I have no problem pretending that some days of the week are food holidays as an excuse to make celebratory food. Life is short. I don’t need rules that say it can’t be, just like Super Bowl Sunday or St. Patrick’s Day.
In fact, I declare a Cinco de Mayo again today so that you can make an excuse to prepare Tequila Lime Chicken with Homemade Pico de Gallo and Fresh Guacamole. Grab a cold Tecate and your sombrero because you have some serious kitchen cooking to do.
This grilled chicken dinner is multi-step but worth every moment. Have you ever purchased store-bought guacamole or tried to find pico de gallo at a grocery store’s salad bar? The guacamole tastes artificial and has a mushy texture, and the salad bar pico de gallo is incredibly watery. Fresh is best, so don’t hesitate to make homemade guacamole and pico de gallo because the freshness of each one elevates the flavor of this dish.
First, prepare the pico de gallo in advance. Combine equal amounts of diced tomato, white onion, cilantro, and one seeded jalapeno. (Leave the seeds and pulp inside the jalapeno if you prefer more heat.) Once mixed, squeeze half of a lime into the bowl and mix again to incorporate the juice well.
Now, let’s make fresh guacamole. Learn how to pick out the perfect avocado here.
Take your knife around the outside of each avocado and carefully remove the pit of each one. There’s a new trend called Avocado Hand. Don’t let it happen to you. Be careful! Use a knife to carefully make a circle around the outside of the avocado, and then cut each half into diced squares so you can scoop the avocado meat out with a spoon into the bowl. Once you’ve added the avocado to the large bowl, add enough of the pico de gallo to the bowl and mix it gently so you leave it chunky.
Cover the guacamole bowl with plastic wrap and press the plastic against the guacamole to form a tight seal. This method, and the lime juice in the guacamole, will keep it from browning too dark, and it will keep for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Finally, let’s tackle the main entree Tequila Lime Chicken. Full disclosure here: this is not my recipe but instead Ree Drummond’s (Pioneer Woman’s) recipe. Her recipe requires you to use a food processor to prepare a creamy tequila-based marinade and pour it into a Ziplock bag and then refrigerate it for several hours. You could also use a blender in a pinch.
The alcohol will cook out of the marinade once the chicken is grilled, but the flavor will linger. Later, you’ll remove the chicken from the bag and grill it over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Remove the chicken from the grill and allow it to rest a couple of minutes before serving it topped with sprinkled taco cheese, guacamole, pico de Gallo, and a sprig of fresh cilantro. Crumble tortilla chips in your hand add sprinkle them on top for added crunch. Don’t forget a wedge of lime on the side to squeeze on top of the entire plate!
Optional sides could include warmed black beans and Mexican rice with folded flour tortillas. Use some of that extra tequila to make my recipe for Grilled Pineapple and Peach Tequila Cocktail.
Mexican food is one of the best culinary experiences that people can have. -Karla Souza
Let me know your thoughts on these recipes in the comments section below. Happy Cinco de Mayo. Again.