The closer we come to May, the more my thoughts wander to Cinco de Mayo. One of the best Cinco de Mayo parties Hubby and I ever hosted was while we were living in Las Vegas. Our neighborhood was a gated Pueblo development. All the homes were custom Pueblo-Style homes. The community had a private park perfect for hosting neighborhood block parties. Most of the time, Hubby and I did the cooking. I’m not sure why that tended to happen, except to say we had a natural knack for hosting parties. Everything from the “theme” to the decorations to the food – we are very detail orientated. Okay – I will admit I tend to be a bit of a control freak. I have a vision and the drive to see it through.
Recently, I gave you the recipe for Grilled Lemon Chicken Breasts. With a few alterations, this recipe was easily transformed to a wonderful South of the Border rendition for Tequila-Lime Chicken Thighs. While the recipe is designed for a small gathering, it would be simple to increase for a larger crowd.
In the past, I’ve put together an entire menu for a particular holiday. This year, I’ve decided to write a series of posts leading up to Cinco de May. Once complete, I’ll create links to the recipes and you can pick what you like (or maybe just get some inspiration).
Here is my first offering . . .
Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken Thighs
Tequila-Lime Rubbed Thighs
2 Limes Zested
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon Tequila
6 Limes, Cut in Half
6 Bone-in Chicken Thighs
1 Disposable Aluminum Roasting Pan, 13 x 9 (for Charcoal Grill)
PREPARE CHICKEN FOR GRILL: Combine lime zest, 1 tablespoon Tequila, salt and pepper in a bowl. Using your fingers, gently loosen the center portion of skin covering each thigh, rub zest mixture evenly under the skin. Transfer chicken to a wire rack and let sit for 45 minutes for the rub to do its thing.
Just before grilling the chicken, pat dry with a paper towel and season outside with salt and pepper.
PREPARE CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom grill vent halfway. Place disposable roasting pan in the center of the grill. Light a chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour coals into two even piles on either side of the roasting pan. (Pan is to remain empty). Set cooking grate in place, close grill and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place lime halves, cut side down, on grill over coals.
Place chicken thighs, skin side down to start, on grill over roasting pan for indirect grilling. Close lid and grill until limes are a deep brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer grilled limes to a bowl. Make a tequila baste as thighs continue to grill. (Tip: Have everything but the grilled limes ready to speed up the process).
1/3 Cup Grilled Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Cilantro, chopped
2 Teaspoons Tequila
1 Garlic Clove, Minced to a paste (see below)
1 Teaspoon Cumin
2/3 Cup Olive Oil
Squeeze grilled limes (see above) to get 1/3 cup juice. Place juice in a blender with Tequila, chopped Cilantro, garlic paste and cumin. Pulse to create a paste. Transfer to a bowl. Slowly add olive oil while whisking until well blended.
Baste chicken with cilantro mixture and continue to grill, covered, until skin is crisp and thighs are cooked through, turning and basting every 5 minutes or so.
TO MAKE GARLIC PASTE: Mince garlic as fine as possible. Sprinkle minced garlic with a little coarse salt (such as Kosher). Drag the side of a knife repeatedly over the mixture to form a fine puree paste.
4 Green Onions, chopped
4 or 5 Cilantro Leaves, torn
Place grilled chicken on a platter. Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro. If desires, serve with lime wedges on side (you can use the limes that have been zested).