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