Despite the fact that winter 2.0 could potentially be making an appearance later this week (I can’t even talk about it) patio season is still practically knocking at our door. Bright umbrellas, bouncy deck chairs, and ice-cold drinkslikeSangria , Beergaritas , and Strawberry Mojitos are my favorite spring and summertime staples, but this year le bebe dictates we hold off on the tipsy bevs (until August, anyway!)
That being said, I decided to turn one of my favorite warm-weather cocktails into a bright and zingy dish that anyone, preggo or not, can enjoy hot off the grill this season – Fresh Margarita Chicken.
I got the idea for the dish after stumbling upon a TO DIE FOR looking recipe for Fresh Margaritas from Cookie + Kate, which got me thinking about other ways I could enjoy the signature citrusy flavors besides on the rocks.
So, I took its ingredients of tequila, agave nectar, and fresh lime and orange juices, then added in a few savory ingredients like crushed garlic, salt, and pepper, and then marinated lean chicken breasts in the mixture for a couple hours. After tossing ‘em on the grill I paired ‘em with margarita must-haves like fresh guacamole, and cilantro-lime rice.
I could NOT be more pleased with how this chicken turned out! Not only was it super juicy with a slightly charred and sweet crust, but did you know that marinating chicken and other meat can reduce carcinogens created from the grilling process by up to 50%? Fresh Margarita Chicken, FTW!
Start the Fresh Margarita Chicken by creating the margarita marinade. First zest 1 lime and 1 orange then add the zest to a big bowl or ziplock bag. If you don’t have a citrus zester ( here’s the one I have >> ) use a sharp knife to slice just the green and orange parts off the citrus fruit, or just leave it out – it won’t be the end of the world.
Next add the juice of 4 limes and 2 oranges, as well as 3 big crushed garlic cloves and LOTS of salt and pepper. Afterall, what is a good margarita without its signature, salty bite?!
Add 1/4 cup tequila next (optional – but the alcohol will cook off,) plus 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, and 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon agave nectar (could use honey.)
Then add 4 small chicken breasts and place in the fridge to marinate for 1-4 hours. I can’t tell you how fab this marinade smells by the way – just like a fresh margarita!
Let the chicken breasts rest out of the fridge for 10-15 minutes after marinating, then grill ‘em over high heat for 4-5 minutes a side, or until cooked through.
Ingredients: zest of 1 lime + juice of 4 limes zest of 1 orange + juice of 2 oranges 1/4 cup tequila (optional) 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon agave nectar (could use honey) 3 crushed garlic cloves salt and pepper (lots) 4 small chicken breasts
Combine ingredients from lime zest to salt and pepper in a large bowl or ziplock bag then mix well. Add chicken breasts then cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours.
When ready to grill or cook, let chicken breasts rest out of the fridge for 10-15 minutes then grill or saute over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes a side, or until cooked through. Serve with Cilantro-Lime Rice and Guacamole .
I promise you will fall in love with this chicken after the very first bite. If you don’t have a grill, or if it’s not warm enough to grill where you live, just saute the marinated chicken in a hot skillet until cooked through. You’ll still get that fabulous margarita flavah. : ) Ooo oo oo, this would also be a great dish to serve this weekend for Cinco de Mayo!
In other news…
Believe or not, despite living in the Midwest for nearly my entire life, I have never stepped foot on a farm. I know! Up until now, my interactions with local farmers have been limited to weekly trips to the summer market, seeing them tirelessly harvest from my car window each fall, and visiting Ben’s and my favorite berry farm, apple orchard, and pumpkin patch each season.
That being said, I have recently partnered with the Iowa Food & Family Project on their Join my Journey campaign to learn more about Iowa’s farms and foods systems. The Iowa Food & Family Project (to be called IFFP from here on out because, well, you get it) aims to connect consumers with Iowa’s farmers who are responding to the increasing interest we have in learning how our food is grown and raised.
Over the next several months I’ll be touring farms both large and small across the state, and blogging about my experiences on the IFFP website. As a blogger who works with food every single day, I am interested to learn, for example, what the term “all natural” really means. How the color of an egg is determined (I just learned this week – you’ll be blown away.) How our farmers are continuously improving their operations to make sure they’re producing quality food in a sustainable way, and get to know the people who support 1/4 of our state’s economy. Iowans are extremely proud of their farmers, so I’m excited to hear and share their stories!
In addition to my blog posts on the IFFP website, there will also be awesome giveaways (Kitchen Aids, anyone?) new recipes, and opportunities to ask your own questions of Iowa’s farmers. (You do not have to be an Iowan to enter or ask!) I hope you’ll pop over every now and again and join me on my journey at IowaFoodandFamily.com !