Friday, October 26, 2012

Swedish Taco Night Fridays: Tequila Chicken

Well here are the ingredients for Sweden
Obviously the chicken is the most important. The are a couple of brand names here. Clearly Bröstfile (breast file) are the most sought after and expensive of the chicken parts. You can purchase high end priced Guldfågeln as seen in the photo above right.
Or you can go for the cheapy brand label called Euro-Shopper which is sort of a spooky looking generic brand from the mainland continent I assume. And who knows what or where it comes from. I get a feeling of  Industrial Ag when I see it. Oh well, the Tequila marinate corrects any of the Industrial Ag health issues anyway right ? Just kidding! - *smile*

Next there is the Tequila for the main marinate. We had friends bring over this past July for us a bottle of Tequila. What we didn't expect was two bottles of X-Large El Jimador 100% Puro Agave. This is the sipping Tequila for those special occasions. Like slamming down shots followed by Budweiser ? Kidding! But seriously, the reason the pure 100% Agave is so expensive is that there is only so much actually agave growing plantations in all the world. Hence the cheaper versions which are watered down with common grain alcohol. I'm guessing something like Vodka is neutral.
But I'd rather use Jose Quervo or another cheaper brand and quality as opposed to the expensive. Even though most Tequila brands are not 100% Agave but have a large measure of tasteless grain alcohol added to make the flavour go farther, it nevertheless has the Tequila taste and it's for a marinate anyway. If you've never been to an American Mexican Restaurant or even one in Mexico and had real Tequila marinate and grilled chicken, then you don't have a clue as to what you've been missing. 
Limes are also important as these components and flavours in combination will not only compliment one another but kill potentially any bacterial problem associated with our modern industrial Ag-Farm Industries. Besides, if you also want Margaritas, you can also make your own mix here as Margarita mix imported to Sweden is insanely priced at about $13.00 a bottle. Seriously, that's Svenskland!  
Cilantro - (Koriander) 
Okay here a new rule. As long as you Swedes are going to make Mexican Food on Fridays or any other night, start calling one of the primo herb ingredients to Mexican food - Cilantro & not Coriander. Coriander is a Mediterranean herb for Mediterranean food dishes. The common packaging for Cilantro here are the cute little Santa Maria live herb packages you see above located in every produce section. There truly is nothing like fresh cilantro. Sorry, Coriander. Start getting use to the Spanish word/term is you really want to get into the mood of Mexican cooking.
We often get these at ICA MAXI or Hemköp, but because I use so much in my cooking I quite often go over to the local Middle Eastern Immigrant Produce Store and purchase the much larger bunches of Cilantro as seen above and store it for a week in our fridge's produce bin. It's cheaper, more quantity and has generally a darker richer green colour than the usual Green House grown brands. I have no idea where they get it, but the Arab/Persian store owners have inside tracks outside of Sweden for getting better quality produce. Trust me, people who come from warmer climates know better when it comes to quality produce, what we like and are use to. Still though, the other brands are good, but - Just Say'n . . ! Okay here's one last word on Cilantro. Watch this video from Taco Bell (for you Euros this is a long time Mexican Fast Food chain started way back in the 1964 in the U.S.) But this video of theirs illustrates and educates the importance of Cilantro to Mexican Food. 

The Spices - Santa Maria
Okay no big secret here. I like the Santa Maria spice collection. It's true many recipes call for just the right measured individual ingredients and you can go the route. However I want quick and fast and they have actually done a terrific job with their various blends. The most popular one I use is indeed their original Taco Spice, but the Habanero is a often used flavourite for me. I don't know what it is about Habanero, but it seems to have a slight smokiness to it, without actually being smoked over wood fire. It's also inexplicably addictive. Seriously your mouth is on fire, you lay off the Habanero Salsa till the mouth cools off, but finally you find yourself craving more. Go figure!
The Recipe:
1/2 cup Gold Tequila
1 Lime
3 garlic cloves crushed in a handpress
2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup Canola Oil (for Euros - Rapseed) 
2 tablespoons reg Butter (Bregott)
2/3 packet of flavourite Santa Maria Spice
one small bunch (about 8 stems) Cilantro
3 Chicken Breasts (Kyckling Bröstfile)
Mixing and Marinate 
I like to do things quickly, but the marinating should be given enough time to do it's work of getting that main ingredient for which the dish is named after - Tequila - to do it's work of infusing that particular flavour into the chicken.  I like to slice the breast files length wise into long slender strips. Although if I choose to Bar-B-Q, I leave them whole. This recipe is one I did very quick last night. You can mix the ingredients into a plastic bag and marinate for an hour or so before cooking, but I like to put all the strips into an oval glass ovenware dish, add the Tequila all over the top of the chicken, squeezing one lime on top of that and then adding the Sea Salt & my choice of Santa Maria Taco Spice over the top of the chicken, then turning them over and doing the same to the other side. Cover dish and let it set at room temperature for an hour and then placing in a hot frying pan where the Canola Oil & butter already are. I first however mix in the finely pressed garlic gloves in the hot oil and often I'll throw in some sliced yellow onions for a change, but not always. My main purpose is for that Tequila flavour to win out above everything else. You can actually go too far with other ingredients and mask that flavour. The Cilantro I rinse with water and finely mince or chop on a cutting board and sprinkle evenly over the top of the chicken in the frying pan. I also have added prior to cooking in the marinate and so can you. Next cover with a lid and allow to slowly cook on low heat. Chicken like fish cooks very fast and cooking to fast can make it tough. The way I do it the chicken comes out delicate & tender which has the effect of melting in your mouth when you bite in. 

BAR-B-Q Files
There are of course countless ways to cook, bake, broil or you can BAR-B-Q this chicken marinate, but this is the quick-easy approach for me. You can serve it with a rice dish or even beans. I have to admit as far as Mexican Cooking here in Sweden, Frijoles (W/ Pinto Beans) has not exactly caught on here. But we're working on that as I've done them from scratch before when I've had guests over for a meal. Okay, this was simple, not complicated. Anyone can do this. Wow, when I did it last night and took the cover off the pan mid-way through the cooking, the aroma was killer. Just remember one thing - It's called Cilantro, not Koriander!


  1. Nice recipe - when I was married, Fri nights at least monthly were taco nights. Usually beef, though I've done chicken kind of like yours'. Enjoy...actually, by this time, you probably are having dinner.

    Swedish taco it!

    1. Yeah, I went shopping last night at the ICA Kvantum Store in Sannegårdshamner and all the Taco Accessories were displayed everywhere in all the right locations.

      Stay tuned, life here has afforded me opportunity to try many things I would have otherwise tried.


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