Sunday, July 14, 2013

Chipotle Lime Grilled Chicken

Last week I was feeling inspired by our gorgeous Vancouver weather to prepare chicken outside on the grill. Up until that point my experience with the grill was limited and consisted of about three sporadic attempts made over the last two years. However after watching so many shows on TV promising me that grilling is actually quite easy, and seeing a family friend grill with no problems I decided to give it a go.

Well let me just say that grilling may come easily to all of those people but it surely doesn't for me. I think the problem was that I didn't know how to properly position the chicken pieces on the grill and while some turned out fine, others stuck to the grates and in the process of flipping the pieces I managed to rip them to shreds. There was also the problem that some became overcooked and dry while others were moist and juicy.

My saving grace became the chimichurri sauce I prepared to spoon on top. It was quite strong tasting, composed of cilantro, parsley, red chili flakes, and garlic, and managed to mask some of the drier pieces. The marinade itself also tasted good, at least on the juicy pieces that weren't overcooked, and had a pleasant balance between the smokey chipotle and fresh lime juice. In the future, I think I may just pan-fry or bake the chicken rather than grill it...or find someone who knows how to use the grill better than me.

Chipotle Lime Grilled Chicken
Note: Due to my lack of grilling experience, I adapted the recipe for chicken skewers as those seemed to turn out better than directly grilling the chicken.
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 15 thighs, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 2 limes, juiced and zested
  • 2 tbsp Frank's Red Hot Chile 'n Lime sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chipotle sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
For the chimichurri sauce:
Note: This sauce is very versatile and can be served alongside steak, chicken, or fish.
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • ½ bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • ¼-½ tsp red chili flakes
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  1. Combine the yogurt/sour cream, lime juice and zest, hot sauce, chipotle sauce, and salt and mix well to create the marinade.
  2. Add the chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, though preferably overnight to allow the chicken to absorb more flavor.
  3. Once ready to grill, skewer the chicken pieces onto slightly damp bamboo skewers. Place chicken on pre-heated grill over medium-high heat. Make sure to leave some space between the skewers so as not to overcrowd the chicken. Grill for about 15-20 minutes, making sure to rotate the skewers so that all sides are consistently cooked. The chicken will be done once no longer pink inside or the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the chimichurri sauce in a food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust to taste with salt and pepper.

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