Saturday, January 3, 2015

Green Chili Popper Chicken


What better way to start the new year than with a POP!  And, in this case, of course I'm talking about my Green Chili Popper Chicken!  If the thought of jalapeno poppers and green chili's make your mouth water than this is the recipe for you! 
I made this last night and it was sooo good!  This was my first time cooking with tomatillos and will certainly not be my last!  I have wanted to try making a green sauce for quite some time and this pairs well with the creamy spicy goodness of the popperness (yes, I went there making up a word!) inside the chicken.

How can you go wrong with all this Mexican green beauty?! 
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.  While that is heating up, get a cookie sheet and chopping board.
Here are the veggie marching orders....cut your tomatillos in half, cut the large onion in half and then cut each half into about 4 big chunks, cut the 3 jalapenos in half, cut Anaheim peppers in half and in big chunks, crush your garlic cloves and throw everything on the cookie sheet.  Drizzle with the canola oil and season with salt and pepper.  Put in the oven for 20 minutes.
While that is cooking we are going to prepare the popper filling for the chicken.  Who doesn't love jalapeno poppers?!  Begin by placing the softened cream cheese in a large bowl. 
Cut your jalapeno peppers in half and remove the seeds.  You can leave them in if you like it spicy but remember there are jalapenos in the sauce too so you judge.  If I was making just for me I would leave them in but some of my family would cry me a river if I did so I took them out of the filling.  Finely dice the two jalapeno peppers and add them to the cream cheese.  Add 2 teaspoons garlic powder.  Next put in the bacon.  Everything is better with bacon.  I know everyone says that but they say it because it's true!  Lastly, roughly chop about a third cup of cilantro and add it in.

Thoroughly mix to combine everything.  I could probably eat this right out of the bowl knowing what's in there but will resist the temptation!
Next, carefully slice each chicken breast horizontally in the middle of the breast to create a pocket for all that popperness to nestle in and get comfortable.
I place roughly 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the filling in each pocket depending on the size of the chicken breast.  Place each stuffed breast in a deep lasagna dish and then season the tops with salt and pepper.  It's important to season every layer of this dish.
By now the Mexican green beauties should be done.  Pull them out of the oven and get your food processer ready.
Slide all that juicy goodness from the cookie sheet into the food processer.  Squeeze the juice of one lime in there.  Add one heaping teaspoon of cumin. 
Add the roughly chopped cilantro...
Pour in the one cup of chicken stock.
Pulse several times so it is a chunky sauce.  Oh my this smells SO good!  This makes a lot of sauce but the good news is you can save the extra to smother over something else (like breakfast, lunch, snacks and anything else that comes my way!).
Pour 2-3 cups over the chicken until they are fully covered.  I swear I could hear the chicken singing "It IS easy being green"...slightly different version of Kermit's classic.  I'm not judging them, they are happy to be bathed in this verde Jacuzzi and I completely understand!
Place the baking dish in the 400 degree oven and cook for 45 minutes.
Plate with your favorite rice dish, a smattering of fresh cilantro leaves and a couple of lime wedges.  Then dig in and savor each delicious bite!  Enjoy my friends!

GREEN CHILI POPPER CHICKEN:
Sauce:
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1 large whole onion
1-1/2 lbs tomatillos, skins removed
3 jalapeno peppers
3 large Anaheim peppers
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
salt and pepper for seasoning
juice from one lime
1 heaping teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chicken stock

6 Chicken Breasts, skinless and boneless
salt and pepper for seasoning

Popper Filling:
2 8 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 cup crumbled bacon (about 3 pieces cooked and roughly chopped)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400. 

Get out a cookie sheet and cutting board. 
Here are the veggie marching orders....cut your tomatillos in half, cut the large onion in half and then cut each half into about 4 big chunks, cut the 3 jalapenos in half, cut Anaheim peppers in half and in big chunks, crush your garlic cloves and throw everything on the cookie sheet.  Drizzle with the canola oil and season with salt and pepper.  Put in the oven for 20 minutes.

While that is cooking we are going to prepare the popper filling for the chicken.  Place the softened cream cheese in a large bowl.  Cut your jalapeno peppers in half and remove the seeds.  You can leave them in if you like it spicy but remember there are jalapenos in the sauce too so you judge.  Finely dice the two jalapeno peppers and add them to the cream cheese.  Add 2 teaspoons garlic powder.  Next put in the bacon.  Lastly, roughly chop about a third cup of cilantro and add it in.  Thoroughly mix to combine everything.

Next, carefully slice each chicken breast horizontally in the middle of the breast to create a pocket for all that popperness to nestle in and get comfortable.  I place roughly 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the filling in each pocket depending on the size of the chicken breast.  Place each stuffed breast in a deep lasagna dish and then season the tops with salt and pepper.  It's important to season every layer of this dish.

By now the Mexican green beauties should be done.  Pull them out of the oven and get your food processer ready.  Slide all that juicy goodness from the cookie sheet into the food processer.  Squeeze the juice of one lime in there.  Add one heaping teaspoon of cumin.  Add the roughly chopped cilantro and pour in the chicken stock. 

Pulse several times so it is a chunky sauce.  This makes a lot of sauce but the good news is you will have leftovers to pour over some of your favorite other dishes!  Pour 2-3 cups over the chicken until they are fully covered.  Place the baking dish in the 400 degree oven and cook for 45 minutes.

Plate with your favorite rice dish, a smattering of fresh cilantro leaves and a couple of lime wedges.  Then dig in and savor each delicious bite!  Enjoy my friends!

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