A good chicken marinade is worth a lot. One that calls for just a few ingredients and still packs flavor is even more valuable. Smoky chipotle powder complimented with a bit of fresh lime and garlic delivers big flavor in this recipe for Chipotle Lime Chicken with Grilled Corn Salsa.
Sweet, seasonal corn on the cob, grilled and folded together with tomatoes, cilantro and a little jalapeno pepper for spiciness compliments every bite of the grilled chipotle chicken. Grilling the corn brings out the sweet flavor with a little caramelizing of the kernels.
If you’re not familiar with chipotle chile powder it’s made from dried smoked jalapeno peppers. The skin of the peppers it is made from is wrinkly and dark brown and the flavor is robustly smoky and somewhat sweet.
For this recipe, I recommend boneless, skinless breasts or thighs. It’s quicker and more consistent for grilling and there’s no bones or skin to contend with when eating. Pounding the chicken breasts to about three quarter inch thickness helps to insure even and quicker cooking. I don’t pound the thighs, but simply lay them open flat on the grill. Using medium heat on the grill helps so the chicken will be less inclined to get dry.
For those of you who don’t want to grill, you can achieve good results with the chicken and corn by using a grill pan on the stovetop. I suggest grilling both sides of the chicken for several minutes then finishing it in the oven.
I doubled the recipe the first time I made this to feed a handful of hungry college age boys. But at the last minute our group dropped down to just a few so I had leftovers. The next day I thinly sliced the grilled chicken and heated it in a skillet for a few minutes. We piled it in warmed corn tortillas along with a spoonful of the corn salsa, a few chunks of diced avocado and a drizzle of sour cream.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2-3 teaspoons chipotle chile powder*
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- Corn salsa:
- 4 ears corn (3 cups)
- ⅔ cup chopped tomato (1 medium size)
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 3 tablespoons chopped green onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper (membranes and seeds removed)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- For the marinade, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, chipotle powder, garlic and lime zest. Pound chicken breasts between wax paper to about ¾-inch thickness. Put chicken in a re-sealable plastic bag and pour in marinade; massage marinade around chicken to evenly distribute. Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for two to four hours.
- For the salsa, remove outer husk from corn. Preheat grill to medium heat. Grill corn, turning once during cooking, until lightly charred about 10 minutes; remove and allow cooling until it can be handled, about 10 minutes. Cut kernels off the cob into a bowl. Add tomato, cilantro, green onion, olive oil, jalapeno and lime juice and stir together evenly; season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat grill to medium heat. Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Put chicken on grill and season with salt and pepper; grill until chicken is halfway cooked, about 8-10 minutes; turn, season with salt and pepper and grill until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes longer. Alternatively, sear chicken in a lightly oiled grill pan over medium heat several minutes; turn and sear other side. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degrees F. oven until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
- Serve chicken topped with a generous spoonful of grilled corn salsa.