Monday, July 28, 2014

Cilantro Lime Chicken


Do you like cilantro?  It's my favorite herb by far, and I love it because it's capable of totally perking up almost any food, both in flavor and appearance.  If you're a cilantro hater, though, you're definitely not alone.  According to The New York Times, many people's aversion to cilantro may be due to the fragrance of certain substances in the herb that are also found in soap and bugs.  (Make sure to read through until the end of the article, when the author describes how he converted himself into a cilantro lover.  Here's one hint: this recipe of mine might be a good place to start.)

For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog Angels Homestead.  It's written by April, a mom, homesteader, and frugal cooking expert who was the owner of the SRC for several years.  April recently began cooking without grains for health reasons, and you can read a bit about her story here.  Everything I make is grain free, so I was excited to find many recipes on April's site that fit my dietary requirements.  I was also excited to find several recipes featuring cilantro, my go-to herb.  I can only assume that April must be a fellow cilantro fan!


Even if you don't love cilantro, I still think you should make this chicken.  You could leave out the cilantro or use basil and lemon instead of cilantro and lime, and it would still be delicious.  I don't always love boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but this flavorful marinade really makes them shine.  I ate some of my chicken as is (I was HUNGRY after taking these photos!), sliced the rest, and used it to top salads for the next few days.  If you want my salad recommendation, here it is: get some butter lettuce leaves, put them on a platter, and top them with chopped cucumber, carrots, avocado, and cilantro lime chicken.  Mince a small shallot and mix it with this sherry vinaigrette (it's basically three parts olive oil, one part sherry vinegar, one part honey, and salt and pepper to taste).  Let the dressing sit for ten minutes or so to let the flavors meld if you can stand the wait, then drizzle the dressing on the salad and devour.  That's my kind of summer meal.


I highly recommend that you check out April's site, especially if you're interested in making delicious grain-free meals that don't cost an arm and a leg.  Scroll down to the end of this post to see the other recipes from today's reveal.  Also, if you're a blogger and are interested in joining the SRC, you can find out more about it here.

Cilantro Lime Chicken
Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 2-4 hours to marinate
Cook time: 15-25 minutes

Ingredients (adapted from Angels Homestead):

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I love Olave)
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice (from one small lime or half a large one)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon ghee (I use homemade or Pure Indian Foods brand) or coconut oil

For serving:

Lime wedges
Sprigs of fresh cilantro

Whisk together the olive oil, lime zest and juice, garlic, shallot, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Place the chicken breasts in a large bowl or baking dish and prick in several places on both sides with a fork.  Pour the marinade over the chicken, turning to coat the pieces evenly.  Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you plan to cook it.

Place the ghee in a grill pan over medium-high heat (if you plan to use a real grill, even better--check out April's grilling instructions here).  Remove any large pieces of garlic or shallot from the chicken so they won't burn during cooking, and discard the marinade.

When the pan is very hot, add the chicken and reduce the heat a bit.  Cook undisturbed for 5-7 minutes, until nicely browned on the bottom.  Flip the chicken pieces with tongs and cook for 8-10 minutes on the second side, or until fully cooked (juices should run clear and there should be no pink left inside the thickest part of the chicken).  If the chicken breasts are large, they may need to cook for another few minutes on the first side.  Remove the chicken to a platter and cover it loosely with foil.  Let the chicken rest for at least five minutes, then serve hot or warm with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs.  Alternately, slice the chicken into strips and serve it on top of a salad.




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32 comments:

  1. This chicken looks so beautifully succulent and flavourful, and coriander and lime is such a great flavour combination. Love your suggestion for turning this into a salad to. Yum!
    Sue

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    1. Thank you, Sue! I agree that coriander and lime are wonderful together--kind of synergistic :)

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  2. Cilantro is one of my favorite flavors, and lime goes perfectly with it... this recipe screams SUMMER! :-)

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    1. Yes! I am so obsessed with all the summer food!

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  3. Cilantro and Lime, how can you possibly go wrong. They photo got my mouth watering here...I guess I should go eat breakfast LOL>

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    1. Haha, Wendy, that always happens to me...I wake up, start reading the blogs on my feedly while drinking some coffee, and suddenly I'm starving.

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  4. I happen to love cilantro so I know I'd adore this recipe! It looks wonderful!
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen

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  5. It took me a while to warm up to cilantro but now I love it. This chicken sounds delicious, and your photos are stunning! Great pick this month :)

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    1. Thank you, Dorothy! I thought there would be some other cilantro lovers in the SRC :)

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  7. Everything about this looks wonderful. We love cilantro - and I love the combination of flavors in the marinade, and your salad recommendation. We have weekend company coming to visit soon, and this would be perfect for dinner one night!

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  8. Mmmm so fresh and summery! I love cilantro and this sounds awesome!

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  9. I do not like cilantro. My husband loves it. We have fights. I am thinking he would want me to make this ASAP.

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    1. Haha, Emily, I would like to be a fly on the wall for one of your fights about cilantro! You could make this with basil instead and maybe then you would both like it! :)

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  10. Very tasty looking! I do love cilantro, but I have heard that some people have an aversion to it. Love your photo!

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  11. Yum, perfect for summer. Beautiful photos!

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  12. I am a cilantro lover of the highest degree and this chicken looks amazing! I am highly suspicious of people who dislike cilantro :)

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    1. Haha, Nora, I know what you mean! I remember being very disillusioned when, several years ago, I read in one of Ina Garten's cookbooks that she doesn't like cilantro. She's one of my favorite cookbook authors, and I felt mysteriously betrayed when I found out she didn't share any love for my favorite herb!

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  13. What a great recipe for summer grilling.

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  14. That looks so fresh and tasty!! I am actually not a fan of cilantro at all, although I sure wish I was right now!

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    1. Thanks, Rebekah! Have you tried cilantro pesto? According to the Times article, it's a good stepping stone for cilantro haters to begin to see the light ;)

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  15. I love the chicken-cilantro combination! Great SRC selection!

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  16. Sorry I am replying to this so late Becky! I hope you got the news that my internet was fried from a lightening strike we got during a thunderstorm on the Saturday before our reveal. We're back online now, and I am trying to catch up on blog work, and visiting my fellow group D club members. You done a fantastic job with the chicken. This was one of my favorite dishes to grill, before I found out I had developed an allergy to chicken! Turkey is my new sub for chicken, and I cant wait to try this recipe with turkey now. Thanks for reminding me about it. :)

    PS: Love the suggestion of topping salads with this, that used to be my favorite way of eating it. I would grill up a large bag of chicken breast with this recipe, chop it up, then keep it stored in the freezer for salads through the month.

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    1. No problem, April! I did hear about your internet--glad it's back up. Thank you for the fabulous recipe :) Freezing this is a great idea.

      I am sorry to hear you're allergic to chicken! During my recent food allergy test, when I commented about how beef and lamb were part of the standard set of tests, my doctor told me people can be allergic to absolutely any food, which I hadn't realized. That must be hard to avoid, but turkey would be a delicious substitute here!

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