings and large-leaf lettuce (Boston lettuce is absolutely perfect).
Place the remaining toast over the sandwiches and serve immediately.