Whiskey Herb Marinated Chicken

whiskeychicken1Since my Simon & Garfunkel garden runneth over, I have been on the lookout for ways to use my fresh herbs in various dishes. The parsley, rosemary, and basil have all been receiving a considerable amount of cooking action, but the sage and thyme….are a bit neglected. Lucky for me, I found a recipe that banks on lots of fresh, beautiful thyme–and it has whiskey! Even better.

Whiskey marinated chicken=juicy, flavorful.

whiskeychicken4Seriously though, we have a sage BUSH at this point. And I’m not a big meat eater. Hopefully we’ll be able to utilize it in the next couple months with lots of butternut squash and pumpkin, but–everyone has an open invitation to come over and snip away for all their fresh sage needs.

whiskeychicken3And if you know of any vegetarian or pescatarian recipes utilizing sage or thyme, please let me know!

Whiskey Herb Marinated Chicken

Adapted from The Irish Spirit

1/2 cup whiskey
3/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and pepper
4 chicken breasts

Combine whiskey, oil, garlic, onion, thyme, rosemary, cayenne, ginger, salt and pepper to taste in a sealable jar and shake to blend. Place the
chicken in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over it. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, most easily done overnight.
Preheat a gas or stovetop grill to medium high. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill, flipping over after 6-8 minutes. Brush once with the marinade after turning.

Tequila Cilantro Pesto

I LOVE cilantro. Love. It’s my favorite color (not that that’s unique), and it just smells so fresh and amazing. It smells like warm weather and sunshine. And anyone who knows me knows how I feel about warm weather. And hot weather. Oh yeah, and it tastes fantastic too. So I made it into a pesto and added some bite–tequila!

pesto1This particular evening I slathered it on tortillas to make “green tacos” with chicken, spinach, and avocado. But I could also see covering some chicken with it whether baked in the oven or cooked on the grill. Or on pizza. Or pasta. You know, the usual pesto recipients. Depending upon what you want to use it for, just adjust the amount of olive oil or use reserved pasta water to create the consistency you want.

pesto5If I wasn’t hoping a certain toddler was going to partake in the pesto (no, he didn’t have any–no tequila for this two year old!), I would have also added in some chile pepper. Although, as long as I glob sour cream on it I don’t think he would care….

Tequila Cilantro Pesto

Adapted from Simply Recipes

2 cups packed cilantro leaves

1/2 cup almonds

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon salt

dash of cayenne

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon tequila (more if you want!)

If you want to be super fancy, toast those almonds in a dry skillet on the stove until fragrant. Toss the cilantro, almonds, garlic, salt and cayenne into a food processor and pulse. With the processor running, stream in the olive oil, lime juice and tequila. Taste and adjust seasonings, tequila, or oil accordingly.

Savory Apple-Whiskey Sauce

FYI: I’m already in St. Patrick’s Day preparation mode (when am I not?). The whiskey is out.

This apple whiskey sauce is super simple, and can be used to dress up any kind of meat. The cookbook I used to adapt the recipe from calls for Irish bacon. And then cooking the sauce in the bacon fat….you meat lovers can try that. I already had some chicken cooked up, so I used that instead.

Peel, core, and dice some apples.

I had to get an additional apple, because SOMEONE who was SUPPOSED to be helping decided to swipe one instead.

For some reason (having to do with uber-cuteness) I couldn’t stay mad at him…

Saute those apples until they are golden brown. Add some stock and cream-and whiskey of course. And it gets all delicious. Mildly sweet, whiskey soaked delicious.

Savory Apple-Whiskey Sauce

Adapted from The Irish Spirit: Recipes Inspired by the Legendary Drinks of Ireland

3 apples (I used granny smith)

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup liquid-taken from whatever meat you are cooking, chicken stock is great, even water works fine

2 tablespoons of Irish whiskey

3 tablespoons of heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Peel, core, and slice up your apples. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and cook the apples about 5 minutes, until they become golden. Add the 1/4 cup of liquid, the whiskey, cream, and oregano. Bring to a boil and stir the mixture continuously for 3-5 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste, and pour over the meat of your choice.

Tequila Lime Chicken

Chicken marinated in tequila and lime.  Summer is here!

I’m not sure if I had ever had tequila marinated chicken before, and the flavor was semi-surprising. I did not get a strong punch of tequila (a little disappointed, most would probably be satisfied), but it was certainly flavorFUL, and even a little sweet. Maybe it was the splash of OJ? But I really enjoyed when I experienced the heat of the jalapenos–next time I will definitely use more. Actually, next time tequila chicken is on the menu, I am going to make this, so prepare yourselves. But I suppose we should give it time. Variety is the spice of life, right?

ready for marinating!

Since it was 100 degrees out, I served this over a salad and mixed up a simple lime vinaigrette to complement the flavors in the chicken. Refreshingness. But you could serve it with rice, or quinoa, or a bean salad or…..(infinity)…. You could also make a creamy lime vinaigrette by mixing it up with buttermilk or greek yogurt.

Look at that jalapeno!

I kept smirking while making this because I couldn’t help thinking of one of my favorite shows: “So the lime first, then the shot…” It’s Always Sunny fans, anyone?Tequila lime marinated chicken

Tequila Lime Chicken

*you could easily marinate more chicken with this amount of marinade, 3-4 chicken breasts

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest of 2 limes
  • juice of 4 limes
  • 1/4 cup of tequila (this may sound like a lot, but it’s really only 1-2 shots)
  • splash of OJ
  • splash of canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • jalapeno to taste (I used a few slices of pickled jalapenos because I had them on hand, I would say one fresh jalapeno would be great: seeds kept for more heat, discard the seeds for less.)

Combine all ingredients in a tupperware container and shake it up. Place in the refrigerator, and let the marinade work magic overnight. Grill or pan fry 6-8 minutes on each side.

Lime Vinaigrette

*I would say this makes enough for about 6 salads

  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (freshly chopped cilantro would be better!)
  • salt and pepper

Shake, shake, shake-Shake, shake, shake-Mix it all up!

Gorgonzola stuffed chicken with whiskey soaked mushroom cream sauce

Garlic and mushrooms soaked in whiskey and cream would be enough to make a delicious chicken dish. But combine that with a bite of warm, melted blue cheese in the center? It takes the dish to a whole new level of awesomeness.

I have a fantastic cookbook called The Irish Spirit: Recipes Inspired by the Legendary Drinks of Ireland. There is a whole section devoted to Irish whiskey! You can bet I will be cooking my way through the entire thing!  In it I came across a recipe for Chicken Cashel Blue: essentially your typical chicken marsala–except replace that marsala wine with some Irish whiskey. Then there is the added bonus of some Cashel blue cheese stuffed inside.

I have to confess, I don’t like stuffing chicken. It’s a process. It takes time. You need lots of dishes. I hate dealing with toothpicks. My stuffing always melts out. I worry that the chicken won’t cook all the way through (valid worries from previous experience!). But this recipe combined some of my favorite things-it sounded too delicious to pass up!

The cookbook instructed me to refrigerate the chicken for 15 minutes after coating it in breadcrumbs. I’m so happy to have learned this! It definitely helped set the coating; the breadcrumbs adhered well and came out nice and crispy. So many of my coated chicken attempts have come out soggy with only half the bread crumbs remaining. Lesson learned! I adapted the recipe for my own tastes and tailored it around what I had on hand. It’s a new keeper!

Gorgonzola stuffed chicken with whiskey soaked mushroom cream sauce

Adapted from The Irish Spirit: Recipes Inspired by the Legendary Drinks of Ireland

4 boneless chicken breast halves, 4 to 5 ounces each

4 ounces of a blue cheese (to be honest, I just sprinkled on an amount that looked good)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 large egg beaten with (optional) 1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup bread crumbs

olive oil to coat the pans

2 cloves of garlic (at least!)

6 ounces white mushrooms, chopped or pre-sliced

2 tablespoons Irish whiskey

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Make a horizontal incision in each chicken breast to form a pocket, or horizontally cut the chicken and open it up-like a butterfly effect. Distribute the cheese evenly among the chicken. If you butterflied, fold the chicken back over. (You could use toothpicks to seal, but I was lazy and did not and it turned out great.)

Put the flour in one shallow dish, the egg wash in another, and the bread crumbs in a third. Lightly dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, dip in the egg wash, and then cover with bread crumbs. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

In a large heatproof skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Cook the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes while preparing the sauce.

In another skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the whiskey and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Stir in the cream, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until smooth.

Pour the mushroom sauce over the chicken. Consume. Delight.