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Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken

 Although this chicken is marinated before grilling, the preparation is surprisingly fast. In as little as thirty minutes, it will have taken on some of the marinade. For optimal results though an hour or more is best. The flavors here are authentic Mexican, bright with fresh lime, cilantro and garlic, and they only get better on the grill. But on rainy days a heavy cast iron or grill pan will do just fine. Served with grilled corn on the cob (brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with chili powder), and the salad I’ll share in the next post, mmm, so good! You’ll think it’s summer.

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Chicken

(serves 6)

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each), tenderloin section included
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juie
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbl. chopped fresh cilantro (plus more sprigs for garnish)
  • 1½ t. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1½ t. kosher salt
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for brushing the grate or pan
  • 1½ cups favorite salsa
  • 1 cup sour cream, or Greek-style yogurt

Place a chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and, using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently and gradually flatten it until it is about ½ inch thick. Repeat with the other chicken breasts. Place the chicken in a 1-gallon lock-top plastic bag.In a bowl, combine the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, chopped cilantro, brown sugar, slat, cumin and pepper and whisk until thoroughly blended. Pour the marinade over the chicken, coating all sides well. Squeeze all the air out of the bag and seal it. (If using a shallow bowl instead, cover it.) If possible, refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or for up to 3. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Prepare a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill on medium.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and drain off the excess marinade. Brush the grill grate with vegetable oil. Place the chicken directly over the fire. Grill, uncovered, for about 1½ minutes. Rotate the chicken 90 degrees to create attractive cross-hatching and cook for 1½ minutes longer. Flip the chicken breasts over and continue grilling, uncovered, repeating the steps for cross-hatching, until tender and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife, 3 to 4 minutes longer.

Remove the chicken from the grill and transfer to warmed dinner plates or a lage platter. Spoon some salsa over each portion, followed by a dollop of sour cream. Garnish with the cilantro sprigs and serve immediately.

(Recipe comes from Nordstrom’s Entertaining at Home Cookbook.)

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(for printer-friendly version, click here.) 
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