Monday, March 28, 2011

Not Your Mama's Chicken!

Tonight I made a Jalapeno Cheddar Crusted Chicken from a recipe I found in a magazine. I served it with fresh guacamole and refried beans. I didn't actually do anything fancy with the beans. They were the canned variety that I found at the wonderful Buford Highway Farmer's Market. This is a great place to wander around if you get a chance! I can find any excuse to make some guacamole. I LOVE it! But I like mine fresh, the store bought kind just doesn't cut it. It's also fun to make it when you have a mortar and pestle. This isn't your usual breaded chicken. There are a lot of flavors in this mix. It's kind of like a flavor explosion in your mouth...not for those with simple tastes. The only thing that I would do differently next time is to serve it with some sort of a sauce, perhaps a poblano sour cream. Please excuse the messy pictures!

Beans, beans, the musical fruit...

 4 Hass avocados
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
1/4 onion, diced
1 to 2 (depends on the level of spice you like) jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 dashes of hot sauce
1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt

Place avocado slices in the stone bowl and mash. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Season to taste and serve with thick/durable tortilla chips.

Crispy Cheddar & Jalapeno Coasted Chicken Breasts
Serves 4


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup plain yogurt (I used nonfat but whole milk is preferable)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh Thyme
1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
2 tsp. red chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 cups toasted breadcrumbs (recipe below)
1 1/3 cup coarse crushed tortilla chips
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1/2 to  2/3 cup jalapenos, chopped and patted dry (the canned kind is fine)
1 lime

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Put a flat rack on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
User a meat pounder to lightly pound the chicken breasts between two sheets of saran wrap.
In large bowl, combine the yogurt with half of the thyme, chili powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
In a shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs, jalapenos, cheddar, remaining thyme and chips.
Take one piece of chicken at a time and coat well with yogurt mixture before dredging through the crumbs. Be sure to coat well and press the crumb mixture firmly onto the chicken. 
Transfer chicken to the rack.
Bake chicken until it reaches 165 degrees (about 25 minutes).
Squeeze lime over the finished chicken.

Toasted Breadcrumbs
1/2 lb. fresh white bread (or 4 cups of fresh bread crumbs)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt 

Tear apart bread and crumble in food processor into coarse crumbs.  Pour crumbs into large mixing bowl. Toss with oil and salt.

Pour crumbs into a large saucpan and heat over high heat until browned. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for another 6 minutes. Cool before using to coat chicken.

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