I had a major uh-oh yesterday. I accidentally hit publish on a blog post that isn’t supposed to go live until next Thursday. So if you saw the half finished post, I apologize. Now do me a favor and erase those images and half written paragraphs from your mind until next week. Mmmm-kay? 😉
Other than that whoops, I’m fine… just sitting over here in the office at the SuBourbon Country Cottage thinking about how there is so much to love about summer.
The grilling, flowers, produce, fruit… the general and overall feeling this season brings. With so much to love, it’s a shame summer also has to bring heat and humidity.
Is it blazing hot yet where you are? It certainly is hotter than h-e-double-hockey-sticks here in N to the C… but, I’m trying to remind myself not to complain. Since we moved here from FL almost a year ago (<– time flies), I know it could be a lot hotter and the humidity much higher.
Back to summer.
I already declared my undying love for all of summer’s fruit, and cherries are one of my favorite. I wish their season was longer though and lasted the entirety of summer. But, since it doesn’t, I knew I absolutely had to bring you a dish that featured cherries while they were still ripe for the picking.
This dish is a savory spin on a classic summer cocktail, the Tequila Sunrise. And this dish also happens to be legitimately delicious, my friends. <– Or is that kind of obvious?
Chicken + Tequila + Cherries + Oranges = No brainer
The chicken itself is succulent and tender with notes of citrusy tropical flavors and a hint of tequila. And the cherry-orange salsa is fresh, sweet and tart with a touch of spicy heat. While both the salsa and chicken are absolutely scrumptious on their own, the salsa enhances and mimics the flavors of the marinade used for the chicken and together they really shine. The Notes:
- Disclaimer: I had every intention of showcasing this chicken grilled, but I opted to oven bake it for aesthetic purposes. The grill marks on the chicken with the salsa on top didn’t look as photogenic as the baked chicken. I have made this dish both ways, baked and grilled, and both taste delicious. I have included instructions for both methods in the recipe below.
- I didn’t quick brine my chicken because the marinade contains orange and lime juice which helps tenderize the chicken. I did, however, pound my chicken out to an even ¾’’ thickness to help it cook evenly and prevent it from drying out where the chicken was thinner. I highly recommend you do this. It takes 1 minute and really makes a difference where texture is concerned. Simply place the chicken in a large Ziploc bag and give it a few whacks with a mallet until an even thickness is achieved. Just make sure you don’t pound it out too thin, you aren’t looking to make cutlets. 😉
- The salsa can be made in advance, but as with most things, it tastes best when served the day it is made.
- I served this dish with tri-colored couscous, which is pictured.
Grilled or oven-baked, this Tequila Sunrise Chicken with Cherry-Orange Salsa is a delicious combination of sweet and savory. Make this your next summer meal, your taste buds will thank you. Until next week friends, cheers – to a wonderful Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
*While I totally think you should make this dish for your dad on Father’s Day, if you want something a little more “manly” I compiled a round-up last year of Dude Approved Food. Check it out here.
- 4 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts – lightly pounded to even thickness*
- ½ Cup Tequila
- ¾ Cup OJ
- ¼ Cup Lime Juice (about 2 limes)
- 2 TBS Cilantro, packed
- 2 Green Onions – roughly chopped
- 3 TBS Grenadine
- 1 Jalapeno*
- 2 Cloves of Garlic - peeled
- ½ tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper
- 1 Cup Cherries – stemmed, pitted and small dice (about 5-6 ounces)
- ½ Cup Oranges – peeled and small diced
- ⅓ Cup Red Onion – finely diced
- ½ small Jalapeno – stemmed, seeded and finely diced
- 1 heaping TBS Fresh Cilantro - minced
- ½ Lime – juice and zest
- ⅛ tsp Salt
- ⅓ Cup Honey
- 1 TBS Lime Juice
- For the Marinade: Place all ingredients, except chicken breast, in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until combined and well blended. Transfer marinade to a Ziploc bag and add in chicken. Seal and place in refrigerator overnight, turning often.
- For the Salsa: Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Mix Glaze: Mix together honey and lime juice in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat Oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a large baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Remove chicken from marinade and discard. Brush chicken lightly with oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place chicken breasts in baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken registers 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Remove chicken from oven and brush with glaze. Let chicken rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve chicken breasts with salsa and enjoy!
*For a mild salsa, remove seeds and ribs from jalapeno.
*Salsa can be made ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*To Grill Chicken:
1. Prepare Grill: Light one chimney full of charcoal and arrange on one side of grill. Cover and let grill preheat for at least 5 minutes. Clean and oil grates.
For gas grill – set half the burners to medium-high setting. Cover and preheat 10 minutes.
2. Grill Chicken: Remove chicken from marinade and discard. Brush chicken lightly with oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place chicken (skin removed side down) over the hot side of grill and cook until well browned, about 4-5 minutes. Flip over and continue to cook until chicken registers 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, brushing with glaze during last minute of cooking. If second side is browning before it registers 150 degrees, move chicken to cool side of grill, cover and let cook until chicken reaches proper temperature. Remove chicken breasts from grill and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
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