Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cheesy Salsa Chicken

My office was closed on Monday so it's a short week. And even though today feels like Wednesday because it's my third day of work after the weekend, it's actually Thursday, which is awesome. It's a good feeling knowing that the weekend is just barely out of reach. I'm also super excited because I finally get to share this awesome cheesy salsa chicken. It's been queued up to go for a few weeks now and I'm so happy it's finally being posted because it's delicious and I want everyone to try it.

This dish was total improvisation. I was making rice and beans for dinner. I needed a protein. We had three pathetic chicken thighs in the fridge and I thought I would just grill them, slice them, and put them alongside the rice and beans. But, as I was grabbing the chicken from the meat drawer, I noticed cheddar cheese and salsa on the shelf and thought I'd perform a little experiment. I decided to cook the chicken in the salsa and then I shredded it so that it would seem like there was more meat than there actually was and then I topped the whole thing with cheese.

It ended up being really delicious (how could it not be?). So, just a few days after the initial experiment, I whipped it up again and documented it so I could share! I had a hard time deciding what to call this dish because it's totally made up and doesn't really resemble anything typical. So, I just decided to describe the three main ingredients through the title, which makes it super self-explanatory.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
2 lbs chicken thighs (about 6 thighs)
2 teaspoons oil (olive, canola, vegetable)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 jar tomato salsa (16 oz.)
¼ cup tomato sauce
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
+ chopped cilantro
+ lime wedges

Heat up a skillet over a medium high flame. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and add in the onions, garlic, and poblano peppers. Cook until the onions are softened and just starting to get some color.
Push the onions and peppers around to the edges of the pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and snuggle them into the pan, inside the ring of onions. Let them cook for about 5 minutes until they start to brown. Flip the chicken over and then pour the salsa and tomato sauce right over the top. Reduce the heat to medium low, pop a lid on the pan, and let the chicken cook for 15 minutes.
Once the chicken is cooked through, grab two forks and start shredding the chicken. Cook 5 to 10 minutes longer and let the sauce reduce and get thick. Just before serving, sprinkle the cheese over the chicken.
I like to stir in about half of the cheese and then sprinkle the rest on top.
Finish this deliciousness off by sprinkling some chopped cilantro over the top and giving the whole thing a quick squeeze of lime. Ugh, I love this photo because the chicken is still bubbling and it looks awesome.
This stuff is bangin', y'all. The chicken is tender and spicy and amazing. The salsa and onions and poblano and garlic add so much flavor and the ooey gooey cheese is so good.
I like an extra squeeze of fresh lime. A little behind the scenes info: I dropped this lime as I was trying to squeeze it and take a snap. You can't see it, but the back of the lime in the photo below is covered in sauce. Whoops!
You know what? This chicken would also be delicious over nachos or inside of a burrito. Hm, maybe that's what I'll do this weekend.
The leftovers can also be used to make a fantastic breakfast.
A few diced potatoes, diced chorizo, the leftover chicken, two nests for eggs, and voila, breakfast is served!
A delicate sprinkling of cilantro and a side of ice cold watermelon is lovely.
A delicate sprinkling of cilantro turned into a generous handful for me because I love cilantro that much. I also gave my plate a generous dousing of hot sauce. This totally hits the spot. I would eat this for breakfast everyday if I had the time. And the ability to burn fat the way I did in my teens. That second caveat is kind of the deal breaker.
Here's the recipe page:

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