Truth: Every once in a while, I dream about having fantastic dinner parties. The kind with figs and goat cheese, beef bourguignon, and molten chocolate cake for dessert. With bottles of French wine and white tapers and fabulous flowers scattered around the table.
Truth: I don’t have a table in my apartment, making this dream somewhat impossible. I DO however have Kroger’s finest bottle of $9 wine. And a candle from Bath and Body Works that, unfortunately, occasionally smells like Abercrombie. It’s up for debate.
Truth: If I DID have a dinner party. I’d probably serve this chicken. It’s fancy Mexican food. It even has a separately made sauce which instantly makes something fancy. I probably wouldn’t call it “Chimi-Chicken” on the fancy menus I’d print out. It’d say something like, “Infusion of Smoked Paprika Blackened Chicken, Nested in a River of Chimichurri.”
Sounds pretty delish, huh? After a quick 20 minute marinade with ingredients you likely have in your pantry, you’re well on your way to enjoying this dinner. Not to mention, leftovers are awesome – Throw on a salad! Throw in a quesadilla! Eat out of the tupperware with the fridge open!
The first trick to this chicken is getting a good sear on it – whether that’s on a grill or in a sauté pan is up to you. One of my best post-college purchases was this amazing grill pan. It has come in handy for my 6,000 grill-less apartments. It has set off the smoke alarm in 5,999 of those apartments. BUT it lets you get those grill marks on your burgers in the middle of a level 3 snow emergency during the winter. AND it’s completely affordable. \
The second trick to this chicken is to NOT skip the sauce! You may be one of those people who say, “Ick, cilantro tastes like soap.” If so, I apologize. You’re missing out. When I tried this sauce for the first time (a month ago), I was shocked I hadn’t bothered to make it before – I’ve have made it weekly since then. Plus, any excuse to wake up the neighbors with the food processor is always a good time.
You may be asking me, “Hey, Maddy, what the heck am I supposed to do with all these extra herbs?” I’ve got the answer!
HERB SECRET: Trim the bottom off your leafy herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint, etc.). Throw them stem down in a cup or jar with an inch or two of water. Cover the leafy tops with a sandwich bag and wrap a rubberband around the cup. They SHOULD last up to 2 weeks in your fridge – certainly much longer than in the bag from the store. Check out the pictures below for guidance. One of many uses for my trusty mason jars!
So next time you have guests and want an easy, wow-worthy recipe, give this a try! Or make a batch in the beginning of the week and eat “gourmet” lunches. Good luck!
- 1.5 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice from ½ a lime
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you love heat!)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1.5 teaspoon cumin
- 1.5 teaspoon sugar
- 1.5 teaspoon spanish smoked paprika
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 cups fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 serrano pepper, seeds removed
- Put all marinade ingredients with the chicken in a big ziplock bag or a covered bowl. Coat chicken thoroughly and let sit in fridge for 20 minutes.
- While chicken is marinating, put chimichurri ingredients in a food processor. You may need to do this in a few batches depending on how large your food processor is.
- Grill chicken until well done - juices will run clear and a meat thermometer will read 165 degrees. If a grill isn't accessible, sear in a sauté pan and finish cooking in the oven at 350 degrees. This will likely take around 20 minutes, but may take longer if your chicken breasts are thick.
- Let chicken sit for 5 minutes and then slice. Top with chimichurri sauce and enjoy!