Staying with chiles, this is a wonderful meal, especially on a cold March evening. There is a lot of flavor and texture in this dish.
We simply cannot figure out what’s going on with the weather. After several weeks of beautiful weather with one day reaching 80 F, this week we have 2 days where the low was 29 F! Where did this come from??? Just last weekend I planted a lot of seeds in the garden and seeded basil around one of our oak trees. Go figure. It definitely was not a night for ceviche. Fortunately, I had thawed out a bag of Hatch New Mexico roasted, green chiles. I bought my last 10 lbs of green chiles at the end of October and roasted them all. I vacuum sealed them all and froze them. This is a common and great way of preserving chiles for use during the winter months when fresh chiles aren’t available. Also, we love the flavor and added dimension roasting the chiles brings to the dish. I had thawed out the chiles to remake, document and post an off the cuff dinner we made one night with avocado, roasted chicken, green chile salsa and Monterrey jack cheese.
Looks pretty good doesn’t it? Unfortunately, we keep eating the avocados before we can remake the dish. 😮 So, here we were with thawed out green chiles, no avocado and a freezing cold March evening. As a result, we made this Ancho Crusted Chicken Breast atop Green Chile Goat Cheese Grits with a Cilantro Cream Sauce with Roasted Pipitas instead and we were sure glad we did. It definitely hit the spot.
There is a lot going on in this dish. You get the creaminess of the grits with the flavor of the roasted green chiles and the touch of heat that comes with them. These flavors are coupled with the sweet, earthy, fruity spiciness of the ancho crusted chicken breast. The spiciness is then cooled by the velvety cilantro cream sauce and you get a little textural crunch of the roasted pipitas to set off the creaminess of the grits. We served this with fresh green beans sautéed in the juices from the chicken breasts that tied everything together. You definitely need to give this dish a try! Here is what we did.
For the Chicken Breasts
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 12 oz each
- 2 Tbsp Ancho Chile Rub (recipe found here)
- 2 Tbsp roasted pipitas (pumpkin seeds)
For the Grits
- 1 cup yellow polenta/grits (not instant or quick grits)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 cups water
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano, crushed
- 1 cup roasted New Mexico green chiles, finely chopped
- 6 oz goat cheese
For the Cilantro Cream
- 3 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- 3 Tbsp cilantro, minced
- 1/4 cream
- sea salt and ground white pepper, to taste
- corn starch slurry
For the Green Beans
- 1 lb green beans, cleaned and stemmed
- sea salt, to taste
For the Polenta
Start the polenta first as it will take the most time. Pour water, salt, pepper, butter and heavy cream into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add grits to boiling liquid and decrease heat to low.
Now the cumin
Allow to cook on low heat for 30 – 40 minutes until grits become smooth and tender stirring frequently. You may need to add more liquid in the process. When grits are creamy, smooth and tender add the green chiles
Stir and add the goat cheese.
Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
For the Cilantro Cream Sauce
While the polenta is cooking, start the sauce. Add the chicken stock to a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer until reduced by 50%. Add the cilantro.
Now add the cream.
Thicken with cornstarch slurry (or thickener of your choice), cover and set aside until ready to serve.
For the Chicken
Liberally season the chicken breasts with the ancho chile rub.
Add 3 Tbsp olive oil to a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts to skillet.
Cook over medium-high heat for roughly 2 minutes to get a nice crust. Turn.
Cook for another 2 minutes and then place in a 350 F oven to finish the cooking.
Cook in the oven until done, roughly 8 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 3 – 5 minutes.
For the Green Beans
While the chicken is cooking, blanche the green beans by heating them in a microwave for 1 minute. While the chicken is resting, pour the green beans into the skillet used to cook the chicken. There is great flavor left in the pan and no need to let it go to waste.
Saute the beans in the juices and fats left from the chicken for roughly 3 minutes. You want the beans to be al dente. Season with sea salt to taste.
Place a generous spoonful of grits on the plate.
Place the sliced chicken on top of the grits.
Add green beans to plate
Spoon cilantro cream sauce over the chicken
Finish with roasted pipitas.
Serve & enjoy!