Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Spicy Cilantro-Grilled Chicken


Cilantro is most definitely a divisive ingredient - definitely a "love it or hate it" thing.  There's not much in between.  Interestingly enough, it's more than just a personal preference - there are studies that show that some people have a genetic predisposition to hating the herb.  And it could be tied to evolution and your lineage.  Science is so cool.

According to cilantro-haters, it tastes like "soapy, dead bugs."  According to cilantro lovers, it tastes like the best thing in the world.  I pretty much double the cilantro in any recipe I come across, and if I ever happened upon a cilantro scented candle, I would probably buy a dozen of them.

So let me state the obvious with this chicken:  it is awesome.  And what's better?  It's super easy.  It's healthy.  It's super versatile - eat it as is, shred it and use for tacos, nachos, or quesadillas, use it in a grilled chicken salad, sandwich it between some bread... the sky's the limit here.  This has been my go-to meal of the summer.  And I'm pretty sure I've served it with corn on the cob and watermelon every single time.  I've made it at least three times, and I figured it was high time I got a picture so I could share with you all.  Most recently, I grilled some cherry tomatoes and avocado, and they were great accompaniments to the chicken as well.  And all of the leftovers made for a ridiculous salad the next day for lunch.

The chicken is briefly marinated in a mixture of cilantro, garlic, jalapeños, and lime juice.  Then you just grill and go.  Dinner is served.

Spicy Cilantro-Grilled Chicken
adapted from Southern Living, April 2013
makes 4-6 servings

Adjust the number of jalapeños to suit your spice-preference.  Using 2 jalapeños will give you a super flavorful, yet still mild chicken.  Obviously using 4 jalapeños will give you a spicier final product.  Keep in mind that the spice will mellow a bit on the grill.

  • (up to) 4 jalapeños, halved, seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 bunches of cilantro (3-4 loosely packed cups)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 12 skinless boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  • lime wedges, for serving
Prepare the grill to medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, combine the jalapeños, garlic, and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor.  Puree until the ingredients are finely chopped, then add the cilantro, salt, pepper, lime juice, and canola oil.  Puree until  smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.  Measure out 1/4 cup of the marinade and set aside for serving.

Add the chicken to a large bowl, and pour the remaining marinade over it.  Mix to distribute evenly, cover, and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Brush the grates with oil, sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, and grill 5-6 minutes per side, or until cooked through.  

Cover the chicken with foil and allow to rest 5 minutes.  Serve with the reserved marinade.


Krystal R. said...

This sounds fantastic, I might have to take it down on the heat with the jalapenos. I'm a little worried giving super spicy foods to Elena, even though I ate alot of it when I was pregnant with her.

Caroline {TheBarbeeHousewife} said...

Wow, this looks great. I am in the cilantro-lovers group. Can't wait to try this. Thanks for sharing!

Joanne (eats well with others) said...

I am definitely thankful I'm on the cilantro-loving side of the spectrum! Sounds like a super meal!

Kelly said...

Pier 1 Imports makes a Citrus Cilantro candle that smells awesome!

Kelsey said...

I love cilantro and this recipe looks awesome!

Josie said...

I've been making this every couple of weeks this summer. My husband and kids all really like the "green chicken." :) Thanks for a great recipe!

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