Thursday, June 6, 2013

Getting My Cilantro On and Turning Chicken Green!

Summer is here in Vegas!  It is definitely hot out there!  That means it's time to rev up the grill and pull out the Crock-Pot a little more.  I don't know why, by summer always makes me want to eat Mexican foods a little more too.  Maybe it's because now you can get all those peppers and citrus and herbs so much fresher.  I can almost smell them all right now!  Yum! 
Cilantro is one of those herbs that I didn't really grow up eating or cooking with at all.  Unless it came in the salsa we bought, that was about it.  I love the smell of it, I'm figuring out how I like to cook with it now.  I've tried 2 different marinades and ways of cooking chicken using cilantro based marinades.  The first is a marinade for grilled chicken that I adapted from The Yummy Life and the second is a Crock-Pot recipe for a whole chicken from Paleo Pot.  For us I think the grilled chicken was the big winner.  Even after my hubby charred our chicken, the flavor was amazing and it was still juicy and tender.  The Crock-Pot chicken was good, but in my error, I didn't see that it needed to marinade overnight before going into the pot to cook.  The chicken was tender and moist and good, but the flavor wasn't as big as I was hoping for.  BUT!  I'm going to make Tacos today with the leftover chicken from it and I think it's going to be killer! 

Cilantro Marinaded Grilled Chicken
(Adapted from The Yummy Life's Thai Herb Chicken)
The marinade was about the same color as my Tupperware
marinade!  Freaked my hubby out!  LoL

In the blender combine:
a large handful of cilantro, stems removed
3 garlic cloves
2 slices fresh ginger, peeled and about 1/8" thick
3/4 cup coconut milk
juice from 1 lime
2 T honey
salt and pepper
Once blended together pour over 3-5 chicken breasts.  Cover and marinade in refrigerator 2-24 hours.
Grill over medium heat until cooked through and juices run clear.

Chili Cilantro Lime Crock-Pot Whole Chicken
(from Paleo Pot)

  • One 6 pounds whole chicken for a 6 quart slow cooker.
  • Dry rub (black pepper, sea salt, chili powder, cayenne powder, ground cumin). (I used about a teaspoon each of each)
  • 1/2 cup of lime juice (about 2 limes).
  • 1 extra whole lime for stuffing inside your chicken (yes that makes 3 limes total).
  • 2 generous handfuls of fresh cilantro.
  • 3 cloves of garlic.
  • 1 T olive oil.
    1. Wash your chicken off under cold tap water and then dry with paper towels.
    2. Dust your chicken with salt & pepper, and apply an even coating of chili powder, cayenne, and cumin to your taste. There is no magic amount or formula to use, yet do try to cover the whole bird with some spice. This also helps give the golden brown color you see in the picture.
    3. In a blender or food processor, combine your lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and olive oil. Pulse until an even consistency is reached.
    4. Take your extra lime and poke lots of holes into it with a fork. Now dust this lime with chili powder and stick it into the cavity of your chicken.
    5. Find a ziplock bag or crock pot liner large enough to hold your whole bird. Place your bird in the bag and pour your wet marinade over it. Use your hands to make sure the marinade is applied evenly around the chicken and under the skin, this is the important part. You can puncture the chicken breasts a few times with a knife for the marinade to seep into, yet this is not necessary. Making sure you get the marinade well applied and under the skin will do the trick.
    6. Seal your bag tight so that the marinade is making contact with the chicken all over. I used a crock pot liner bag which I pulled tight around the chicken and marinade, and then stuffed that into another large ziplock bag.
    7. Let your chicken marinade overnight. I know, you have to wait, but the morning will be true dump-and-go style cooking.
    8. Place your chicken in your Crock-Pot along with any marinade left over in your bag.
    9. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. I would recommend closer to 6.
    So, which one did you like more??

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