Every time I go to the market, I pick up another head or two of garlic, whether I’m out of it or not. As a result, I end up with multiple, half used heads lingering in my kitchen, withering away until I chuck them. When I was cleaning up my kitchen last week, I came across not 2, not 3, but 5 half used heads of garlic (that’s in addition to the 2 fresh ones I just bought). Rather than just let them go to waste, I thought about what I could do with lots of bitty middle garlic cloves. Come on, you prefer the large, meaty cloves to work with, too! I remembered a garlicky marinade from Saveur magazine for a Mojo Pork Shoulder I once made and thought I could use the same flavors to marinate the chicken I had in the fridge. I tossed all the cloves fit to use into my blender along with fresh lime juice, some onion, cumin, oregano and olive oil and let it blitz away. Twenty-four hours later and a spin in the broiler, I had moist, succulent chicken, sweet from the onion, smoky from the cumin and finger-licking delicious. I made them again last night for my friend James, along side a raw kale salad. When I asked him what he thought of the chicken, he didn’t respond. He wouldn’t stop eating. Always a good sign!
1 head of garlic (or the equivalent in bitty middle cloves)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice*
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 small onion
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried oregano*
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
3 pounds chicken pieces*
Put the garlic through salt into a blender and blitz until pureed and creamy. In a glass bowl or a zip top bag, coat chicken pieces with all of marinade and refrigerate at least 8 hours, best overnight. Pre-heat your broiler*, place the chicken pieces on a ridged broiler pan and season with another sprinkle of salt. Cook the chicken, flipping once until a thermometer reads 165 degrees*. Enjoy!
~I had very juicy limes and 2 provided enough juice. You may need more if yours are drier.
~Rub the oregano in your palms first before adding to the blender to release their oils.
~I had a pound and a half of chicken tenders and a pound and a half of bone-in skinless thighs. I buy the thighs skin on and remove it, because the bones make the chicken more flavorful, but the skin adds calories.
~Broiling is grilling upside down! I don’t have a grill, so I broil. If you do, these would be delicious grilled.
~The cooking time for the chicken varies based on the thickness of the pieces you use and if they are boneless or not. Mine took between 10-20 minutes. I finished the thighs in the oven for a few minutes so they would cook through without scorching. Always use a meat thermometer to make sure your chicken is cooked through.