Far too often, tea is relegated to the realm of Hot Drink Only, but it can be used in so many other creative and delicious ways. With its delicate aromas and vast range of unique flavors, tea marvelously enhances otherwise bland things such as chicken breasts.
Here at Plum Deluxe, we’ve used tea with chicken before. Our succulent Tea Brined Chicken Wings were divine sweetened with honey and spiced with cayenne, garlic, paprika, and black pepper. Our Tea Smoked Chicken was scrumptious seasoned with toasted spices, marinated in sesame oil, soy sauce, freshly grated ginger, and minced garlic before being smoked in a fragrant haze of tea, brown sugar, and rice, then finally roasted slowly until the meat was fork-tender.
Our Spicy Comfort Blend Tea Marinade for Chicken follows in the hallowed footsteps of that delectable history. It gives the chicken a beautiful mahogany color that only gets better with grilling over an open fire. The marinade imparts a delicate flavor to the chicken that is good hot off the grill, but also wonderful served cold.
In our house we like it best cold, sliced thinly, and served with other nibbles such as sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and wedges of Camembert.
It makes an excellent filling for sandwiches. They can be served cold, layered with slices of avocado and finely grated Feta cheese, or served hot on an open-faced sandwich topped with Havarti cheese and placed under the broiler until the cheese bubbles and begins to brown. We also like it cut in chunks and tossed with grapes, celery, and mayonnaise with a bit of honey and apple cider vinegar for a wonderful chicken salad.
Spicy Tea Marinade for Chicken
The success of this dish depends on three things: quality chicken breasts, tea with rich flavors, and grilling to impart a hint of smokiness.
Chicken breasts are the least flavorful part of the chicken, so it’s vital to get the best quality poultry you can. Free-range is best since the varied diet imparts the best flavor to the meat.
Although the chicken can be marinated in any kind of tea, I prefer ones that bring rich spice notes or fruity flavors to the mix. Our Comfort Blend orange cinnamon tea is ideal. You could also use our Rainy Day sweet and spicy tea with cinnamon, orange, ginger, and anise, or The Spice of Life hot cinnamon spice tea with cinnamon chips, clove, orange peel, and cinnamon essence. They all bring a rainbow of flavors to this dish that bring life and zest to the marinade. Be sure to make the tea extra strong so the flavors really sing, but don’t let it steep too long. We want flavor, not bitterness.
I like the tea to take center stage in this marinade, so I only add a few extra ingredients to round it out. To the strong, cold tea I add a couple of tablespoons of sweet chili sauce, some olive oil, salt, and pepper. If you want your marinade a bit stronger, simply draw inspiration from the tea itself and add some finely grated orange zest and fresh ginger root.
Once the marinade is made, simply pour it over the chicken breasts and turn a few times to ensure even coverage. Cover the dish and place in the fridge at least one hour or overnight. Turn once or twice to make sure the flavor is evenly distributed. When you’re ready to cook, heat up your barbecue or grill and cook the chicken until it is no longer pink in the center, about 3-4 minutes each side. Serve hot or cool and slice.
Spicy Comfort Blend Tea Marinade for Chicken
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons Comfort Blend Black Tea
- 1/2 cup just boiled water
- 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place tea leaves in heatproof mug and pour in just-boiled water. Leave to steep for 5 minutes. Strain and leave to cool.
Rinse chicken breasts, pat dry, and place in glass bowl.
In small bowl, whisk together tea with remaining ingredients. Pour over chicken, turning to ensure complete coverage. Cover and place in fridge at least one hour or overnight. Turn chicken partway through for even flavor distribution.
When ready to cook, heat BBQ or grilling plate. When hot, place chicken breasts over heat and cook until done.
Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve warm or chilled.