Every Monday evening for the past nine months or so I have had the pleasure of cooking for a group that has ranged in size from three couples, until now we are up to five couples. When we began meeting I didn't know any of them, but now I’m happy to be able to call them friends. Our main reason for getting together hasn’t been the food, it’s to do Bible study together. But I have to believe that the eating together has been a meaningful part of the process in growing our relationships.
Every week I treated them as guinea pigs for new recipes, for which they were blissfully aware. They were always kind even when a new recipe wasn’t all we hoped it would be. Over the better part of this year I have tested and tried recipes on these willing people and now I am unveiling the ones that passed the test.
The first recipe is Tequila Lime Chicken Tacos. Now, this Tequila Lime Chicken recipe is loosely adapted from a recipe by the Pioneer Woman. I’ve changed it up a bit, but it’s not far from hers. This recipe is actually fine all on its’ own without making it into tacos, but by making it into tacos it stretches a lot further to feed more people.
This tequila based marinade is so flavorful, and the longer you can let it luxuriate the better. The flavors of lime, jalapeno, and cilantro all brought together with tequila, is a magical combination that is certain to bring applause. And although the chicken is delicious, I personally feel that what makes this a crowd pleaser is all of the fixings that go onto the taco itself. Everyone can build their own, which is always fun, and easy. Just set everything out and let people pick and choose what they like best. Serve with some tortilla chips and salsa and you have a memorable meal that will have them coming back for more.
Tequila Lime Chicken
4 limes (zest and juice)
1 cup silver tequila
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 jalapeno, sliced
½ bunch of cilantro
1 whole roasting chicken: back removed and then cut up into 6 pieces
Fixings for the tacos
Corn or flour tortillas
Roasted poblano peppers (see recipe below)
green onions, chopped fine
Directions for the chicken:
Zest limes and then slice open the limes and squeeze the juice into a food processor or blender. Add the tequila, olive oil, salt, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro. Blend the mixture until totally combined. Reserve about ½ cup of the marinade for adding to the shredded chicken once cooked. Add the chicken to a large plastic bag and pour in the lime-tequila mixture. Seal the bag and marinate in the fridge for several hours or ideally overnight.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Remove chicken from bag and put on a foil lined rimmed sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or up to an hour. Until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F. Let the chicken rest for about 20 minutes and then begin removing the meat from the bone, shredding it as you go. Toss chicken with remaining marinade.
Roasted Poblano Peppers
2 poblano peppers
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Char the poblanos either on top of the grates of a gas burner or under the broiler to blacken their skins on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 10 minutes.
Peel off the blackened skin and seed the peppers, but do not rinse. Then slice into strips. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and sliced garlic until just warm, then add the poblano strips along with a little salt and pepper.