This all started with a work project. Part of my beer and wine schlepping job is to create some fun demos, and since I love to cook and play with ingredients, this is the result. Inspired by a dinner at a local Mexican restaurant 20 years ago, it dawned on me to marinate the chicken in the margarita mix. I rarely use chicken breasts, but when I do, a brine or marinade is always a part of the process. So after some thought and of course, past inspiration, this dish was created. Although there is a long list of ingredients, it’s a very simple recipe with three basic steps – brine, rub and cook. When the final product was plated, my expectations were exceeded. There is beautiful balance of sweet, salt and acid, along with a touch of heat from the olives. Although it’s not in the recipe, I added a simple sauce of sour cream, lime juice and lime zest to add a little more interest moisture and another level of flavor. It’s something I make often for tacos, fajitas and enchiladas.
Along with the chicken, I made Hot and Dirty Rice and Beans with the margarita mix. This is the bed of the dish. Again, with the sweet from the margarita mix and the heat from the olives, it’s a great compliment and side dish for the chicken. And to finish the plate, a very simple salad made with Hot Guacamole on a bed of chopped romaine and topped with fresh diced tomatoes. It was yummy!
Mexican food and Tex-Mex has been somewhat intimidating for me. With the complicated moles and other ingredients and techniques, I didn’t feel great about trying anything more difficult than good old tacos. But with the constant exposure to this great cuisine, it has become more approachable and much more fun to experiment and try to recreate some of my restaurant favorites. A great resource is