August 24, 2010

Jen's Spicy Green Chile & Cheese Chicken

In an effort to buy more high quality food and organics, I decided to do my weekly grocery shopping at Whole Foods Market. I definitely spent more money than usual, but the quality was uncompromising. All of their food and produce was --in a word-- beautiful. Seriously, the trip and extra money was well worth it. It was actually a pleasure to buy such gorgeous and supremely fresh fruits, veggies, cheese, and meats. I only wish we had the means to shop there more often.

One of the "scores" I bought at Whole Foods this week was some organic, green Hatch chiles. Fresh Hatch chiles are only around once a year, so I pounced. They were simply too good to pass up. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them, so I held onto my bounty for a couple of days. I needed to buy myself some time so I could formulate a green chile plan. I ended up fire-roasting them and concocting this yummy, spicy chicken. Let me tell you, they whole dish was delicious! A simple side salad and some refried beans rounded out our green chile feast. The good news is that I only used half of my chiles for this recipe and the rest will be devoted to another meal! Hooray for Whole Foods and their awesome fresh, organic products.

Jen's Spicy Green Chile & Cheese Chicken

cooking spray
1/2 packet of taco seasoning
4 fresh, whole, roasted green Hatch chiles, cut into strips (see below for instructions) OR use whole canned green chiles
2 large organic chicken breasts
2 ounces of goat cheese, divided
1/2 cup of Monterrey Jack cheese, divided
salt to taste
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of lime juice
chopped cilantro, for garnish
chopped green onion, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray large, oven-safe, skillet or pan with a lid (it just needs to be able to go from stove top to oven) with cooking spray.

Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with the taco seasoning and a little salt to taste. Heat pan over medium-high heat and brown both sides of the chicken, until nice crust is formed. Pour water and lime juice into the pan, scraping all the browned bits that have formed on the bottom and incorporating into the liquid. Reduce liquid by half and remove from heat.

Place 1 ounce of goat cheese on the top of each breast. Blanket the goat cheese with the green chile strips. Cover and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly. When the time is up, test the chicken for doneness and remove from the oven. Off the heat, sprinkle each cooked chicken breast with 1/4 cup of Jack cheese; over top of the green chile layer. Place lid back on pan and let chicken rest for 5 minutes. When time has elapsed, remove lid and the cheese should be completely melted. Top each portion with some fresh chopped cilantro and green onions. Serve immediately.

Jen's Notes:
This recipe can be easily adjusted to yield more servings. We only have 2 adults and 1 child eating dinner right now, so I have written the recipe as I actually prepared it (i.e. suited for my family's portion sizes). This dish is pretty spicy if you decide to use fresh Hatch chiles as I have done. You could substitute whole canned chiles for a much more mild effect.

Also, here is a tutorial on How To Roast Chiles.

The Result:
This was lip-tinglingly spicy and delicious. I ended up removing the green chiles from the top of my son's chicken, so it would be a little more kid-friendly. The flavor was outstanding, but I would go easy on the chiles if you are not spicy food fanatics like we tend to be. The beans, Jack cheese, and creamy goat cheese gave a perfect counterbalance to the roasted chiles. So yummy! This is certainly a dish I will keep in my repertoire. I can't wait to experiment some more with my yummy roasted Hatch chiles.

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