cuisine + culture + california

tequila glazed chicken

Alcohol’s role in gastronomy has been expanded upon relentlessly, almost to the point of exhaustion.  The barrage usually comes from two directions: pairing alcohol with food, and cooking food with alcohol.  The first is a highly complicated and ostentatious ritual that I would rather avoid for obvious reasons.  The second, however, is fascinating.

People have been cooking with alcohol for almost as long as they’ve been drinking it.  The French would like to take all the credit, of course, touting a variety of traditional wine-based dishes like coq au vin (rooster with wine) and beef bourguignon (beef Burgundy).  Recipes older than Napoleon himself.   The Italians come from a similar vein – no pasta sauce is complete without a generous splash of the house Chianti.  These are classic examples, obscenely depicted in thousands of Hollywood scenes and iconic Art Noveau wall printsJulia Child would probably turn in her grave if she heard me say that, but it’s true.  It all boils down to the fact that French and Italian cuisines still dominate global gastronomy.  What a shame.

I say that because there’s an entire culinary world out there that most people don’t know about.  They know the name, maybe the Americanized version, but not much else.  You won’t find a burrito in Mexico or chow mein in China (see: irony).  Cooking with alcohol is just one of many lenses for analyzing this cultural disparity – we know how to cook with wine, but tequila?  Yikes.  Japanese sake?  Double yikes.



It doesn’t have to be this way.  Modern chefs have already paved the way for the rest of us, and all we have to do is jump on the bandwagon.  So spill some beer on your next steak.  Bush some tequila on those lovely breasts of yours (chicken breasts, of course).  They say you should never regret drinking alcohol.  You should never regret cooking with it, either.

2 large chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp tequila
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp fresh ginger root, minced
2 tbsp honey
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chile powder
salt and pepper

Directions: Preheat grill to medium-high. Combine olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, and 2 tbsp tequila in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Rub the breasts (ha) with 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp chile powder, and some salt. Put the bowl in the fridge and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 cup tequila, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1 tsp ginger, 2 tbsp honey, and remaining 2 tbsp brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat to medium-high until the mixture boils, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes (until it thickens). Remove from heat. Take the chicken out of the fridge and throw it on the grill. Cook 3-5 minutes on each side, brushing with the glaze every minute or so. Serve with remaining glaze.


One comment on “tequila glazed chicken

  1. sarah kim
    July 19, 2012

    this looks amazing. and the use of alcohol with more dishes sounds intriguing. the only thing i ever used alcohol was for coq au vin..

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This entry was posted on July 10, 2012 by in FOOD, Mexico and tagged , , , , .

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