This is perhaps one of The Goddess’s favorite recipes. She could live on this. Originally she marinated whole chickens, then she grilled them over indirect heat. It doesn’t get much better than that. The original recipe came from “The Foods and Wines of Spain”, which was penned by the late Penelope Casas back in the 1980’s. This is a wonderful book. There are no unusable recipes in the that book; this is one of the best. It’s excellent served with Green Beans with Garlic, also from that book. Her book, “Tapas”, was ground-breaking at the time. No one outside of Spain knew about tapas back then. And now, there are tapas bars everywhere. And that’s a good thing. That’s a very good thing. Sadly, she has left this world, but she has left behind a rich and delicious legacy.
Since that book is packed away, I am relying on memory and we know what The Goddess has for memory, don’t we? This could have been ugly, but this is a food memory and The Goddess does okay with those.
Normally, we marinate the chicken overnight in a mixture of cumin, garlic, lime juice and honey. But, alas, we didn’t plan ahead, so this was done on the fly. Last minute. This was delicious (note the past tense there!), but I found I needed the great amounts of ingredients, and the flavor while truly delicious, was not quite as complex. You’re going to need to get your hands in there and work the seasonings into the meat. Also, this is roasted in a very hot oven, 425°F. This is how I roast chicken these days. If you plan ahead, and you will because you’re much more organized than The Goddess, then by all means marinate the chicken overnight. Then, this is easy to prepare mid-week and will have more depth of flavor.
You’ll want to roast this until the internal temperature is 165°F. It will continue to cook after you remove the pan from the oven and will reach 170°F, which is where you want it. These boobies were quite large, so the cooking time will be reduced if you use small pieces. That’s where a good instant read thermometer comes in handy. They come in all sorts of varieties, so choose which works best for you. The price varies, depending on the style you choose. So, let’s get on with it!
Cumin-Garlic-Lime Chicken with Honey
- 4 large chicken breasts, bone-in and skin on (see NOTE)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, put through a press (about 10-12 cloves)
- 2-3 teaspoons ground cumin (I toast the cumin seeds before grinding)
- Juice of 2 limes (about 4-8 tablespoons)
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- Sea salt (slightly on the coarse side-use plenty)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the chicken in a large bowl; add the ingredients, except the salt and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the chicken, make certain to get it everywhere. (Make ahead: You can toss everything in a freezer bag and refrigerate overnight.) Place the breasts, skin-side-up on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the salt over the chicken, holding your hand at least 16 inches above the pan.
Place the chicken in the oven; roast for 35-40 minutes for large breasts, 30-35 minutes for smaller breasts. Remove from the oven; let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. In Spain, the would probably be served with simple roasted potatoes and green beans, with some good bread and some red wine.
NOTE: You may use bone-in, skin-on thighs or whole chickens (about 4-4 1/2 pounds) for this. Just adapt the cooking time. Grilling the whole chicken over indirect heat is a wonderful way to prepare this, but it is equally delicious done in the oven. Use the lesser amounts given when marinating overnight.
Cumin-Garlic-Lime Chicken with Honey adapted from “The Foods and Wine of Spain” by Penelope Casas.
Whole chickens, marinated overnight in the mixture, then grilled over indirect heat is superb. But, there’s no gas in tank and there is an oven, so I decided to oven roast the boobies. They are still delicious.
Make extra, as the leftovers are terrific on sandwiches and it makes divine chicken salad. After letting the chicken rest for about 10 minutes, I slice the meat off of the bones. You’ll be able to serve more people if you do this.
I serve the chicken with simple roasted potatoes (though I think the Spicy Sichuan Roasted Potatoes would rock with this!!) and Penelope Casas’s recipe for Green Beans with Garlic (I’ll post that later, as I have no pictures), which is surprisingly simple and truly delicious. But, however you make this chicken, you’ll make it over and over and over. You might want to serve this with some lime wedges and some terrific Spanish red wine. Isn’t summer wonderful?