Give it a shot: tequila chicken really gets the barbecue going

Recipe: Tequila and lime chicken with jalapeno yogurt is a winner with all the family

Tequila and lime chicken with jalapeño yogurt

Tequila and lime chicken with jalapeño yogurt

 

We’ve used the barbecue almost every day over the past few weeks. The oven in our kitchen has been made redundant in favour of outdoor cooking – flames licking the grill, smouldering coals and evocative wafts of smoke in the air that promise dinner is on its way. I’ve got into the habit of marinating meat or vegetables early in the morning, then just firing up the barbecue to cook in the evening.

Whole aubergines, peppers and red onions are incredibly delicious cooked low and slow on the barbecue. Simply roast the vegetables – peel and roughly chop them before dressing with olive oil, vinegar and plenty of parsley and mint. Chicken is always a sure bet. I’ve been marinating chicken in yogurt-based sauces, dry spices, citrus juice or herbs. All sorts of things have been added to my marinades, and one of the most delicious is this tequila-and-lime accompaniment for chicken.

It was only a matter of time before I added tequila. I had a full bottle at the back of the drinks cupboard – it’s not something we use regularly. Tequila is made from the blue agave plant – agave also gives us agave nectar. The nectar was hailed as a superfood about five years ago, even though it’s sweeter than sugar. The product we see in health shops is so processed it’s more like high-fructose corn syrup – and has a similar effect on our bodies. While it ranks low on the glycaemic index, it is alarmingly high in fructose, which can put major stress on your liver and cause weight gain when eaten in high doses. I think blue agave is better off being made into tequila and being enjoyed rather than masquerading as a health food.

The alcohol in the tequila is burnt off on the high heat of the barbecue, so the marinade is fine for all the family. It gives fantastic flavour and, paired with the fresh lime juice, makes for incredibly tender chicken. I’m using so many lemons and limes this time of year. They give everything an extra burst of life. The jalapeno yogurt will keep in the fridge for up to a week and is great on tacos, drizzled over salads or in warm pita bread with falafel.

TEQUILA AND LIME CHICKEN WITH JALAPENO YOGURT

Serves 6 

Ingredients
For the marinade
10g coriander, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 2 limes
½tsp cumin
1tsp sugar
1tsp salt
½tsp black pepper
50ml tequila
70ml olive oil

For the yogurt
1tbsp jalapenos, chopped
250ml yogurt
juice of ½ lime
pinch of salt
pinch of ground cumin
10g coriander, very finely chopped
4 free-range chicken breasts

To serve
6 soft wraps
salad leaves
1 ripe avocado, sliced

Method 

First make the marinade. Place all of the marinade ingredients into a lidded container or ziplock bag. Lay the chicken breasts on a board, put your palm flat on top and slice the chicken horizontally, to butterfly it open. Cut into four large, flat pieces. Place all of the chicken in the bag and leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes, or overnight if possible.

Mix all of the jalapeno-yogurt ingredients together until smooth. Place in the fridge to keep cold.

Cook the chicken on a preheated barbecue or grill, turning once or twice, until thoroughly cooked.

Serve with warm wraps, sliced avocado, salad leaves and the jalapeno yogurt.

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