I’m officially back in the saddle again. I made dinner last night from start to finish, no pre-bought products, brand new recipe. And it was deliciously satisfying and perfectly, boldly flavorful. Just how I like it. The recipe? A result of my newest magazine subscription, Fine Cooking.
The Southwestern flavor combos were enough to entice me away from my recently meatless cravings. It’s been awhile since I stopped obsessively buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts and freezing them. In fact, these were the only ones in the freezer but by gosh, by golly lucky me they were there when I was ready to come back to them!
This meal comes together quickly and smoothly, as long as you set up your dredging stations ahead of time. I HATE when I cut up chicken and then have to wash my hands to dole out flour and spices onto separate places, only to re-chicken gunk my hands when I go to do the dipping and patting. Every time this happens to me (like recently when I was cooking with Kim and threw out an egg yolk only find I needed an extra egg yolk later on in the recipe) I can just hear my mom in my head saying, “Well, didn’t you read the whole recipe before starting?” No mom, I didn’t. I am a Home Ec failure.
Making this recipe I managed to avoid that internal monologue, only to have it replaced by the one where she says, “Didn’t you know to wash your hands right after cutting jalapenos?” Yes mom, I did know but that doesn’t mean I did it and it doesn’t stop my upper lip from burning now. My mom speaks to me often in the kitchen, despite the fact that I pretty much refused to have anything to do with cooking anything other than Chocolate Chip Cookies growing up. Does your mom speak to you? Does it happen anywhere specific? Well, I am speaking to you to say “Go make this recipe now! It’s good.” (*unless you are my mother-in-law and then you shouldn’t because one bite of this and you will faint from spice).
Tex-Mex Chicken with Chiles and Cheese
Originally adapted from Fine Cooking 99, p. 86. I lowered the amount of butter and upped the amount of corn because we like corn and I wasn’t serving no carb-heavy side dish! Next time I’d add even more so there.
1-1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 medium jalapeño, seeded if desired and thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2–3 medium limes, 1 or 2 juiced to yield 3 Tbs. and 1 cut into wedges
1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
Position a rack about 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler to high. Toss the chicken with the chili powder, cumin, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off any excess.
Melt 1-1/2 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 Tbs. butter, the corn, jalapeño, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, until the corn begins to brown lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken, lime juice, oregano, and 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the Cheddar and transfer the skillet to the broiler. Broil until the cheese melts and browns on top, about 3 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.
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