Healthy Eating

Mexican Makeover

Forget calorie-laden chimichangas and fat- filled nachos. Traditional Mexican dishes are fresh, flavorful and good for you, too.

Mexican Makeover
Pin it Romulo Yanes

Grilled Chicken Breasts
with Tangy Yucatecan
Spices & Roasted Fresh
Chile Salsa

Frontera Grill, Topolobampo,
XOCO, all in Chicago
PREP: 35 min. COOK: 22 min. SERVES 4
Award-winning chef, restaurateur and
television personality Rick Bayless is
renowned for his devotion to fresh,
local ingredients. The following recipe
is adapted from Bayless’ cookbook
Mexican Everyday (W.W. Norton).
For the Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa:
4 ounces fresh chiles (about
4 medium jalape.os or 16
medium serranos or 12 medium
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
For the Yucatecan Garlic-Spice
1 head of garlic, broken into
individual cloves (expect about
12 cloves)
1∕3 cup vegetable or olive oil
6 tablespoons vinegar (apple cider
vinegar is common in Mexico)
1 pinch of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon,
preferably Mexican canela
1 teaspoon dried oregano,
preferably Mexican
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 chicken breast halves or 8 thighs
(about 2 pounds total), skin and
bones intact
1 cup chicken broth
For Roasted Fresh Chile Salsa:
1. Turn on the broiler and adjust the
rack to its highest level. Break the
stems off the chiles, cut them in half
lengthwise and lay them, cut-side
down, on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the
garlic cloves among the chiles. Slide
under the broiler and roast until the
chiles are soft and blotchy black in
places, about a minute or two.
2. Scrape into a blender or food
processor and add lime juice and
1/4 cup water. Process until nearly
smooth. Pour into a salsa dish; if
necessary, thin with additional water to
give the salsa a consistency that’s easy
to spoon out and serve.
3. Taste (cautiously) and season with
salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Cover
and refrigerate (for up to 5 days), if not
using right away.
For chicken:
1. Cut a slit in the side of each
garlic clove; place them into a
microwaveable bowl, cover with
plastic and microwave on high for
30 seconds. Cool until they can be
handled, and slip off the paper husks.
One by one, drop the garlic cloves into
a running blender or food processor,
letting each get thoroughly chopped
before adding the next. Stop the
machine, add oil, vinegar, cloves, dried
oregano, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt
and process until smooth.
2. Scrape half of the marinade into a
medium-size bowl. Add the chicken
and stir to coat evenly. Scrape
the remaining mixture into a small
saucepan, add the broth and 1∕4
teaspoon salt.
3. Heat one side of a gas grill
to medium, the other side to
4. Place the chicken pieces on the grill
over the medium-hot heat, skin-side
down. When richly browned (usually 5
or 6 minutes) flip them over onto the
cooler side of the grill. Cook about
10 more minutes, until the juices run
clear when pierced with a fork. While
the chicken is grilling, bring the broth
mixture to a boil.
5. Arrange the chicken on a platter
and ladle the hot broth mixture over
the top. Drizzle the salsa on chicken if
you want to spice things up.
Per serving: 536 calories, 31 g fat
(6 g saturated fat), 53 g protein,
8 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g fiber, 852 mg