Contrary to popular belief, chicken can be flavorful. The key to unleashing the chameleon-like character comes from the marinade.
Don’t be afraid of marinades, they’re one of the simplest things in the world that’ll give you the best results for something as tried and true as chicken. The acidity from the lime juice tenderizes the flesh.
Chicken rarely needs more than an hour to marinate — in fact, any longer and you’d actually be cooking the chicken. The jalapenos lend it some spice of course, but there is also the peppery brightness that comes through.
And if you want even more robust flavor for your poultry, generously rub the chicken with our DIY dry rub.
I prefer to buy chicken whole and slice it up myself. You save a lot of money in the process although it does require some skill with the knife. At any rate, do consider cooking dark meat chicken and with the bone-in.
The craze with boneless, skinless breast may be healthy but is terribly expensive and often lacks flavor.
1whole chickencut into serving pieces (OR alternatively the same weight of pre-cut chicken/chicken breasts)
salt & pepper
First, halve the jalapenos lengthwise and remove the seeds and veins with your knife (the veins are the lighter color bits of flesh to which the seeds are attached). You can leave the seeds if you like things especially spicy, but I find that my tongue has quite enough flavor to deal with without them. Chop them finely into bits of green confetti. Don't worry about making them look neat and uniform -- you just want as much surface area from the flesh to let out all the good flavor. Put this into a large bowl or casserole dish.
Halve the limes and juice them in whatever manner you wish -- with a fork, a juicer, etc. -- into the bowl of jalapenos. Pour in the olive oil, salt and pepper, and stir to let all the ingredients get to know each other.
Now you have your marinade. You can make this the night before or the morning before you start your day and add the chicken as soon as you start making dinner. Put the chicken into another bowl, casserole dish, or even a huge ziploc freezer bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage it a bit to get the flavors into the chicken and let it sit for at least 1/2 an hour to an hour. In the meantime, you can make a sidedish, read the paper, watch TV, do your nails, etc...
After you've let the chicken marinate, heat up a pan or the grill at the highest possible heat. The concept here is to sear the chicken to get a nice crust on it. When the pan is hot enough (test it by adding a drop of water to the surface and seeing if it sizzles immediately away) add a tablespoon or so of oil, so that the chicken won't stick. Add the chicken pieces. Sear on one side, lower the heat to a medium high and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes, flip over the pieces to cook on the other side. Cover again.
I can't give precise times here, because everyone's stove varies in heat output and the thickness of the chicken will inevitably vary. Trust yourself. A meat thermometer helps, but you can easily check to see if the chicken is done by pressing on its surface to see if it still feels rather mushy (it's not quite done) or firm to the touch (you're just about there).
Serve it with rice, sour cream, and guacamole (there's a recipe for it in the appetizer section!) or alone with some greens and you've got yourself a sassy and healthy little dinner...
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!