Friday, May 01, 2009

Pechuga a La Parilla

I've had this recipe for a long time. My notes say that it was by Mary Nell Reck in the Houston Post. The Houston Post closed down in 1995. I had the recipe for quite a while before it closed. I like the fresh tastes with a bit of a zing from the jalapenos. I have found that 1/2 of the following marinade recipe is plenty to marinate the chicken as well as have a teaspoon to sauce the top of each breast provided that you save some of the marinade before adding it to the raw chicken.

8 6-ounce chicken breast halves - finding small 6-ounce chicken breasts is difficult but it makes a difference in the outcome.
1 ½ teaspoons cumin
½ cup lime juice
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 ½ tablespoons salt
1 cup honey - I think this is too much honey. I add about 1/4 cup of honey.
2 tablespoons dried oregano ( 6 tablespoons fresh)
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 cup olive oil
2 jalapenos - sometimes I use 2 serranos.
3 cloves garlic
Garnish: Lime slices, cilantro springs or watercress sprigs

The same marinade may be used for shrimp, pork chops, even quail.

Combine the ingredients for the marinade: cumin, fresh lime juice, cayenne, salt, honey, oregano and olive oil. Rinse and pat dry the cilantro. Coarsely chop the leaves until you have three tablespoons. Split the jalapenos. Remove and discard the seeds and veins. Cut into thin juliene strips, then very finely dice. Peel, crush and very finely chop the garlic. Crushing extracts all the rich flavors which lie between the layers therefore diffusing the flavors thoughout the marinade. Add the cilantro and garlic to the marinade. Place the chicken in the marinade turning to cover on all sides. Marinate at least one hour or overnight. Because the olive oil tends to congeal a bit in the refrigerator, I like to take the breasts out of the marinade about 15-30 minutes before cooking and let them drain of excess oil.

If you are into smoking on the grill, soak three or four pieces of mesquite, pecan, cedar or other hard, flavorful wood in water for half an hour. Close to serving time, place the wet wood on top of the smoldering coals to create an abundant, flavorful smoke. Personally, we just grill the marinated chicken breast until well-marked on both sides and moderately firm to the touch. Transfer to a serving platter.

I like to use a large platter and surround the chicken breasts with grilled veggies; zucchini, red onion, asparagus and red and yellow bell peppers. In other words, any fresh veggies that look good in the market that day. I usually cook the veggies first because they are fine when served at room temperature. Garnish the platter with lime slices and cilantro sprigs. Add a bowl of black beans garnished with ranchero cheese and you have a great, healthy, fresh tasting buffet dinner. Serves eight.

Update: Date of the Houston Post closing has been corrected.


Steve Cotton said...

I printed it off. Darrel and I may give it a try before he returns to the States.

Billie said...

If you do, I hope you enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

I moved to Houston in 1988 and the Post was still alive at that time. It's been gone a long time, but not quite that long.


Billie said...

Leigh, Here was my reference.
It says that the original Post stopped in 1984 but then they had some kind of thing with the Chronicle for a while before it was officially done away with. I have reason to believe that the recipe was from the original Post.

Billie said...

Whoops, Leigh. You are right. I need to wear my glasses. I scanned the article and read 1884 as 1984. But I still think that I got the recipe from the Post in early 1980's. My apologies.