Everyone had those kids in Spanish class who couldn’t pronounce a single word. They were the same kids who thought Mexico was the only Spanish-speaking country in the world. Infinitely worse, were the instructors: quirky white women who didn’t realize that going to Mexican restaurants and speaking the language didn’t make them any less white than they already were.
When we think of Mexican food, we think of tacos, fajitas, and chile rellenos. We think of spicy sauces and creamy dips. There seems to be a generalization of the cuisine. People throw Mexican-themed parties complete with chips and salsa and guacamole. Ole! But Mexican food isn’t always about tortilla-stuffed foods (although they go perfectly with this recipe).
Pollo a la parilla is a grilled chicken dish that you may or may not find at your local Mexican restaurant. It’s seasoned perfectly, grilled, and served with lots of fried onions.
In order to make this dish, you’ll need to butterfly and flatten your chicken breasts. Sometimes you can find breasts that have already been” butterflied” at your local grocery store. If you can’t, don’t worry, it’s actually very easy. Simply take a sharp knife and cut along the curve of the breast and down the center, until you reach the fold. Don’t cut all the way. You don’t want two separate pieces. You want to open it up like a book.
Now that your chicken is open, cover it with plastic wrap and pound it with a tenderizer to thin it out even further. You want the breast to be no more than 1/4 inch thick.
Season your chicken liberally with a spice mix consisting of salt, pepper, cumin powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, mexican chili powder, and smoked paprika. Then vigorously rub this mixture into your chicken breasts and let marinate for at least thirty minutes.
Cook your chicken on a grill or grill pan at medium-high to high temperature for about 3-4 minutes per side, brushing each side with a thin layer of soy sauce for coloring.
Saute onions in a large fry pan until slightly caramelized, seasoning with cumin, chili powder, and salt. Serve your chicken over a bed of these onions with optional warm tortillas and pico de gallo and enjoy!
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon mexican chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 medium yellow onions (sliced)
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder (for onions)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (for onions)
Butterfly and flatten chicken breasts as described above. Combine your spices and salt to make the spice mix, and season each breast liberally on BOTH sides. Then massage breasts with your hands to allow spices to penetrate meat. Set aside and let marinate for at least thirty minutes. In the meantime, slice two medium yellow onions and cook with vegetable oil over medium-high temperature in large pan. Season liberally with salt, cumin powder, and chili powder. Cook for about 5-8 minutes or until softened and slightly caramelized. Set aside.
Heat grill pan or grill to high temperature. In a small bowl, add two tablespoons vegetable oil and two tablespoons soy sauce. Mix vigorously to combine and then paint one side of chicken breasts. Place this very breast onto your grill with the “painted” side down. Then paint the top side. Flip chicken after 3-4 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side. Flip one last time if needed for no more than a minute. You don’t want to overcook your chicken. Make a slit if you’re not sure. Once meat is no longer pink in the center, it’s cooked!
Serve chicken over onions with optional tortillas, pico de gallo, and whatever toppings you desire.