© 2013 REMCooks.com

Ancho Crusted Chicken Breast atop Green Chile Goat Cheese Grits Topped with a Cilantro Cream Sauce and Roasted Pipitas

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

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.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

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.

Ingredients

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
© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Instruction

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.

© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

Add oregano

© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

Now the cumin

© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

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

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Stir and add the goat cheese.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

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.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer until reduced by 50%. Add the cilantro.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Now add the cream.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

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.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Add 3 Tbsp olive oil to a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts to skillet.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Cook over medium-high heat for roughly 2 minutes to get a nice crust. Turn.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Cook for another 2 minutes and then place in a 350 F oven to finish the cooking.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

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.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

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.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

To Plate

Slice chicken

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Place a generous spoonful of grits on the plate.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Place the sliced chicken on top of the grits.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Add green beans to plate

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Spoon cilantro cream sauce over the chicken

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Finish with roasted pipitas.

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com

Serve & enjoy!

© 2013 REMCooks.com
© 2013 REMCooks.com
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16 thoughts on “Ancho Crusted Chicken Breast atop Green Chile Goat Cheese Grits Topped with a Cilantro Cream Sauce and Roasted Pipitas”

  1. You know.. when it takes that long to read the title of a recipe.. that it’s going to be fantastic. I’m glad you were out of avocado, or you wouldn’t have made this dish. It would be perfect for a chilly March evening. The weather has been wonky here as well.. anything from plus 15 down to minus 5 and it’s so unpredictable, it’s maddening! Happy Easter!!

    1. Hi, Barbara. Thanks for the nice compliment and Happy Easter to you, too. 🙂 I’m sure you have some special Easter treat for tomorrow. Hopefully, you will have a pleasant day, preferably above freezing. We’re back in the low 70s but torrential rainfall is expected early this morning. 😮

  2. Delicious. If only I could swap you some Aussie sunshine for those fabulous. Roasted green chilies. Believe it of not, we’re still in the process of firing up the BBQ, swimming at the beach and light seafood lunches (most days.) I think your Jack Frost might have for confused and lost his way via the Southern Hemisphere here.
    Not to worry though, because your delicious grits-polenta has given me so enew ideas for spicing things up when that cool weather hits. Believe it or not, I’m terribly boring with my choices of polenta. It’s either cheesy & creamy, or served fries. I’d never thought to add chillies or other herbs and I can see with a nice smokey, spiced chicken it can definitely work. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Alice. We like polenta and green chiles and corn are a perfect combination. The added goat cheese provides a little creaminess and bite to the polenta. This goes remarkably well with eggs, too, which is generally what we do with the leftovers. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Scribbler. 🙂 I didn’t like grits when I was growing up because they were always very bland. One day, someone put some cheese in the grits and my concept of grits changed. Now, I realize how versatile they are and we do a lot of different things with them.

  3. I’m with barb. Thank goodness you ran out of avocado! This sure is one flavorful dish you created, Richard, and, as you say, perfect for a chilly morning. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, John. Timing on avocados is everything and it clearly wasn’t time as this dish was incredibly good. This may be a little too spicy for you but you can substitute the mild Hatch chiles or even Anaheims. Knowing how much you love polenta, this dish would be right up your alley.

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