Tangy Pepper-Lime Chicken

My “Tangy Pepper-Lime Chicken” is delicious! I found the original recipe, “Pepper-Lime Chicken,” in the Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook (1989 edition) that my mom gave me for my sophomore year of college when I first lived in an apartment. I’ve been making it ever since and while adhering mostly to the recipe, have found a way to make it even more deliciously tangily limey.

The original recipe has you broil chicken and then start brushing it with a lime glaze as it cooks. This is very tasty and works well if you don’t have time to marinate it beforehand, or forgot. For a more intense flavor though, marinating overnight makes a big difference. And then a few years ago when I got a vacuum sealer machine for food, I found that marinating the chicken in the vacuum-sealed marinating dish is even better–you can get a really great flavor in just 20 minutes (way more flavor than if you just marinated it in a bowl for 20 minutes). Now I put the chicken in the vacuum marinating dish the night before, and then, while I’m broiling the chicken, I put the marinade in a pan on the stove and reduce it to a syrupy glaze and use that to brush the chicken in the last several minutes of broiling. Those two steps give it a super POW of flavor. 🙂

So you can do whichever you have the time and equipment for and it will be yummy. Here’s the recipe…

Tangy Pepper-Lime Chicken

Adapted from Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook, 1989

Ingredients

  • 2-2 1/2 pounds chicken legs and thighs (preferably pastured)
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded lime zest (preferably organic)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (preferably organic)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably organic)
  • 6 cloves, garlic (preferably organic), crushed
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper (preferably non-irradiated)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme, crushed (preferably non-irradiated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (preferably Celtic)

Directions

No-Marinate Version (Short on time or forgot):

  • Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry.
  • Place the chicken pieces, skin side down, on a broiler pan and position the pan about 4-5 inches from the heat.
  • Broil on high about 20 minutes or till lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, make the lime glaze by combining the lime peel, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, thyme, and sea salt in a bowl.
  • Brush this glaze on the chicken, turn all the pieces over and brush with more glaze.
  • Broil another 5-15 minutes, brushing with more glaze occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink inside; juices are clear)

Marinated Version (You have more time)

  • Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry.
  • Make the lime glaze by combining the lime peel, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, thyme, and sea salt in a bowl.
  • Put the chicken pieces in the bowl with the glaze (or in a vacuum-seal marinating dish and seal).
  • Put the dish in the fridge to marinate as long as you have time for–half an hour, all day, overnight, whatever.
  • When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the glaze (reserving the glaze) and place the pieces, skin side down, on a broiler pan and position the pan about 4-5 inches from the heat.
  • Broil on high about 20 minutes or till lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, put the reserved glaze in a saute pan on the stove and heat to simmering, reducing the liquid. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on it. You want to reduce the liquid by about half. It may not take the whole 20 minutes while the chicken is first broiling; if it’s ready just turn off the heat.
  • Brush the reduced glaze on the chicken, turn all the pieces over and brush with more glaze.
  • Broil another 5-15 minutes, brushing with more glaze occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink inside; juices are clear).

Makes about 6 servings. Good cold or reheated if you have leftovers.

Tips

Whether marinating or not, do keep an eye on your chicken, especially near the end because the glaze can be prone to burning–make sure you don’t have the rack positioned too close to the broiler element. If it’s getting blackened you’ll want to lower the rack or broil on low until the chicken is done.

You can also grill the chicken instead of broiling it. As above, rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Prepare the glaze as directed. Marinate the chicken in the glaze if you have time. When ready to grill, you want to grill the meat over medium coals so you’ll need to let them burn down a little so you don’t burn the chicken. Put the chicken skin side down on an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 20 minutes. Brush with glaze, turn pieces, brush with more glaze, and continue grilling for another 15-25 minutes, brushing with more glaze occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink inside; juices are clear).

I like a lot of lime zest in this dish, more than the original recipe called for.

The marinade is ready for the chicken.

Chicken marinating in a Food Saver brand marinating dish that’s vacuum sealed. Reduces by quite a bit the time needed to really infuse the flavors.

We had it with broccoli (creamy dipping sauce on the side), buttered corn, and glazed beets.

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