Citrus and Tequila-Glazed Chicken Thighs

bon-app-cover-julyAs the weather gets hotter, we do more and more grilling here at Glover Gardens.  I’m really happy with the on-the-grill recipe I’m sharing with you today, a citrusy and piquant take on the ever-moist chicken thigh. It’s the product of a decades-long subscription to Bon Appétit. That venerable magazine and I have been friends for a long, long time.

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Photo from Bon Appétit by Con Poulos

In August of 2007, the Tequila-Glazed Chicken with Jalapeño recipe caught my fancy. I made it for years, adjusting this and that, playing with the spices, making it hotter, making it mine. Yum!

Then Bon Appétit’s 2013 recipe for Citrus-Marinated Chicken Thighs came out, looking like it was from another page of the same playbook. Of course it was also delicious.

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Photo from Bon Appétit by Hirsheimer & Hamilton

The methods were different, though. The first recipe benefits from a dry rub for a few hours and then gets a glaze on the grill, and the second soaks in an “aggressively seasoned” marinade before being broiled.

But I wanted it all – the seasonings, the marinade, and the glaze. The best of both. So I played around with the ingredients and the concepts, and here’s the result. I think you’ll like it. There’s a long list of ingredients, but this is a really easy recipe.

Oh, and since the grill is already hot, sometimes I like to go one step further and throw on some pineapple and peppers for an easy side dish. I’ve included the instructions for that, too.

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Throw on some pineapple after the chicken thighs
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I was too generous with the garnishes and you can’t really see the chicken, but that’s ok because we love our garnishes here at Glover Gardens: Just Gotta Garnish

Citrus and Tequila-Glazed Chicken Thighs

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch cilantro, long/leafless part of stems removed (about 1 1/2 cups, loosely packed)
  • 5-6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 serrano pepper, stem removed, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 2 cups juice: a combination of orange, pineapple, lemon or lime – I primarily use orange and pineapple
  • 1/2 cup tequila (omit if you don’t cook with liquor and increase the juice)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4-5 lbs. of chicken thighs, skin on
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

Optional garnishes: cilantro, sliced jalapeños, sliced green onions

Cooking Instructions

Combine the cilantro, garlic and serrano pepper in a food processor and process until they are finely ground. Add the cumin, nutmeg, red pepper flakes and sea salt and pulse again until combined. Pour in the juice, tequila and olive oil and mix again until blended.

Reserve and refrigerate 1 cup of the marinade, which will be used for the glaze later, or 1 1/2 cups if you’re planning to make the grilled pineapple and peppers side dish. Split the chicken thighs between two large food-safe resealable bags and distribute the remaining marinade on the chicken. Squeeze the air out of the bags and seal them, turning to ensure that the marinade covers all of the chicken pieces. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2-6 hours, turning the bags at least once.

Prepare the glaze by combining the honey and cayenne with 1 cup of the reserved marinade mixture in a small nonstick saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir and lower the heat to medium-high, keeping the glaze at a simmer until it thickens (about 5-7 minutes).

Remove the chicken from the marinade and place in a dish or cookie sheet. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for about ten minutes, then turn and brush with the glaze on the cooked side. Turn again and add glaze to the first side. Continue grilling until the chicken is done to your liking, about 165° in the thickest part. Remove to a clean platter and either spoon on the reserved glaze, or serve it separately. Throw on the optional garnishes and serve.

Grilled Pineapple and Peppers

Ingredients

  • A mixture of sliced pineapple and bell and/or poblano peppers
  • 1/2 cup reserved marinade

Cooking Instructions

When you’re ready to grill the chicken, arrange the pineapple and peppers in a pie plate and drizzle with the marinade. Grill them after you cook the chicken until you have a nice char on each side. Serve with the chicken.

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Gathering the ingredients ahead of time makes everything go faster
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Grind up the cilantro, garlic and serrano first, then add the spices
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Now with the tequila, juice and oil
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Divide the chicken in plastic bags and split the remaining marinade between them (after reserving 1 cup for the glaze)
Chicken Marinading
Seal the bags and turn them to distribute the marinade evenly
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Add the honey to 1 cup of the reserved marinade
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Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened
Chicken Ready for Grilling
Chicken ready for grilling; it benefits so much from the soak in that spicy, tequila-laced marinade
Pineapple and Peppers Ready for the Grill
Pineapple and peppers make a quick side dish and taste great with the marinade, too
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Ready for grilling
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Getting a nice char on the chicken
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Have a clean platter ready for the finished product; this Glover Gardens dish was a Christmas gift from our newlyweds, The Girl Who is Always Hungry and The Best Eater
Garnishes
Glover Gardens is all about the garnish
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My food styling was lacking in my hurry to get to the eating and my picture is out of focus, but this sure was a tasty meal!

© 2018 Glover Gardens

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