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Tequila Chicken and Potatoes
So Good You'll Want to Drink It!
I've always considered myself to be a decent cook. Pretty good, in fact. I blame my mother who taught me to challenge myself in the kitchen and not be afraid to try new things. I am creative with ingredients and can make something that works and tastes good most of the time. Admittedly I do have kitchen catastrophes, especially when I get in a hurry, and if it involves baking. Baking is a skill best left for my husband. Too his credit I give this recipe; not because he thought it up, but because from him I learned how to make do and make it work. He is intentional and driven in the kitchen by just the right amount of culinary insanity. Like a kamikaze he zeros in on his taste target and hits it.
Last night was one of those nights when I had very little to work with and even less time to get a satisfying meal on the table. My daughter kept asking what I was making. The only thing out was the chicken and potatoes. I really didn't know I told her, which wasn't a lie. I had no clue. I was making it up as I went along. But with divine inspiration dinner made it on time, dirtied a total of two pots, and was enjoyed without leftovers. That's success in my book.
I think you'll enjoy this recipe-on-the-fly both for its simplicity and unique quality. So grab a slice of lime and pour us both a shot of your favorite tequila and let's get down to the business of dinner at hand. Please note that the tequila I'm using I've chosen for its particular sipping quality and flavor notes. I am a firm believer that any alcohol you cook with should be something you would choose to drink. If it's bad on your palette, it will be just as bad in the pot. Don't ever think for a moment that no one will notice the taste of cheap alcohol hidden in a dish. Like a bad nose job, you just can't cover it over with makeup.
Tequila Chicken and Potatoes
1/2 C all-purpose flour
4 boneless chicken breasts skin removed; butterflied and pounded thin as for cutlets
8 small (about the size of a plum) red potatoes or Yukon Gold washed but with the peel left on
1 small red onion sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 packet Goya Sazon seasoning (if not available substitute 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt with a pinch of cumin added)
1 C chicken broth
Juice of 1 lemon combined with 1 T honey and 1/8-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add pepper according to your taste)
1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 C Tequila (I used Hacienda Vieja Reposado - it's widely available - got ours at Costco - and at under $30 for 1.75 L it won't break your budget. It boast a syrupy consistency with warm, caramel and oak flavor notes that I really liked. For sipping it goes down without the burn and lingers a bit with a pleasant follow-through. You can certainly use your favorite tequila, just make sure it isn't the lighter fluid variety.)
Before you begin, prepare potatoes as follows and have ready to add to the dish. Cut potatoes in half.To a large pot of boiling water, add the potatoes and cook until just tender but not overdone. Test for doneness with a fork. The fork should go in easily but the potato doesn't fall apart or separate from the skin. You want to keep the potatoes firm enough to cut without having them fall apart. For that reason, don't try to do this with bakers. They are too starchy and the skins don't hold up well in water. Remove from the water and slice into bite sized chunks. Set aside.
To butterfly chicken breasts, place your palm firmly on top of the chicken breast and with a very sharp fillet or long thin knife, slice horizontally through the chicken breast staying even with the cutting board. If the butterflied pieces are still a little thick for pounding out, take another slice through until your piece is a uniform 1/2 inch or less. Place the chicken under plastic wrap and use a meat pounder to pound each piece out very thin but without tearing it. Cut the flattened chicken piece in to palm size servings.
Season the pounded chicken breasts with Goya and dust with flour shaking off the excess.
Heat a large saute pan and add the 1/4 C of the olive oil until it ripples but doesn't smoke. To the pan add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions have softened and browned but not burned. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve for later. Add the remaining olive oil. Add a few pieces of chicken at a time without crowding and brown on each side. Remove pieces as done to a plate. When all the chicken has been cooked add back to the pan along with the onions and garlic. To the pan, add the lemon juice mixture and stir together. Juice will begin to thicken slightly. Add the tequila and bring it back up to a boil. At this point, add the chicken broth and potatoes and season with pepper. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce seems too thick or you need a little more, add a bit of chicken broth. Sauce will reduce down as it simmers. Check for salt at the end and season if necessary.
Serve with a simple salad and crusty bread on the side. I recommend a crisp Chardonnay to complement the warm oaky notes in the tequila. Or to keep the tequila flowing, serve with your favorite margarita, a shot of tequila and sangrita, or a refreshingTequila Spritzer.
To a tall glass filled with ice add
2 oz. Tequila
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Fill with club soda
Sir slightly and garnish with a slice of lime