Sunday, April 29, 2007

Festeja Adelante, Wayne

Growing up in Michigan, I did not spend a lot of time in Mexican restaurants. There was Carlos Murphy's, the Irish-Mexican place (yes, you read that right) on the other side of town, but I think I usually got the ribs there (barbecue being a staple of both Irish and Mexican cuisine). These days, I live in a town with almost as many Mexican restaurants as churches (stay tuned for our follow-up visit to Fiesta Grille), and thanks to a preponderance of good ingredients, I spend a lot of time cooking dishes that are, at the very least, Mexican-inspired. This week's recipe, despite my cilantro-deprived childhood, has been a family favorite, courtesy of my Aunt Muggs, for almost two decades. Of the things I miss about my youth (besides youth itself), our family "fajita nights" are high on the list.

Mexi-Marinated Lime Chicken

2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime's worth)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel
1 cup medium salsa (I actually prefer Pace Picante, which is not, strictly speaking, salsa, but that's a post for another time)
2 chicken breasts, halved and skinned
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup medium-hot taco sauce

Combine first four ingredients to form the marinade. Marinate the chicken at least 35 minutes (preferably a few hours; this is the sort of thing you can do in the morning if you're planning to make the chicken that evening. Marinating overnight is overkill, but it won't hurt anything).
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat (if you're using an electric skillet, 350 degrees). Remove the chicken from the marinade (do not throw out the marinade!) and cook 5-8 minutes, turning, until golden on both sides. Add the marinade and taco sauce to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium low (250 degrees) and cook, covered, for an additional ten minutes.
Remove the chicken from the skillet and shred into bite-size pieces. Return the chicken to the skillet and stir until coated. Serve with warmed tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, grated cheese, etc.

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