Marinade becomes poaching liquid

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TIPS

Sub a little water or chicken broth for the tequila, if you prefer not to use spirits.

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until aromatic, 3-5 minutes.

In a hurry and without enough time to marinate, I faked it. The chicken thighs were already in the citrus marinade I had created, when I realized that to allow them time to soak would mean a late dinner — at least later than I wanted.

So into the skillet it all went, chicken and marinade. I figured that although the chicken wouldn't brown, at least the flavors of orange juice, tequila, garlic and cumin would have more time to infuse into the meat. And they did.

A rich topping of guacamole, studded with diced jicama for extra crunch, finished the dish. Sometimes, being in a hurry pays off.

Citrus-Tequila Poached Chicken With Guacamole

Prep: 15 minutes. Cook: 15 minutes. Makes: 4 servings

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 cup fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 to 2 ounces blanco tequila

3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted, ground

2 avocados, peeled, pitted

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup chopped jicama, in 1/4- inch dice

8 to 12 grape tomatoes, roughly chopped (should remain in good-size pieces)

Cilantro, chopped

Put the chicken in a shallow dish or nonreactive pan. Whisk the orange juice, olive oil, tequila, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and cumin together in a measuring cup. Pour over the chicken. Allow to rest, 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the guacamole, put the remaining garlic and the lime juice in a small bowl. Add the avocado, mashing with a fork. Keep it coarse and chunky. Stir in the jicama and tomatoes. Season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in cilantro to taste.

Transfer chicken and marinade to a large skillet; cook over medium heat until chicken is done, turning once, about 12 minutes. Serve chicken topped with generous portion of guacamole. (If you like, reduce the cooking liquid for a sauce, about 5 minutes.)

Per serving: 649 calories, 38 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 313 mg cholesterol, 20 g carbohydrates, 59 g protein, 649 mg sodium, 8 g fiber