My Recipe Box

Tex-Mex Chicken Under a Brick


Serves four.

Chicken under a brick was born in Italy, but the Mexican version, pollo a la piedra (chicken under a stone), was my inspiration for a Tex-Mex rendition flavored with cilantro, chiles, lime, and tequila. I use some of the ingredients as a marinade and some for a quick salsa to serve with the chicken. Serve with tortillas for wrapping.

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 oz. each), trimmed, rinsed, and patted dry
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
  • 2 fresh jalapeños, cored, seeded, and chopped (for more heat, include the ribs and seeds)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. tequila
  • 2 large ripe red tomatoes (about 12 oz. total), cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice

Wrap two bricks (or two large cast-iron skillets), in foil (shiny side out). Arrange the breasts in a baking dish. Generously season them on all sides with 1-1/2 tsp. salt, pepper, the cumin seeds, and the garlic. Combine the cilantro and jalapeños in a medium bowl; pat half of this mixture onto the chicken and refrigerate the other half. Pour 1/4 cup of the lime juice and 1/4 cup of the olive oil over the chicken, turning to coat both sides. Sprinkle the tequila on top. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Shortly before you’re ready to grill, combine the remaining cilantro mixture with the tomatoes in a small bowl. Toss with the remaining 2 Tbs. each lime juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a hot charcoal fire. Brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the chicken breasts on the grate at a 45-degree angle to the bars. Set one brick (or skillet) on top of two breasts each and grill for 3 minutes. Flip the breasts, cover again with the bricks, and continue grilling until cooked through and firm to the touch, another 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to plates or a platter. Garnish with the salsa and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 420, Fat (kcal): 23, Fat Calories (g): 210, Saturated Fat (g): 3, Protein (g): 41, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16, Carbohydrates (mg): 8, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 600, Cholesterol (g): 100, Fiber (g): 2,

Photo: Ben Fink

Pretty good. I might have liked it better if I had cooked it on the grill, but since the temp. was like 15 degrees I made it stove top and finished it in the oven. My husband really liked it a lot.

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