Braised Chicken with Lemon, Potatoes and Olives

September 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Posted in Chicken | 45 Comments
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We love braised chicken dishes at our house and with my cast iron skillet as my partner, I can’t go wrong. It perfectly and quickly places a crispy brown crust on the chicken skin.Then it’s high sides snuggle ingredients and sauces together to simmer the flavors into a delicious savory goodness.

Let’s take a look at some of the braised chicken dishes I’ve blogged about:

Chicken Marengo:  Flavored with raisins, carrots, tomatoes, black olives in a sweet tangy basil and rosemary sauce. Exciting.

Tarragon Chicken: Simply a tarragon tomato sauce.  Savory.

Sticky Lips Chicken: White wine, scallions in a veal demi glace. Omg.

And Chicken Galliano:  Mushrooms and goat cheese and simmered in a anise flavored liqueur.  Divine.

Thanks to Martha for our latest braised chicken dinner. The chicken soaks up and delivers soft lemony goodness. Accompanied with a bite of briny olives, smooth potato cubes, and topped with fresh sprigs of thyme, it’s a delicious one-skillet meal.

Martha Stewart’s Braised Chicken with Lemon, Potatoes and Olives:

  • 2 1/4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 12 ounces baby fingerling potatoes or halved small potatoes
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup green olives, such as Cerignola, pitted if desired
  • 1 small lemon, washed well, cut into wedges
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season chicken with salt. Heat a large, heavy ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Swirl in oil. Cook chicken, skin side down, until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken, and push to side of skillet. Add 1 cup stock and  1/2 teaspoon salt. Add potatoes to liquid. Bring to a boil. Add garlic, olives, lemon wedges, and thyme to liquid. Return to a boil.
  2. Transfer skillet to oven. Roast, stirring potatoes halfway through, until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  3. Return skillet to stove. Mix cornstarch with remaining  1/4 cup stock, and stir into pan. Bring to a boil to thicken sauce. Serve immediately.

Braised Chicken with Lemon, Potatoes and Olives…It’s What’s For Dinner.

Chicken Cutlets with Jalapeno Orange Sauce and Black Beans

August 18, 2011 at 7:38 am | Posted in Chicken | 23 Comments
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I’m sure you know the routine; one week getting ready for vacation, one week of vacation, one week catching up from vacation equals no time to blog, or for that matter not much time for cooking. I’ll most certainly be back in the kitchen this weekend, but for now it’s a quick fix dinner.

This latin chicken dish is so easy, so full of flavor and a pleasure to place on the table. A great weeknight meal that you can easily be digging into in around 30 minutes. The original recipe called for turkey cutlets and Habanero. We opted for quick-fix chicken cutlets from the meat case and a I woosed out and  bought, deveined and deseeded a jalapeno. I tried, honestly I really tried…but everytime I look at one of those small little criminal orange Habanero, I become very afraid and reach for the more trustable jalapeno.

This recipe comes from one of my new favorite sites, Fine Cooking. It’s a great resource for quick and flavorful meals. Let’s take a look:

Chicken Cutlets with Jalapeno Orange Sauce and Black Beans

5 to 6 Tbs. olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 plus 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
1/2 tsp. seeded and minced jalapeno chile
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 small sweet onion, chopped
One 15-1/2-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
4 chicken breast cutlets (about 1-1/4 lb.)

In a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil and the garlic over medium heat until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/8 tsp. of the cumin. Add the orange juice, lime juice, and jalapeno. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set the mojo sauce aside. (The sauce can be served warm or at room temperature.)

Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and ¼ tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the beans and the remaining ½ tsp. cumin and cook until the beans are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the beans to a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.

Wash and dry the skillet. Season the chicken cutlets on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add as many cutlets as will comfortably fit in a single layer and cook until browned on both sides and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining cutlets, adding the remaining 1 Tbs. oil if needed.

Divide the cutlets and black beans among individual plates. Spoon the mojo sauce over and serve.

Chicken Cutlets with Jalapeno Orange Sauce and Black Beans…It’s What’s for Dinner.

Wedding on Top of a Mountain and Breakfast Enchiladas

July 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Breakfast, Chicken, Mexican/Southwest | 29 Comments
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Ever tried drinking and dancing for hours at 11,500 feet? It’s a tough job. Even raising a glass of champagne to toast the bride and groom can cause a slight shortness of breath. 🙂 Nonetheless, seems like we managed. A couple of weeks ago Brian, son of friends Tom and Kathy got married to Melanie on top of a mountain at a ski lodge above Keystone Resort. It was hands down the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever attended.

Continue Reading Wedding on Top of a Mountain and Breakfast Enchiladas…

No Recipe Required: Chicken Cutlets

May 14, 2011 at 8:01 am | Posted in Chicken, No recipe required | 15 Comments
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  • Salt/pepper and saute two chicken cutlets until browned and cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl mix together fresh baby greens and any herbs you have available such as mint, chives, tarragon or basil.
  • Drizzle greens with Dijon vinaigrette, or your favorite bottled dressing and toss well.
  • Place cooked cutlets on a serving plate and drizzle with a little of the vinaigrette
  • Top with baby greens and herb mixture

Chicken Cutlets Topped with Baby Greens and Vinaigrette…It’s What’s for Dinner.

One Year Ago:  Grilled Lamb Salad With Cumin Vinaigrette

Balsamic Reduction Sauce, or Balsamic Glaze Recipe

April 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Posted in Chicken, Condiment | 33 Comments
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A few years ago at a highly acclaimed Denver restaurant, I ordered a dish of crab cakes that were served drizzled with a wonderful balsamic glaze. One bite and I was inquiring the waitress for a recipe or method to make the glaze. She exclaimed it to be incredibly easy “Just bla..bla..bla.. then bla..bla.. and then just bla and voila and you’ve re-created an exact replica of this glaze that is sitting in front of you“.

The very next day I went to work in my kitchen to recreate the process. Well, the “bla..bla..bla..then just bla” instructions led me nowhere near the result from the restaurant. 

Recently I blogged about our monthly Wine Time event. Our friend Kathy brought some bottled balsamic glaze to drizzle over some bread and blue cheese. I mentioned in my post how delicious it was, and that it was purchased in Omaha, and I was hoping to find some in Denver. Well, lo and behold, Michele to the rescue! Michele over at  Cooking With Michele, quickly fired over her own recipe for Balsamic Glaze. I was thrilled to say the least.  Michele is a Denver food blogger, a trained and talented chef, a cooking instructor and a sommelier. With credentials like that, I knew her recipe would be spot on. And with her side note of…

“This one’s easy, I promise! The more you let it reduce, the thicker it will be. And while it might not seem too thick when it’s hot, it thickens more when it cools. I keep mine in a squeeze bottle in the fridge to have on hand – good on chicken, fish, pork, beef, parmesan cheese, strawberries, ice cream, cheese and more!”

I couldn’t get to the kitchen fast enough to give it a try. While the sauce was simmering, I skewered some chunks of chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled them and simply arranged them alongside a mixture of baby greens. I drizzled on Michele’s wonderfully aromatic and thick dark glaze over the greens and the chicken and had a simple but incredibly rich flavored meal. 

I can’t thank you enough Michele. I now have my own little squeeze bottle of this black gold in my refrigerator, of which I feel incredibly smug. 

For the recipe, head on over to her site for her Asparagus with Balsamic Glaze recipe.

Balsamic Glaze…It’s What’s for Making Dinner Special.

One Year Ago: Chicken Marengo

Grilled Chicken Wilted Salad

April 16, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Posted in Chicken, Salads | 34 Comments
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During the week I try to plan lots of light-meal salads for dinner. They’re salads that contain lean meats, lots of greens and vegetables tossed into a single dish meal with a lively vinaigrette. Not only are they delicious and healthy, they also make way for weekends filled with cheeseburgers, Italian sausage laden pasta dishes, bacon and egg breakfasts and dare I mention…ice cream topped cinnamon bun bread.

This Grilled Chicken Wilted Salad is one of my favorites. It comes together in about 30 minutes and can practically be made one-handed without having to put down your after work/before dinner glass of wine.  The combination of flavors here are striking thanks to the warm dressing, Kalamata olives and rosemary dusted chicken tenders.  And with the techniques of tossing the chicken and onion in olive oil before cooking and finishing by steaming the whole dish covered with a plate, you end up with a nice texture and wonderful warm flavors. Let’s take a look:

Grilled Chicken Wilted Salad

  • 1 lb chicken tenderloin
  • 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise, cut into thin wedges (this might be the only time you’d have to set down your wine)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs snipped fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
  • 3/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup cranberry or pomegranate juice
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 2 6-oz. pkg. baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup sliced pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted

Heat indoor electric grill or grill pan over medium heat.

In a bowl combine chicken and onions. Toss with two tablespoons of the olive oil, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon each pepper and salt.

Grill chicken and onions on grill rack or in grill pan for ten minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink, internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F, and onions are tender, turning once. 

Meanwhile, for dressing, in a saucepan combine juice; vinegar; and remaining olive oil, pepper and salt. Bring  juice mixture just to boiling; remove from heat. Place spinach, olives, pine nuts, chicken, and onions in an extra-large salad bowl; toss to combine. Pour warm dressing over salad mixture. Toss lightly. Cover salad with a large plate for one to two minutes or just until spinach is wilted. Remove plate. Serve immediately. Makes six servings.

Grilled Chicken Wilted Salad…It’s What’s for Dinner.

One Year Ago: Ranch Grilled Chicken Tacos

Abbie’s Favorite Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe

April 1, 2011 at 9:17 am | Posted in Chicken, Pasta, Pasta Salad | 26 Comments
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Last Saturday was our monthly Front Range Food Blogger Meetup over at Barb’s house. Barb writes Vino Luci Style, lives in a central Denver location and generously opens her doors to host our group of local food bloggers. I so  look forward to our gatherings. Not only is it the ultimate potluck event, but we also get down to business and spend time with discussions to better our blogs. Last month we had photography demonstrations and last week we focused on SEO optimization. So far there’s been about a dozen of us attend, and I’m personally loving every minute of  it.

Barb suggested that we blog about and post recipes for the dishes we bring so she can link to them on our Meetup page. I’m all for that since I spend half the social hour begging for recipes. Here’s my latest contribution to our meeting.

My Favorite Chicken Macaroni Salad. Although I’ve had this recipe for about 30 years, it’s not one I make often because I simply can’t be trusted around it. I’ll stand over the kitchen island and eat half the bowl in minutes. So while the “servings” portion of the recipe indicates eight, if I’m around it’s actually six for me and two for you…two if you’re lucky. 

Abbie, Macaroni Salad Afficianado

Well it seems I have a macaroni salad soul mate named Abbie. Here’s how the whole thing came down (so to speak). The meeting was winding down. We had all but packed up our leftovers. We had divvied up and Saran wrapped portions of cookies, pastries and assorted goodies to take home and were in the living room finishing conversations when we heard a big crash.

Kirsten over at My Kitchen in the Rockies promptly went to investigate and found Abbie, Barb’s adorable Cocker Spaniel (who although she doesn’t write a food blog is most certainly an important member of our group) with her head buried in my bowl of macaroni salad which she had wrestled to the floor, stripped off the foil covering and was taking those big gasping doggie bites…you know the ones…where they can hardly breath because they’re trying to inhale as much as possible before being caught.

To protect the innocent Kirsten quickly picked up the evidence but once the story leaked, we all had a good laugh.  Of course, Barb was unnecessarily horrified, and commented on my blog:  “Abbie and I are both sorry she showed little manners. I guess I need a sign, “As cute as she may look, she is a dog who takes advantage of any situation where food is involved”

Abbie, you’re a girl after my own heart!

How do I feel about the whole thing? High five paw Abbie.  A compliment that you loved my macaroni salad, but sorry Sistah…I can’t be trusted around the stuff either…but I bet I could have had that bowl emptied before Kirsten got there.  🙂  I mean c’mon there was still half of it left. 

My Abbie’s Favorite Chicken Macaroni Salad:

4 cups large shell macaroni — cooked
10 oz chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces. (I’ve used rotisserie, canned and breasts cooked and cubed – it all works)
8 oz frozen peas
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbs sugar
Salt
Pepper
Dillweed

Servings: 8

As with my potato salad, I like to have all the ingredients in a large bowl and then add my hot drained starch on top, letting everything sit for a couple of minutes to steam the vegetables and seasonings before I mix together. After stirring, adjust flavors to suit your palate.  I usually start with 1 Tsp dried dill and also tweak salt, sugar and vinegar to get it just right for me. As always this is better if it sits overnight in the fridge.

Abbie’s Favorite Chicken Macaroni Salad Recipe…It’s What’s for Dinner.

One Year Ago:  Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches

Chicken Tikka Masala

March 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Posted in Chicken | 44 Comments
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…without the tikka or the tandoori. 

I’ve recently signed up for emails from America’s Test Kitchen and so far I’m impressed and engaged with the content. The latest included a clip from a television segment featuring an easy Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. I felt the excitement and adventure of a challenge since I’ve never had Tikka Masala. Throw in the addition of Kirsten over at My Kitchen In The Rockies posting some wonderful Indian dishes over the past few weeks and I couldn’t resist the project.

ATK tells us that Tikka Masala is the most popular dish ordered in Indian Restaurants and assures us that after testing many recipes, this Test Kitchen version will yield tender chunks of chicken in a flavorful aroma of seasonings without skewering and can be prepared in our American kitchens without the need of a tandoori oven or vessel.

Let’s get started.

Using a mixture of cumin, ground coriander, cayenne and salt…

Sprinkle over both sides of  boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. ATK assures us that the addition of salt and plastic wrap will vibrantly flavor the chicken in this short time.

Mix together plain yogurt, chopped garlic, grated ginger and some vegetable oil. Stir together and let rest so that the flavors can marry while the chicken is flavoring in the refrigerator.

At the end of 30 minutes, remove chicken from refrigerator and slather generously with the yogurt mixture. 

Heating some oil in a sauce pan stove top, add finely chopped garlic, a seeded and deveined Serrano pepper, tomato paste, garam masala, grated ginger and chopped onion. Stirring, cook over medium heat until chile and onion are tender and flavors have become fragrant. 

Add some crushed tomatoes and continue to simmer on low. Whisk in some cream and keep warm until you add the chicken.

Broil the slathered chicken breasts about six minutes per side, until thermometer reads 160 degrees. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for five minutes and then chop into bite sized pieces. Stir the chicken into the tomato sauce and remove from heat immediately so that chicken will not cook any further. Serve alongside basmati rice.

The verdict: 

  • Just as promised, I was surprised how flavorful the chicken tasted from its short visit with the spices in the refrigerator sealed under that plastic wrap.
  • I was impressed with how the yogurt and olive oil mixture beautifully browned the chicken just as promised. 
  • It was very good, but never having Tikka Masala before and not being able to compare…we thought the sauce lacked that burst of flavor we were expecting. 
  • It was somewhat of a lengthy process so I would not recommend this for a weeknight fix.

Below you’ll find the complete recipe and process compliments of America’s Test Kitchen.

Chicken Tikka Masala…It’s What’s For Dinner.

One Year Ago: Creamed Olive Soup and Salad

America’s Test Kitchen Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 4 to 6

This dish is best when prepared with whole-milk yogurt, but low-fat yogurt can be substituted. For a spicier dish, do not remove the ribs and seeds from the chile. If you prefer, substitute 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper for the garam masala. The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken. Serve with basmati rice.

Chicken Tikka

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (see note above)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 

Masala Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1-1/4 cups)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh Serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note above)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (see note above)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.

2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.

3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

Yellow Curry Chicken

November 17, 2010 at 7:58 am | Posted in Chicken, Quick and Easy | 33 Comments
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Curry, an explosion of flavors and an easy weeknight fix. 

In my pantry, you’ll always find a supply of coconut milk and cans of bamboo shoots and water chestnuts just standing by to be basic ingredients for a curry dish. Just add some meat, whatever vegetables you’ve got on hand (well maybe not a turnip) some cilantro and you’ve got a quick and scrumptious meal in no time. If you happen to have a lime as well, even better. I don’t know how many times I’ve said “I don’t know how I ever lived without coconut milk, cilantro, lime and curry.”  And then I see many of you commenting that you flat out “don’t like curry”!  Are you a curry lover or hater?  I’m a lover so let’s take a look at my latest dish.

As you can see during my last trip to HMart, I went a little wild grabbing curries. I’m really anxious to compare the different flavor styles. The Yellow is Southern Thai and recommended to use with chicken, the Massaman is Southern Thai as well and is recommended with beef. Panang is a Laotian curry and milder in flavor.  The Red Curry is a stronger and hotter mixture that I think sounds great for a pork dish.  

So far, the two that I’ve opened, the Yellow and the Panang are packaged inside the cardboard round packaging in a plastic pouch and are thick moist offerings of exotic curry paste. Much different from the curry powder I’ve bought from Safeway that is a yellow powder combination but similar to the Thai Kitchen brands I’ve bought in small jars at Whole Foods.

Yellow Chicken Curry:

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed and sautéed until almost done
  • 1/2 small sweet onion, quartered
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 basil leaves, cut in thin strips
  • 2 T yellow curry
  • 1/2 C. pineapple chunks
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1/2 C. frozen peas
  • 1 lime
  • chopped cashews and cilantro for garnish
  • 3 C. steamed jasmine rice

I thought this was busy enough, so didn’t add either bamboo shoots or water chestnuts.

Start cooking the Jasmine rice according to package instructions. 

In a big skillet heat about 1/8 c. oil and add cubed chicken. Add the onion and carrot and cook until chicken is almost done.  In a sauce pan, add the coconut milk and the curry and bring to a simmer. Transfer the chicken, onion and carrots to the curry and milk. Simmer on low for about 5 – 10 minutes,  making sure that the flavors are blending.

Add the water, peas, basil ribbons (or dried basil) and  pineapple and cook until heated through.  At the end add a squeeze of lime juice and zest from 1/2 of the lime.

Spoon rice into a couple of bowls and spoon chicken curry mixture over rice. Garnish with cilantro and chopped cashews and enjoy.

In my photo of the dish, I didn’t spoon a lot of the curry mixture over the rice. I guess I thought I needed to show the rice in case you didn’t believe it was under there…or something!  The final dish offers twice that much curry over the rice.  Serves 2 (with leftovers for lunch the next day)

The flavors of yellow curry are exquisite. Every bite is a savory treat. And with the sweet pineapple this dish is truly a treat. Chopped sweet potato is also a very good substitution for the sweet pineapple.   

And it was on the dinner table in around 30 minutes.

Yellow Curry Chicken…It’s What’s For Dinner.

A New Mexico Inspired Sandwich

November 13, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Chicken, Mexican/Southwest, Sandwiches | 42 Comments
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Ever been to Santa Fe? Even though it’s just a hop skip and jump away from Denver, it’s been years since we’ve been. It’s a wonderful town bustling with lots of art and unique New Mexican cuisine. 

But wait a minute, just what makes New Mexico style food different from Tex-Mex or Mexican?

This popular form of southwest cuisine  is very different. Its most defining characteristic is the dominance of the New Mexican chile, the state’s largest agricultural crop.

In New Mexico, the green chile is an ingredient in everything from enchiladas and burritos to cheeseburgers, french fries, bagels, and even pizza. The most famous of these New Mexico grown chiles is the Hatch chile from Hatch, New Mexico.

I read that before the arrival of Europeans, New Mexico’s current borders overlapped the areas of the Navajo, Mescalero, and Chiricahua tribes. The Spaniards brought their cuisine which mingled with the indigenous dishes and flavors. At the end of the Mexican-American War, New Mexico became part of the United States, and was strongly influenced by incoming U.S. tastes. This history combined with the local terrain and climate has resulted in its significant differences and is what makes New Mexican cuisine unique.

New Mexico has bragging rights for bringing us the blue corn tortilla, the stacked enchilada, green chile and sopapillas.  

For a gift last Christmas, I received this wonderful cookbook full of unique recipes from Cafe Pasqual’s, a popular restaurant in Santa Fe. Cafe Pasqual’s has been in business over 30 years, is located in downtown Santa and specializes in Old Mexico, New Mexico and Asian cuisine.

This is a great little cookbook, full of wonderful recipes, beautiful tinted photographs and Mexican art throughout.

Let’s take a look at a sandwich inspired from this cookbook.

This recipe focuses on the Chimayo chile pepper named for the town where it’s grown…Chimayo, New Mexico.  It’s slightly hotter than a cayenne pepper. 

First off, I baked a loaf of corn bread to use as the base. This isn’t your normal fall apart corn bread, but more the consistency of a dense style bread, calling for more flour than corn meal. Add some fresh corn, yeast, cream and the unique flavor of the Chimayo chile pepper and you’ve got a flavorful bread on which to build the sandwich.

Taking a slice of bread, I smeared it with some Hatch chile mayonnaise. Simply some mayonnaise blended with cilantro and chopped Hatch Chiles and of course a sprinkle of the Chimayo Chile Powder.  Every year I buy a few bags of freshly roasted Hatch chiles and they’re tucked away in the freezer to use in dishes all winter long.

The sandwich is then topped with shredded cooked chicken breast which has been marinating in olive oil and garlic for 24 hours.

Over the chicken breast spoon on some carmelized onions and jalapenos. For this I sliced one large sweet yellow onion, sautéed it in olive oil for about 20 minutes. I then added in three sliced jalapenos sprinkled all with about two tablespoons sugar and cooked for an additional seven minutes.

Topped with some shredded Manchego cheese and popped under the broiler for a few minutes and you’ve got a wonderful ooey-gooey tasty New Mexico inspired sandwich. The star of this sandwich was the flavor of the corn bread. The bread is sweet and with the earthy heat and flavor from the Chimayo chile you’ll be finding yourself wanting to dig through your jewelry box to find that turquoise bracelet to wear.

And you cannot ignore those carmelized onions and jalapenos. What  a wonderful flavor combination, especially with the melted Manchego cheese melting in between the rings of flavor.

Served with some sliced mangos sprinkled with Znax2Go. Znax2Go is a seasoning that you sprinkle over fruits or vegetables, a delicious combination of hot chile powder and sugar. I think it’s great on mangos.

New Mexico Sandwich…It’s What’s For Dinner.

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