Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tequila-Lime Chicken

Tequila-Lime Chicken launches the aroma of margaritas in the blender while it is grilling so I suggest you slide a Jimmy Buffet CD in the player and get in the island mood while you are cooking. The strong sweet scent of lime and the distinct aroma of tequila are simply amazing. Don't be fooled by the inclusion of tequila because this is a very easy and very family friendly recipe. I assure you that the alcohol will evaporate when the chicken is cooking but leave the classic flavor combination. If you can tolerate salt you can use a finishing salt, a nice course sea salt, when serving it to complete your margarita. If you are like me and you cannot, have no fears, the dish is absolutely delicious just the way it is. This recipe is for the marinade and grilling instructions and tomorrow I will add the recipe for the sauce you see on the plate accompanying the chicken. That is my Toasted Chile de Arbol and Pumpkin Seed Sauce. It is based on a hot sauce recipe created by Chef Rick Bayless using some of the same ingredients but takes a different turn than his hot sauce. The Tequila-Lime Chicken is a stand alone dish but my sauce adds another layer of flavor that compliments it with a delicious, tasty heat. I hope you enjoy.

Tequila-Lime Chicken


4 - 4 ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all visible fat
4 ounces tequila, white or gold, your favorite or whatever you have in the house
2 Tbsp. lime zest, about 2 limes, grated
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, about 4 limes
1/4 cup cilantro, leaves and stems, rough chopped
1/4 cup onion, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Tbsp. Mexican oregano, or plain oregano if none available
1 Tbsp. ground cumin

Clean and prep chicken by removing all visible fat and set aside. Add the rest of the ingredients in a large zipper top bag, which has been placed in a shallow baking dish or other vessel to capture any leaks if they occur. Zip top securely and gently shake to mix ingredients. Open bag and place chicken inside, zip securely again and shake to make sure all of the chicken is coated with the marinade. Rest the bag in the baking dish and put on the lowest shelf in the refrigerator to marinate for two hours. Two hours is really about all the time you need to impart the strong tequila and lime flavors into the chicken before the acidity begins to change the texture of the chicken.

Preheat and cast iron grill pan on high and lightly coat with vegetable spray if needed. Remove the chicken from the zipper bag and discard the remaining marinade. Brush any solids off of the chicken that may have stuck. Depending on the size of your grill pan, cook two pieces of chicken at a time so you do not crowd the pan and allow for a good sear. Cook the chicken breasts for about 6 to 8 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the chicken, turning with tongs. If you want the look of the cross-hatch grill marks, turn the chicken breast about 90 degrees midway through the cooking time for each side. This will give that lovely effect but is not necessary. If desired, sprinkle each chicken breast with course sea salt, like a Fleur De Sel, and an extra wedge of lime when serving.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 189.3
Total Fat 1.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 65.0 mg
Sodium 254.2 mg
Potassium 116.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 6.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Sugars 0.8 g
Protein 23.8 g

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