This Key West-Style Chicken is easy enough for a weeknight meal but is also perfect for entertaining, too. Cook it in a skillet, or throw it on the grill, the tropical flavors of the Conch Republic will have you dreaming of crystal blue waters, palm trees, and white sand beaches.
True story – my husband and I eloped on a boat in the Florida Keys, where we were married by the boat captain. There were manatees all around, the captain blew a conch shell during the ceremony, and the wedding music was courtesy of a Jimmy Buffet CD. Not your typical wedding, to be sure, but it was perfect for us. I grew up in the northern Appalachians, and we now live in the southern Appalachians, but I married a Florida guy, and as a result, spent a number of years living in South Florida. It took me some time to adjust to life on the coast, but now I totally consider it one of my adopted homes.
This chicken recipe brings me right back to the Florida Keys (have I mentioned the Keys are one of my favorite places in the world?) My husband and I have spent lots of time in the Keys, eating at lots of different restaurants. To me, Key West-style cooking is a fusion of different cuisines (particularly Caribbean.) In this easy recipe, the sour orange flavors of Cuban mojo, and the famous jerk flavors of Jamaica are combined to make a tangy, sweet and spicy tropical marinade.
Use this to marinate chicken thighs or boneless, skinless chicken breasts – whatever your preference. You can cook the marinated chicken in a pan, or put it on the grill for even more flavor. One batch of this marinade is good for about 2 pounds of chicken, but go ahead and adjust it for whatever amount of chicken you are making. Because this recipe is so flavorful, I find it only needs to marinate for a few hours before cooking (marinate it for more than a few hours, and the citrus juices may change the texture of the chicken).
So go ahead and stream your favorite beach music while you prepare this, and I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!
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- 1 large orange
- 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 jalapeno, minced (for less heat, leave out the seeds)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 pounds of chicken (any chicken pieces of choice)
- Combine all of the ingredients in a glass bowl, or a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 2-3 hours. When ready to cook, remove from the fridge and allow chicken to warm up for a few minutes. Cook chicken on the grill, saute on the stove top, or use your favorite method for cooking chicken.
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