Mexican cooks often marinate chicken in citrus juices before grilling. Don’t marinate the meat longer than overnight, however, or it will become too soft. When grilling, sear the skinless side first to seal in the juices, then finish cooking more slowly off to one side of the grill. Serve with green rice and refried black beans.
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 dried chipotle chili pepper, stemmed and seeded
- 1 cup red salsa
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 boneless chicken breast halves
- Fresh orange slices, optional
- Fresh cilantro sprigs, optional
In a small saucepan, combine the orange juice, lime juice and chili pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the chili is plump, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Transfer the cooled citrus mixture to a blender and add the salsa, olive oil and salt. Purée until smooth.
Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry. Place the chicken breasts in a shallow nonaluminum dish. Pour the purée evenly over the top, cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.
Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a broiler.
When the fire is hot or the broiler is ready, remove the chicken breasts from the marinade. Place them skin side down on the grill rack about 5 inches from the coals, or arrange them skin side up on a broiler pan, and place in the broiler about 4 inches from the heat source. Grill or broil for 2-3 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side for 2-3 minutes. Continue to cook the chicken, turning every 2-3 minutes to avoid burning, until tender and opaque throughout. The total cooking time should be 12-20 minutes, depending upon the size of the breasts.
Transfer the chicken to a warmed platter. Garnish with orange slices and cilantro sprigs, if desired, and serve immediately.
Lighten Up! Version: Omitting the oil from the marinade reduces the fat to just 2 grams per serving.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
304 calories; 6g total fat; 137mg cholesterol; 358mg sodium; 3g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 55g protein
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