I’m willing to bet I almost had you there, what with the title and all.
I almost wrote “salt” instead of garlic, but then I would be talking about margaritas and not the chicken that I made today.
All last weekend, I had been looking over what kind of recipes to make this week before going shopping on Monday. I wanted something to do with beef, some kind of pasta, but what kind of chicken? Goodness knows, I was over making chicken for a short while after I botched it the last time I made it. Then my friend threw out “Lime chicken”. Lime chicken, huh.
All this week, I’ve been looking into recipes for lime chicken. Some call for cayenne pepper and a touch of paprika with lime juice squeezed on top. Others call for garlic sautéed until fragrant, and chicken seared in the pan with a touch of lime at the end. And then there were some recipes that called for cooking the chicken in with garlic and tequila.
From the three recipes that I had found and was looking over, I took from them the things I would like to put in the chicken and born was a recipe I would like to dub “3 Recipe Chicken”
This morning (all right, it was 11 am) when I went to cook, I wasn’t bleary eyed or tired like I usually am. I had been up for a little while, itching to cook. I went upstairs, armed with my creativity, telephone, and iPod and started pulling things from their homes in the kitchen. The bread (that I didn’t end up using to make garlic bread) and linguine came from the pantry in the hall, whereas I snatched the lemon pepper blend of Mrs. Dash, red pepper flakes, and paprika from the spice cabinet by the stove. Mum had already set out the Tastefully Simple “Garlic Garlic” thinking that I would use it later to make garlic bread like she does. Chicken was pulled from the meat locker in the fridge, and tequila hastily grabbed from the shelf above the microwave– where we keep the blender I might add. It wasn’t until I was about to take the picture of all the things that I realised I’d forgotten something: the lime. There lay a bag of lemons and limes that sat on the table and I reached inside, my fingers curling around the small, smooth, green object. Placing it with everything else, I stepped back and grabbed the picture. Perfect.
With the picture taken, I cleared the stove and set about preparing the chicken. Jazz wafted around the kitchen, the harmony of saxophone and piano enveloping me. I bobbed my head to the beat, tapping my foot while I opened the chicken and prepared a plate with the lemon pepper, paprika and red pepper flakes.
The chicken had time to sit while I pulled Mum’s overly large pan from it’s home inside the stove. It had already been washed from my last adventure with it. I set a pan full of water on the back burner and had turned it on when I stopped and reconsidered. I wouldn’t need to cook the pasta until after the chicken was done.
It was while oil was warming in it that I realised I needed the garlic for the chicken. Going back to the fridge, I located it and plucked the bulb from it’s spot within. I’d already used a good amount of this bulb in previous dishes and began pulling more cloves from it. Soon, they were peeled and I was able to chop up the cloves, the rhythmic sound filling the kitchen, accompanying the jazz.
With the garlic chopped up and my hands fairly sticky from having pulled the skin away from the cloves, I added it to the pan. A delightful aroma filled the kitchen, this was the best part, when the garlic gets puffy and fragrant.
I was careful to reduce the heat; burned garlic smells and tastes bitter and nobody likes that. Not long after the garlic had begun to puff up, I added the chicken. There was no fear of overcrowding the pan, after all, this pan was huge. After turning the chicken once, I poked at it to see if it had cooked.
While the chicken seared on the other side, I bopped to the jazz some more. Nobody was home and I was dancing, sliding around in my socks like I was in Risky Business (clothing on, of course). Peering over at the stove, I decided to give the chicken a flip and went on, business as usual.
When the chicken was no longer pink on the outside, I measured out a half of a cup of the tequila and poured it in. I watched as it hissed and sizzled with utmost fascination. The previous time that I had cooked with alcohol, it caught on fire, but I was flambeéing pineapple so that was to be expected. I lowered the heat and placed a lid on the pan while my fingers nimbly found the timer on the microwave and tapped in ten (10) minutes without my having to look.
When the ten (10) minutes had elapsed, I pulled the lid from the pan and was hit with the tequila fumes. Here I thought it was strong in the bottle, oh no. It was enough for me to fan in front of my face and wrinkle my nose.
Assured that the chicken was done cooking, I moved it from pan to plate and placed the plate in the microwave to keep the chicken warm. The jazz had mellowed out and I wandered over to look at the pasta recipe in Mr. Bittman’s book.
The pan that had been used for the chicken was the perfect match for what I would need to toss the pasta in after I had cooked it. While I set the pot on the back burner to warm, I hefted the big pan to the sink and washed it out. Soon, it was spotless and back on the stove.
Again, I set oil in the pan, and then began plucking more cloves off of the garlic cluster. The beauty of Pandora internet radio is that it’s unpredictable, yet it sticks to something you specify. The station that I had been listening to was “John Coltrane Radio” and so, another of his brilliant and upbeat songs blared from the speakers.
It was while I was chopping garlic, tapping my foot to the jazz, otherwise bopping around that a feeling of deja vu settled over me. Odd, hadn’t I done this before? Yet, I knew that I had, I had done this not thirty (30) minutes previously.
Again, the garlic went into the pan with the warm oil, it hissing and puffing up. The aroma could be found on my fingers, on my palms, where they had touched the peeled cloves. If you leaned in, you could probably smell the garlic’s aroma on my skin, in my hair. But that didn’t bother me, this was the best part of cooking. Watching, waiting patiently for the garlic to turn golden, for it to swell up. Before it did, I reduced the heat down to low, gave it one more stir and put a lid on it.
While the clock ticked down, I meandered between the hall pantry and the kitchen, taking the colander from its usual place among everything else. Into the sink it went, and back over to the stove I went. I gave the pasta a quick stir, turned off the heat and carefully brought the pan to the sink. Steam fanned up towards my face, it feeling like a warm mist against my cheeks and nose.
Finally, I was able to plate it and would be able to eat. I hoped that it all paid off, that this would be well worth every second spent hovering over the stove. I put the pasta in the bowl first, and then the chicken before squeezing the lime over top.
I went to sit in my room, it a delightful change from the warmth upstairs. It was cool, and my shades were drawn to keep the light out. Sitting cross legged with the bowl in my lap, I twirled the noodles, took a bite…
… It was perfect. The garlic in the pasta matched the garlic undertones in the chicken, they complementing each other brilliantly. It wasn’t overly spicy, nor was there an overwhelming flavour of tequila. The chicken was a bit dry, but paired with bites of noodles, that was hardly noticeable. The lime was refreshing upon both the noodles and the chicken, it brightening each of the flavours I tasted, adding another layer to the aroma I could smell.
~Recipe: 3 Recipe Garlic, Lime & Tequila Chicken~
It was early this morning when I sat and looked over recipes for lime chicken some more. I didn’t want just one over any of the others, I wanted them all. There was not yet a recipe that I came across that paired the warmth from lemon pepper and Paprika with the tart bite from tequila and the bright flavour of lime juice. So, I took from each a little of their recipe, the lemon pepper and the paprika from one, the tequila from another, and the lime from a each. They weren’t my recipes, but they inspired this.
- 1 TBSP Paprika
- 1 TBSP Lemon pepper
- Red Pepper flakes to taste
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
- 1/2 cup of tequila
- Juice from 1 lime
- 3 TBSP oil
- Rub the chicken with paprika, lemon pepper and pepper flakes.
- Heat oil in a deep bottomed skillet over medium heat.
- When oil is heated, add garlic.
- When the garlic is puffy and aromatic, add chicken.
- Cook chicken for about three (3) minutes on each side (until no pink is showing)
- Add the tequila to the chicken, reduced the heat to medium-low, place a lid on it and let it cook for ten (10) minutes.
- Remove the lid and let cook another three (3) minutes.
- Squeeze lime over the chicken.
- Serve with pasta or rice and a salad or bread