Monday, September 5, 2011

Cilantro Chicken and Potatoes

I love lemons.  I love cilantro because it tastes like lemons, but it looks fresh and green.  I love chicken because it’s so versatile–and because it goes so well with lemons.  Add some potatoes, which have the advantage of being a gluten-free starch, and you have this evening’s dinner:  Cilantro Chicken and Potatoes.

This is one of the rare Foodie recipes that actually requires a small amount of forethought:  the chicken needs to have a good four hours of swimming in the luscious lemon and cilantro marinade in order to be tender after baking.  More than four hours won’t hurt a thing, so feel free to place your marinating chicken in the refrigerator the night before you plan to bake it.  Or, make the marinade before you leave for work and plop the chicken in it–you’ll be ready to cook as soon as you come home.  Or make it at noon, if it’s a day when you’re going to be at home, and let the chicken soak until dinnertime.

You’ll need about four cups of diced, cooked potatoes–the time they’ll spend in the oven will be devoted only to crisping up and getting to know the flavors of the chicken.  You can peel and dice three medium-size potatoes and let them steam in the microwave for five minutes or so, or you can take the easy road, as I did this evening, and begin with something like Simply Potatoes brand Diced Potatoes and Onions.  That will save you the time (and heat) of peeling, boiling, and dicing potatoes.  There’s no shame in taking a shortcut now and then, especially when it leads you to a dinner this simple and tasty.

Both the chicken and the potatoes were a big hit with The Girl and The Hubs.  Mr. Picky took a bite and said “It tastes like lemons.”  I explained that was because of the lemon juice and cilantro.  “I guess that explains it,” he said, and grudgingly made his way through most of his plate.  The Girl, on the other hand, kept telling me how much she was enjoying her dinner.  I’m always pleased when I come up with something that at least one person loves–and especially when it’s something Mr. Picky can manage to eat.


Cilantro Chicken and Potatoes


2 large chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 bunch cilantro
White wine (I used pinot gris)
4 cups cooked, diced potatoes
1 small onion, diced
Garlic powder


Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts. Place them in a plastic bag with a zippered top. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and half the bunch of cilantro, finely chopped. Fill the bag with just enough wine to cover the chicken. Zip it shut and squeeze to mix all the marinade ingredients. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least four hours. (If you're home while the chicken is marinating, flip and squeeze the bag every now and then. If you aren't, don't worry about it.)

When you're ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Toss the potatoes and onions with the rest of cilantro, finely chopped, then add this mixture to the pan. Spray the tops of the potatoes with cooking spray. Take the chicken out of the marinade, cut each chicken breast into two pieces, and arrange the chicken over the potatoes. Sprinkle the chicken and potatoes with garlic powder and salt.

Bake for 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. The potatoes will be crispy on the bottom and soft on the top.


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