Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tequila Citrus Grilled Chicken

This is the second of five posts sharing with you a great summer meal The Boy & I recently cooked up. The whole menu for our fantastic meal, really centered around the main dish. The Boy mentioned that he wanted to grill, and therefore it was up to me to figure out what to cook and how to cook it. After browsing some of my favorite sources, I settled on a recipe for Tequila Orange Chicken from Cooking Light. The original recipe called for oranges & orange juice. I knew I wanted to use up a lot of the limes I had in the fridge by making margaritas but I would still have plenty of lime juice left. So, I replaced 1/4 cup of the orange juice with lime juice and also added 1/2 of a grapefruit in place of one of the oranges. Reflected in the recipe below is my variation, and you can refer to the Cooking Light link for a version with oranges & orange juice only.

I chose chicken thighs, because I had recently caught a sale, plus I already had some in the freezer. I used 4 boneless skinless thighs, and 2 skinless bone-on thighs. We really enjoy the juicy flavor of chicken thighs. I get a little tired of chicken breast all the time, so I really welcomed the change. You could easily use this marinade on chicken breasts, leg quarters, or any combination of your liking.

We found this marinade to be SUPER tasty. Ours marinated for approximately 3 hours. You could do it anywhere from 2 hours to overnight, whatever is most convenient to you. My only word of caution is, make sure you have a good blender or food processor for blending the marinade. If all you have is a $5 yard sale off-off-off brand “blender” with no lid, and just a paper plate in place of a lid, with slits cut in the top for ventilation, you *might* end up with hot marinade all over the place, crying tearful sobs of frustration. I’m not saying this from experience or anything… that’s just what I heard COULD happen. Or so I’ve heard.


Tequila Citrus Grilled Chicken

adapted from Cooking Light
serves 4


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
3 oranges, peeled and sliced
1/2 grapefruit, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 cup tequila
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

6-8 chicken thighs
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray


To prepare the marinade, heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 3 minutes. Add jalapeño peppers, oranges, and grapefruit; cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add juice; cook 2 minutes. Add tequila; cook 3 minutes. Add rosemary, cilantro, and vinegar; cook 1 minute.

Place marinade in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Discard solids. Reserve 1/2 cup marinade. Place remaining marinade in a large zip-top plastic bag.

To prepare the chicken, pierce with a fork. Add the chicken, chili powder, salt, and pepper to marinade in bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare grill.

Remove the chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place the chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cook 12 minutes on each side or until chicken is done, basting frequently with reserved marinade.

Calories: 324; Fat: 16.3g (sat 3.7g,mono 7.7g,poly 3.2g); Protein: 34.1g; Carbohydrate: 11.9g; Fiber: 2.4g; Cholesterol: 120mg; Iron: 0.4mg; Sodium: 324mg; Calcium: 29mg

And up next… You’ll find out about those delicious side items that will perfectly compliment the chicken.

Part 1 Guacamole for Two

Part 2 Tequila Citrus Grilled Chicken

Part 3 Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

Part 4 Black Beans with Lime

Part 5 Key Lime Meltaways

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