I’ve lusted after many versions of Tequila Lime chicken for ages but never got around to finding a good substitute for tequila (we don’t imbibe or cook with booze around here – except for teeny tiny amounts of vanilla extract or almond extract). I’ve thought about agave syrup, among other things, and thought some more. All that thinking got me nowhere until I watched Pioneer Woman make her tequila lime chicken the other day. Enough is enough. It’s time to give those chicken breasts in the freezer some cilantro/lime lovin’ (is that weird?). Now I still haven’t found a good substitute for tequila, but I definitely compensated for the flavor in other ways. Along with super fruity EVOO, lime juice, salt and pepper, I added a touch of garlic and honey to the marinade. These days, I always add a bit of sweetness to chicken marinades. It seems to round out all the flavors. And the sauce just takes it over the top. It’s my go to sauce for dressing up any meat or fish. I don’t exactly measure things out these days, so I will attempt to provide the most accurate measurements I can! You really should taste as you go along though. If the flavor falls flat, add salt. If the tang of the yogurt overpowers, add a little bit more garlic. If it’s too pale green, add some more cilantro. If it’s not spicy enough, well you know what to do.
And since I find chicken breasts to be kind of bland, I cut them pretty thin. In this case, getting 6 cutlets from 2 chicken breasts. More surface area = more flavor. Trust me – I know my stuff. Hah! I served this alongside another PW inspired dish: perfect potato salad. I swapped out pickles for capers. Reduced the mayo and added some cilantro yogurt sauce. Nixed the mustard. I just loved the idea of hardboiled eggs with my potato. And what’s best – my kids ate it! Sweet, sweet victory. You’d be suprised (or if you’re a parent, not surprised) that despite all the effort I put in the kitchen, their favorite food is mac and cheese from a box.
Sorry the pictures are out of focus – I was warding off two hyperactive toddlers while taking them. Good news though: my gorillapod is in the mail! Hopefully that means crisp pictures from here on out!
For the marinade:
- juice from 2 limes
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 heaping tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced or mushed through a microplane
- 1 tbsp honey or agave syrup
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced across to form 6 cutlets
For the cilantro yogurt sauce:
- 1 cup yogurt
- 2 cups cilantro (loosely packed)
- 1 large clove of garlic or 2 small
- 1 green chili
- 1/4 tsp salt or taste
- For the sauce: add all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- For the marinade: combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl or large ziploc bag. Add the chicken and marinade at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Heat a grill pan over high heat. For at least 2 minutes. Make sure it is screaming hot. There will be smoke when the chicken hits – that’s ok. It’s part of the process. Spray the grill pan with non stick cooking spray and grill the cutlets for 3 minutes on each side. Arrange them on a platter and tent with aluminum foil to let the meat rest. Serve with cilantro yogurt sauce.
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