Margarita Chicken: Mexican Inspired Dinner Party - Part 3

I'm recapping a bunch of recipes, all inspired by a Mexican-themed dinner party I catered in May.   I liked the recipes so much that I turned them into one of my cooking classes recently, at The American Table.  I changed up a few things, such as turning my Jicama Radish and Watermelon Salad into a Salsa - with terrific results!


Making a marinade out of a basic margarita mix made from scratch isn't hard. The marinade will work on a variety of proteins too - shrimp, tuna, scallops, tiliapia, pork, even tofu.  The marinating times vary though, depending on the muscle structure of the proteins - fish, especially flaky tender fish do not need to marinate longer than 30 minutes.  Chicken and pork can take a "swim" in this acidic marinade for several hours.  Make a large batch, reserve some for basting and dripping after, so that you are not cross contaminating your foods with any marinade that's had raw meat or fish in it.  Remember to discard any marinade that's had raw food in it.  And boil the reserved batch to cook and reduce it down, cook, taming the raw garlic and concentrating all the flavors.

Margarita Chicken Ingredients:
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro - roughly
  • chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves - Minced
  • 2 Teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 Limes - Zest and Juice
  • (about 1/4 to 1/3 Cup Juice)
  • 1 Orange - Juiced (about 1/3
  • cup of juice total)
  • 1/4 Cup Tequila
  • 2 Tablespoons Triple Sec
  • (optional)
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Freshly Ground
  • Black Pepper
  • 6 Skinless, Boneless Chicken
  • Breast Halves - all even
  • thickness (cutlet thickness)
  • Lime Wedges and Sprigs of
  • Cilantro for serving
Equipment needed:
  • Skewers - if using
  • Work bowl
  • Grill - pan, charcoal, gas or
  • electric
  • 2 platters - one for raw
  • chicken to marinate, one for
  • serving
1. Roughly chop the cilantro
and add it to a work bowl.
Mince the garlic and add it
to the cilantro. Add in the
onion powder and ground
cumin, zest of the lime and
the lime and orange juices.
Whisk in the tequila, triple
sec, olive oil, salt and
2. Arrange the chicken breasts
in an even layer on a platter
or shallow bowl, large
enough to hold all the
chicken. Pour the
Margarita mixture over the
chicken breasts, cover and
refrigerate 2 hours or up to
overnight. You can also put
the marinade & chicken
into a zip-lock bag.
3. When ready to grill the
chicken, preheat your grill
source to medium high.
Remove the chicken from
the refrigerator no more
than 20 minutes before you
are ready to cook it. Shake
off excess marinade and
discard any remaining
marinade (
do not use it! it
has had raw chicken in in
and cannot be reused or
4. When the grill is hot
enough, (hot enough so that
when you hold your palm a
few inches above it you can
keep it there for 5 to 10
seconds) lightly oil the
grates and grill the chicken
breasts until tender and the
juices run clear - about 6
minutes per side.
5. Serve hot or warm. If
desired, slice into thin strips
and serve on skewers. Serve
with wedges of lime and
garnish with fresh cilantro.
6. The cooked chicken will
hold for up to 3 days,
covered and refrigerated.
Serves 6-8.


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