Though I am typically not a big fan of most chain restaurants, I still find myself eating at them occasionally.  I think we’ve all been in that situation when a friend chooses such a location for a get-together, despite a wealth of wonderful local restaurants nearby.  I’m not that picky so I can usually find something decent on the menu, even if it isn’t nearly as good as what some of the local places are cooking up.  Whenever I end up going to Chili’s for any reason, I always order the margarita grilled chicken.  It is a simple marinated, grilled chicken breast atop a bed of black beans and rice.  It is healthy and honestly, I think it’s a pretty good dish!  But, also so simple I knew it could be easily recreated at home.  When I saw this recipe from Ina Garten, I figured it was the perfect place to start since she has yet to fail me.  

This chicken is incredible – it is amazingly juicy, and you can really taste the citrus juices and tequila.  I just improvised and came up with the black bean recipe on my own, and skipped the rice altogether this time.  (I do think this would be a good way to use up some leftover Mexican rice from another meal.)  I was thrilled with how the meal turned out, and though the beans aren’t exactly like the version from Chili’s, I’m not complaining.  This was a fantastic meal!  Very filling but still healthy.  I’ll be making this often.

Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken over Black Beans
For the chicken:
1/4 cup tequila
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup freshly squeeze orange juice
1 tsp. chili powder
1 jalapeno pepper, ribbed, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For the beans:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Cumin, fajita seasoning and cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper 
Dash of hot sauce 
1/2-3/4 cup frozen corn 

Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl or zippered plastic bag.  Mix well; add the chicken breasts to the container.  Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.   

When you are ready to cook the chicken, heat a grill to medium-high heat.  Oil the grates to prevent the meat from sticking.  Once the grill is heated, cook the chicken until nicely browned and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.  (Alternatively, you can sear the chicken in a grill pan and then bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes or until cooked through.  This is my preferred method for cooking chicken when I don’t feel like firing up the grill, or the weather is bad.)  Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the beans.  Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and jalapeno to the pan and saute for 1 minute more.  Add the black beans to the pan and cook for a few minutes until warmed through.  Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Season with cumin, fajita seasoning, and cayenne pepper to taste.  Adjust salt and pepper as needed.  Allow the mixture to simmer until most of the liquid has reduced.  Stir in the hot sauce and frozen corn, and cook 2-3 minutes more.  Divide the bean mixture between two serving plates and top with grilled chicken.  Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

Source: chicken adapted from Ina Garten via Food Network

  • Oh wow this sounds really good – thanks for the idea! :)

  • I get the same thing at Chili’s – I’ll have to give this one a try!

  • Love it. I was just getting over my hunger when I came across this! Reminds me of the sort of food I had when in Cuba, nothing amazingly complicated but just good honest simple food!

  • Lime chicken sounds great to me!

  • I will be putting this one on our menu, thanks!

  • What a nice light dinner! I love finding new marinades to try… I’m adding this one to my list!

  • Great grill marks on that chicken Annie! The marinade sounds fantastic!

    My mom likes Chili’s and I try to steer her away, but now I’ll know what to order when she really wants to go :)

  • Anna

    That’s my favorite dish at Chili’s too. Sometimes a chain is the easiest way to keep a group happy. ;o)

    The marinade is really similar to a Southern Living one for pork tenderloin. If you like pork, you should try it (slice the tenderloin in 1.5″ medallions, then marinade, then grill)–delicious and the leftovers are really good in faux Cuban sandwiches.

    Love your blog BTW. I’ve bookmarked lots of recipes!

  • Marla

    Looks and sounds yummy! And boy can I relate to friends picking the chains over the local hot spots. Once we went to Hardees to get what tsome of our family members thought was “the best burger ever”!

  • Susan

    I’ve made this chicken before and I think it’s the best chicken we’ve ever grilled. I get all kinds of compliments everytime I make it. Thanks for sharing your ides. Love your blog.

  • This is such an incredible combination we make this quite a bit!!

  • I have half a bottle of tequila that my husband and I aren’t drinking, I will have to try this!

  • Love the presentation! This looks like such a great summer recipe!

  • Elizabeth

    Annie–you have my new favorite recipe website. I’m also in Indy and live with a IUSM graduate (my hubby), so I was drawn in right away. We had this tonight…and it was delicious! The jalapeno peppers were a bit spicy for my 3 year old, but we loved it! I made your chicken gyros last night with your hummus recipe and both were great! I was going to try the homemade pita bread also, but I started it too late in the day for all of the waiting involved for the dough to rise. Maybe next time I’ll think ahead a little more. Thanks for all of the hard work you obviously put into this website.

  • Erin

    I have had this recipe bookmarked forever, and this is totally making me want to make it now! The black beans look so good with it. I’ve never had this at Chili’s, but I’ll keep it in mind if I ever end up there :)

  • I totally agree with you about chain restaurants! Our closest “couple friends” here in Chicago always want to go to Cheesecake Factory, which I think it a rip off and so not fun.

    This chicken, on the other hand, sounds pretty tasty! I bet it would be great sliced and wrapped in tortillas, too.

  • Kelsea

    I made this on a whim last week and have been thinking about it nonstop ever since, I’m even going to make it again tonight! Fabulous recipe, Annie.

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  • gail

    i made this for dinner tonight. we (me + boyfriend) LOVED it. also, this was the first time i have ever prepared anything with black beans so thank you for introducing me to this easy kitchen staple.
    some variations:
    +i didnt read the recipe all the way through and as a result was only able to marinade for one hour. nevertheless it was really yummy.
    +i love garlic so i doubled the garlic in both the beans and the chicken. it was perfect.
    + cumin was all that was on hand.
    +i served with fresh salsa and chips. the beans base doubles as a great dip!

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  • Beth S.

    This was an absolutely amazing recipe! It is nearly impossible for me to follow a recipe exactly, and I followed this one almost exactly…I baked it for 20 min, in the marinade and it was so great!

  • Tequila and lime works really well with grilled meats!

  • Joanna Boswell

    This was wonderful and even my two-year-old loved it! I also made the cilantro lime rice to go with. Absolutely going to make this again!

  • Elisheva

    I made this chicken for dinner a couple of nights ago and it was a hit! I had to quadruple the recipe because I used 8-9 chicken breasts and this marinade is only for 2-3 chicken breasts.

  • Meg

    Last spring I wound up at a Chili’s and happened to order this, loved it, and decided I had to learn how to make it at home. Naturally I looked here first, and was so pleased to find this recipe. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this recipe. It is delicious! The chicken is so flavorful, and the beans are just phenomenal. I’ve made the beans on their own a lot as they make a great, protein-full lunch.

  • Shari

    Made this last week over a salad, yummy!