August 12, 2011

Salud, Amigos!

Today, I celebrate one of my favorite ingredients- alcohol! Wines, beers, and liquors can do so much more than provide a healthy buzz on a Saturday night. Alcohol will bring flavors to your dishes in distinct ways and tonight, friends, I give you…

Margarita Chicken!

My mother is allergic to chicken, so I have never really dealt with it much in my life, and when I have, I always found it to be very bland, tough, or dry. I have found that the secret to great chicken is to incorporate a marinade. Unless I am cooking chicken to be used for something else (soup, pot pie, etc.), I always marinate it first.

But what is a marinade? A marinade is a seasoned, salty and acidic liquid that reacts with the surface of the food in such a way that, to me, makes the rest of the chicken taste infinitely better.

So other than acid and salt, the next best ingredient for a marinade is time. The longer you let the chemistry work its magic, the better. I marinate my chicken between 2 and 4 hours, which I realize is a thousand years in hungry people time, but trust your sensei.

Let’s begin. You will need:

2 chicken breasts (I am allowed to say breasts on the internet, right? Anywho…)
2 cups of margarita mix
½ cup tequila
1 teaspoon thyme (dried- if you use fresh thyme, use a tablespoon)
½ teaspoon rosemary
¼ teaspoon tarragon
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of honey

Place your chicken in a gallon size plastic bag, and pour in the margarita mix and tequila. Add the herbs, oil, and honey. Zip up the bag and massage the bag so everything mixes relatively evenly. Put the bag in a mixing bowl and stick it in your refrigerator for the recommended amount of time.

About 15-20 minutes before you want to pull your chicken out of the fridge, place an oven rack on the top most placement and pre heat the broiler. Yes, that’s right. We’re going to broil this bird. Broiling is one of the most underutilized cooking methods in the United States today and that’s a darn shame. You can cook things at a higher heat for a shorter period of time, and for chicken especially, I never have to worry about a morsel being underdone.

When your broiler is ready, place your chicken on your broiler pan and place your pan on the rack. Set a timer for six minutes.

(six minutes later)


Remove your chicken from the stove and move your rack to the middle placement. Pour two or three heaping spoonfuls of marinade onto the chicken. It might fuss and fizzle, but don’t worry, it won’t bite. Then return your chicken to the stove and set a timer for another six minutes.

When time has elapsed, you will find a pleasant presentation of poultry awaits your palate. It may look a little darker than some of you may be used to, but it’s not burned. It’s blackened- adding another exquisite element of flavor to your chicken.

Tasty Tips for this recipe:

Great sides for this dish would be black beans and rice, or you can top everything off with your favorite salsa!

Happy cooking and happier eating!

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