Garlic-Ginger Chicken with Cilantro and Mint

Both the marinade and the cooking method (low and slow-ish) for this dish are ideal for me. And the result is fantastic: lightly charred, spicy, slightly funky, juicy chicken that is equally wonderful by itself, rolled up taco-style, or served with a fluffy rice dish.

Bon Appétit! Chef Bettina
*Bettina Tolin is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin Texas. She has cooked in the kitchens of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, Florida. She is currently the Executive Chef and owner of Marcello’s overlooking the historic lighthouse in Port Isabel, Texas. Marcello’s Ocean Grille & Spirits was recently written up in Texas Monthly magazine as the new trending restaurant for dinner and brunch in the South Padre Island area.

Garlic-Ginger Chicken with Cilantro and Mint

8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cayenne powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Make the marinade: Add the garlic, ginger, mint, cilantro, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons oil to a large re-sealable bag. Seal the bag and massage to combine the ingredients into a paste. Add the coriander, turmeric, red cayenne powder and salt, and seal the bag. Shake or massage to combine.

Place the chicken breasts in the marinade and seal the bag tightly. Use your hands to gently massage the marinade onto the chicken breasts until each breast is coated. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Warm a large lidded sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is quite hot, add the oil. Reduce the heat to medium, remove the chicken from the marinade and gently shake to remove any excess marinade. Add chicken to the pan, cook the breasts, undisturbed, until lightly golden underneath, 1 to 2 minutes, then flip them and cook until lightly golden on the second side, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook the chicken for 10 additional minutes without removing the lid. Remove the pan from the heat and let the chicken sit, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the breasts. Don’t lift the lid, or you’ll release the hot steam that finishes cooking the chicken.

Check to make sure the breasts are cooked through: There shouldn’t be any pink in the middle. Or If you have a meat thermometer, the chicken should register at least 165 degrees in the thickest portion. Place the chicken on a cutting board, and slice each breast into strips. Garnish with fresh mint and cilantro. This dish is best enjoyed casually in a warm tortilla or over some fluffy rice.