Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Salt on the Rim


For most of my adult life, I have always, so I thought, not liked margaritas.  They were sour and not sweet enough and just ick.  But the other day my husband and I were out and we had a few drinks.  I ordered a swirl, which is a combination of frozen sangria and frozen margarita.  I tasted each one separately first, and they were both tart, a little sour and a little sweet.  Then came the magical question.  "Would you like salt on the rim?"  Hmmm...deep thoughts.  I love salt, so why not.  I took a sip.  I tasted the sweet and sour.  And then I got salt.  And I absolutely loved it!  I licked every bit of the salt off the rim as I drank that swirl.  It was fabulous!  I am now going to consider myself a margarita convert.  Divine!

Recently I was perusing different restaurant menus, and I came across Margarita Chicken.  I have had it in the past, and, now that I have a new-found love for margaritas, I had to have it again.  I marinated chicken overnight in some liquid margarita mix and some spices.  The next day, I put a batch of black beans in the crockpot (Try making your own Black Beans.  Click for the recipe.  They are so much better than from a can).  I then made cilantro rice and fried a few tortilla strips.  I made a fresh Pico de Gallo.  And then I grilled the chicken.  WOW!  The combination of all of those flavors was fantabulous!  The whole family loved it.  Even my picky son claimed the one last chicken breast for lunch the next day.  In my rush to get dinner on the table, I forgot to put the Pico de Gallo on the picture plate.  Just pretend that you see it.  Don't you see those fresh tomatoes and onion and jalapenos?  

Go grab a margarita (don't forget the salt) and let's get dinner going!

MARGARITA CHICKEN
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
MARINADE:
About 1 1/2 C liquid margarita mix
1 T cumin
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 T olive oil

FOR THE RICE:
1 C long-grain rice
2 C chicken stock
Juice of 1-2 limes (depends on how limey you want it)
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 C fresh chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T cumin
1/2 C frozen corn kernels

FOR PICO DE GALLO:
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 C red onion, diced
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
3 T jalapeno, chopped (fresh or the jarred slices work)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
Juice of 1 lime
Salt & pepper, to taste

FOR SERVING:
Sliced avocados
Black Beans (click for recipe)
Cotija cheese (or shredded Cheddar)
Fried tortilla strips (see note below)

For the chicken, mix the marinade ingredients together in a large zipper bag.  Add in the chicken and marinate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.  

For the rice, put all of the rice ingredients into a pot and cook the rice according to the package directions.

For the Pico de Gallo, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and chill until ready to use.

For tortilla strips, cut about 6 corn tortillas into strips.  Fry them quickly in some peanut oil until browned and crispy. Drain on a paper towel and season as desired.  I used a little salt and a little chipotle powder.

For the chicken, pat the chicken dry.  You can bake the chicken at 350 for about 14-16 minutes per side.  You can also grill them outside or on a grill pan inside for more or less the same amount of time.  Just keep watch and use a thermometer.  Chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees. Slice the chicken after it rests about 5-8 minutes.

To serve, ladle some black beans on a plate.  Spoon some rice over the beans.  Then add the chicken strips, some Pico de Gallo, some avocado slices, some tortilla strips, and cheese.

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