Grilled Tequila Lemon-Lime Chicken
Well nothing quite like completely ignoring my food blog for an entire week, huh? Sheesh! What kind of a loser am I, anyway? That doesn't mean I haven't been cooking up a storm, however. In fact, after going through my iPhoto library, I may have enough photos to keep everyone enthralled — well, maybe not quite enthralled, but still — for about two weeks. Does that mean I don't have to cook for a week? Uhhh…Nope. You'd have to tie me up to prevent me from cooking.
But a great place to begin is with an idea that came from Chris over at Mele Cotte who is having a Deep Freeze Summer Challenge. I'm not entering that one because I could arrested if I actually used the stuff in my freezer. The arrest report would mention something about "husband and son" abuse. To be fair, the house freezer isn't too bad, but I have a freezer in the garage, too. Things go out there and are forgotten. Why not toss them? I only seem to remember to want to do this on the day the garbage men have already collected our garbage — so that would mean the frozen stuff would thaw and sit in our warm garage for an entire week. YUCK. So no Deep Freeze challenge for me.
But I did make a rather tasty dinner this past Saturday without having to go to the grocery store. Everything I made was on hand and completely unplanned. How cool is that? It's nice to have a well-stocked kitchen and be able to put together something tasty with little or no planning.
So what got me thinking? My fruit bowl runneth over. That's what. I had tons of lemons and limes, chicken in the freezer (not the garage freezer), lots of salad greens (buy one get one free), and booze in the booze cupboard. A bit of info on that one. We seem to have a lot of liquor in our house that we don't really drink. Yes, I drink wine — and too much of it most of the time — but the liquor cupboard is a whole different issue. I guess lots of it has been accumulated from having to purchase a bottle for a small part of a recipe. Really. Well, except for the tequila we purchase about once a year to make margaritas. So you'd think I would have chosen a recipe that would use something other than tequilla, but no. Ina Garten's recipe for "Tequila Lime Chicken" from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook became the star of the night's menu. I had always wanted to make it and just never got around to it.
I didn't have exactly what was called for, and time was of the essence, so I didn't marinate the chicken overnight as the recipe calls for. I also added some oil even though the original recipe didn't call for it. The chicken was very moist and flavorful — not dry as chicken can unfortunately turn out sometimes after being grilled. Not bad results for throwing this one together!
Tequila Lime Chicken & Fresh Herb Salad with Grilled Corn and Onions
1/2 c. tequila
1/2 c. lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 c. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 c. orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 T. chili powder
1/4 c. roasted pepper flavored oil
1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
4 chicken thighs, boned and skinless
Combine all ingredients except the chicken in a gallon-sized sealable plastic bag which has been set in a medium sized bowl. Seal bag and squeeze gently to mix all ingredients well. Open bag and place chicken thighs inside. Reseal, expelling excess air, and set in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
While the chicken is marinating, make the salad, and heat up the grill. For the salad (see below), rub olive oil, salt, and pepper on the ear of corn and onion half and set aside.
After marinating time is done, remove chicken thighs from the bag and place them on the hot grill. (Make sure grill is well scraped and oiled before placing chicken on it or it will definitely stick.) Also place ear of corn and red onion (flat side down) on the grill. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, cooking for 5 minutes on the first side. Turn and cook for an additional 5 minutes (depending on how large the thighs are) until just cooked through. Cook onion and corn for about 10 minutes total until nicely browned. Remove chicken to a covered bowl to sit for about 5 minutes.
4 c. packaged "Fresh Herb Salad" (organic baby red & green romaine — red & green oak leaf, red leaf, lollo rosa, tango – red & green chard, mizuna, arugula, mache, frisee, radiccio, parsley, dill, cilantro)
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
6 slices cucumber, quartered
1/2 red onion, grilled and sliced
kernels from 1 ear of corn, grilled
2 T. pinones (pine nuts)
1/4 c. feta
1/8 tsp. chili powder
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Brown pinones in a frying pan with the chili powder until golden brown. Pour into a bowl and reserve. Prepare cucumbers and tomatoes and set aside. In a large salad bowl, dress greens by pouring olive oil over and mix with tongs or your hand.
- After corn and onion are grilled, remove kernels from corn by slicing down all sides of the ear with a paring knife. Cut grilled onion into good sized slices by securing it with a fork — it's pretty slippery!
- On the oil dressed greens, add tomato and cucumber quarters. Add grilled onion slices, corn kernels, and pinones. Sprinkle with feta over the top and squeeze lemon juice over all. Salt and pepper to taste.
To round the meal out, I added Cuban black beans (Trader Joe's) doctored with lots of a shredded Mexican cheese blend, some chopped green onions and popped them into the microwave to heat up right before serving. I also fried raw flour tortillas to scoop up the beans. We usually have these around because the MoH likes them, but they get buried in the cheese drawer and end up being forgotten.
I did decide to reduce the marinade on the stove for about 15 minutes at a pretty high boil until only half was left. With some salt, it wasn't too bad, but it was extremely pungent — tart! All the same, we dribbled a bit of it on the chicken to try it out, and it wasn't too bad. Not quite as tart tasting with the chicken.
If you ask me, this was a pretty effective way to get some things out of the cupboard and refrigerator. Most of the time, this doesn't work, because I'm missing a key ingredient. Next time, I'll try the technique of conducting a Google search with three key ingredients to see what comes up recipe-wise.