Chipotle Chicken & Greens

For years, this was my go-to dish for guests. I’m not sure why I decided to branch out… It is SO delicious! I’ve been making it since 1999! Crazy. I think that this dish started my love of creme fraiche. It is a good meal to serve for company because the chicken is prepared hours in advance and broiled just before serving.

This recipe was adapted from Rick Bayless, via Martha Stewart Living. I updated this version to use chicken thighs instead of breasts and to include an entire 1 1/2 pound bag of “power greens” (baby kale, chard, and spinach) or two bunches (or more!) of rainbow chard. It would be wonderful with any combination of greens. I serve it with Cilantro-Lime Brown Basmati rice to soak up the wonderful sauce.

I’m sharing these creamy greens at my favorite blog party, Angie’s Fiesta Friday #137, this week (I’m featured BTW!) co-hosted by Loretta @Safari of the Mind and Natalie @Kitchen, Uncorked. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 6

For the Chicken:

  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons) (see Note)
  • 7.5 oz (about 1 cup) creme fraiche
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 12 cups) fresh greens such as baby kale, chard or spinach, stems removed, well rinsed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Cilantro-Lime Rice:

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup brown Basmati Rice
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2-3 T chopped cilantro leaves
  1. Two to Three Hours before cooking, make the marinade: Start by finely chopping the chipotle chiles in a mini food processor.
  2. Place the chopped chipotles and 2 tablespoons creme fraiche in a small bowl, and mix to combine.
  3. Lightly season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the seasoned chicken in a large bowl, and pour the chipotle mixture over it, making sure to coat the chicken well. Cover with plastic wrap, and transfer dish to the refrigerator. Marinate the chicken 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Prepare the rice: Bring the 2 cups of stock to a boil; add rice and cover. Turn heat to low and cook, undisturbed, for 30 to 35 minutes.
  6. Heat the broiler. Place the chicken on a rimmed sheet pan just large enough to accommodate them. Place the pan 6 inches away from the broiler, and broil chicken until deep brown in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
  7. Remove pan from broiler. Turn chicken thighs, and drizzle remaining creme fraiche along with the 1/2 cup heavy cream around the chicken.
  8. Return the pan to the broiler, and broil until chicken is deep golden and no longer squishy when you lightly press it with your finger, 6 to 7 minutes more.
  9. Transfer the chicken to a warm plate, and place in a warm oven or warming drawer.
  10. Scrape the cream mixture from the pan into a 4-quart sauté pan.
  11. Add the chicken stock and half of the greens. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the greens have started to wilt and the cream has reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes, adding the rest of the greens as room is created in the pan.
  12. Season the creamy greens mixture with salt, to taste.
  13. Finish the Rice: After the rice has completely cooked, remove from heat. Add lime juice and cilantro. Mix to combine.
  14. Place rice over the surface of a serving platter. Top with the creamy greens and the broiled chicken. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Note: If you don’t care for very spicy dishes, you can reduce the heat by splitting the peppers in half and scraping out the seeds with the back of a knife before chopping.

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Braised Butternut Squash & Bacon Tacos with Arugula

I know that “Taco Tuesday” is a popular dinner plan… It is just a plan that doesn’t work with my kids’ after school schedule. 😦 We are trying to have “Soup Tuesday” because everyone has to eat at different times! So, the exciting new plan is to have “Taco Wednesday” – with enough time for my to execute my “Taco Tuesday” recipe from Rick Bayless. 😉 Great!

These are wonderful winter tacos featuring one of my favorite combinations- butternut squash and bacon. The tomatillo-chipotle sauce was an added bonus. (as was the arugula!) This recipe was adapted from RickBayless.com. I modified the plating, doubled the recipe, and increased the garlic. Yummy!

I’m sharing my “Taco Wednesday” dish at Fiesta Friday #105 this week! 😉 Hosted by Lily @ Little Sweet Baker and Julianna @ Foodie on Board. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 6

  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 6 to 8 medium (about 1 pound) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half across the equator
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, stemmed
  • 1 small (2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 6 cups of chunks)
  • 4 oz (5 thick strips) bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • Generous handful fresh watercress or wild arugula
  • 12 to 16 corn tortillas
  1. Set a large (12-inch) skillet (nonstick or lined with foil) over medium-high heat and lay in the garlic and tomatillos (cut side down). When the tomatillos are well browned and soft, 5 to 6 minutes, flip everything over and brown the other side. (The garlic should be soft.) Cool, then peel the garlic.
  2. In a blender, combine the peeled garlic, tomatillos, stemmed chipotles and 2 cups water. Blend to a coarse puree. (I used a Vitamix.)
  3. Scoop the butternut pieces into a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the top and microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes. (I used a silicone steaming lid instead of plastic wrap.)
  4. Meanwhile, in a large (12-inch) skillet set over medium, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Add the butternut and tomatillo sauce to the pan, raise the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a brisk simmer.
  6. Cook until the butternut is fork-tender and the sauce has reduced by about half its volume, about 20 minutes.
  7. Taste and season with salt (it will need only about 1/2 teaspoon because of the bacon’s saltiness).
  8. Using a tortilla warmer, or a plate covered with plastic wrap, cover the tortillas with a damp paper towel. Warm the corn tortillas in a microwave for 1 minute.
  9. Top each tortilla with a generous sprinkling of arugula or watercress. Scoop the hot topping over the top and finish with a  sprinkling of the goat cheese.

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Slow Cooker Pork Tinga Tacos

Meat and potatoes… in a TACO!?!? This may have been my husband’s dream dinner. 🙂 The chipotles and slow cooker cooking were for me! This filling could also be served on its own as a chili. This recipe is from Rick Bayless’ Mexico- One Plate at a Time, Season 7, via rickbayless.com. Delicious!!!

Yield: 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 pound lean, boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 ounces chorizo sausage, about 1 link, removed from its casing
  • 5 to 6 medium (about 3/4 to 1 pound total) red-skinned potatoes, quartered
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, sliced 1/4–inch thick
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
  • 2 to 3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, finely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons chipotle canning sauce (adobo)
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • coarse salt
  • About 1/2 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese like feta or salted pressed farmers cheese
  • 1 avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and diced
  • warm corn tortillas, for serving
  1. If your slow cooker has an insert that can go on the stovetop, heat the oil in it over medium-high heat. (If it cannot go on the stove or you do not have a removable insert heat the oil in a very large (12-inch) non-stick skillet.) Once the oil is very hot, add the pork and chorizo in a single layer and cook, stirring until the meat has browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and place the insert into your slow cooker (if you’re using a skillet, transfer the meat and its juices into the slow cooker).
  2. Add the potatoes, onions, garlic, tomatoes with their liquid, chipotles, chipotle sauce, Worcestershire, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to mix thoroughly. Cook at the highest temperature.
  3. The tinga will be finished after 6 hours at the highest temperature, though you can hold it for longer. (My slow-cooker can be programmed to switch from high after 6 hours to a keep-warm low temperature for up to another 6 hours. Some slow cookers click to keep-warm automatically; others need to be switched manually.)
  4. After six hours, gently stir the tinga. If the sauce seems too thick, stir in a little water. Taste, and season with salt if you think the dish needs it. Scoop into a large bowl, sprinkle with the fresh cheese and diced avocado, and serve with warm tortillas.

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Two Years Ago:

Dark Meat Chicken Chili

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This chili has an incredible rich flavor. The chicken is browned and then braised and both dried and smoked chiles are used instead of chili powder. Not too spicy- just absolutely delicious!!

This recipe was adapted from a dark meat turkey chili in Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I substituted boneless, skinless, chicken thighs for turkey drumsticks and adjusted the cooking times. We ate it with all of the toppings (of course) as well as with cornbread on the side (in Pullman loaf form!). Perfect for any cold day- or for the Super Bowl. 🙂

Yield: 8 Servings

  • 2 guajillo chiles, stems removed
  • 1 ancho chile, stem removed
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, plus 1 Tbsp. adobo
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 12-oz. can Pilsner or other light beer
  • 2 15-oz. cans pinto beans, rinsed
  • Lime wedges, sour cream, chopped red onion, chopped fresh cilantro, and sliced avocado (for serving)
  1. Toast guajillo and ancho chiles in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, tossing, until darkened in color and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add 1 cup boiling water. Let sit 10 minutes.
  2. Add chipotle chile and adobo to the soaked dried chiles and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Set chile purée aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Working in batches if needed, cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add onion and garlic to same pot; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, 8–10 minutes.
  5. Mix in cocoa, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until onion is coated and paste begins to darken, about 2 minutes. Add reserved chile purée and bring to boil.
  7. Continue to cook, stirring, until thickened and darkened in color, about 3 minutes.
  8. Add tomatoes, beer, and 4 cups water; season with salt and return chicken to pot. Bring to a boil.
  9. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered, until meat is tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and let cool slightly. Shred meat and return to pot.
  10. Add beans and simmer, adding more water as needed, until meat is beginning to fall apart and beans are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes; season chili with salt.
  11. Serve chili with lime wedges, sour cream, red onion, chopped cilantro, and sliced avocado.

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Two Years Ago:

Mexican-Style Chicken over Penne

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Chipotles, Cheese, Chicken Thighs… mmm… this dish could have just as easily been a taco or burrito filling, but we ate it over penne. 🙂 I had to make a Mexican dish to enjoy my new margarita glasses in the warmer weather! This dish was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Melissa Rubel Jacobson. I used a combination of cheeses and increased the amount of chicken, garlic, corn, and cheese in the dish.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pound penne rigate (I used whole wheat)
  •  5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch dice
  •  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  •  One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  •  1 large chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and minced, plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  •  1/4 pound queso fresco, queso blanco and/or mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (1 1/3 cups)
  •  1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until al dente. Drain the penne.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened and the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, chipotle and adobo sauce and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the corn, season with salt and pepper and cook until the corn is heated through, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the penne and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the sauce and toss to coat. Add 1 cup of the cheese and toss.
  6. Transfer the pasta to bowls, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the cilantro and serve.

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Chicken Chili with Chipotle and Poblano Chiles

This is my favorite chicken chili, although I have struggled in the past with the spiciness level for guests. I worry it will be too spicy….such a stress!! 🙂 I think that I finally got it just right this time. It has a perfect balance of spiciness complemented by the toppings and added rice.

It is fun to serve chili to guests with multiple topping choices. This chili is wonderful topped with any combination of diced red onions, sour cream, grated Monterey Jack cheese, avocado, and fresh cilantro. We also had rice, tortilla chips, and corn bread on the side.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. Perfect on a cold day.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 

  • 2 poblano chiles
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, stemmed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano or oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried epazote or 3T fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 3 fifteen-ounce cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 fifteen-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese, for serving (optional)
  • diced red onion, for serving (optional)
  • fresh cilantro leaves, for serving (optional)
  • sour cream, for serving (optional)
  • sliced or diced avocado, for serving (optional)
  • tortilla chips, for serving (optional)
  • rice, for serving, if desired (I served brown Basmati rice)
  • cornbread, for serving, if desired

  1. Heat broiler. Toast poblano chiles until fragrant and beginning to blacken. Remove, cover to steam, and let stand until cool enough to handle.
  2. Peel, stem and remove ribs from toasted poblanos.
  3. Toast cumin seeds in a skillet, shaking skillet constantly, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder, and grind until fine. Set aside.
  4. Tear cleaned poblano chiles into pieces, and place in the jar of a blender. Add chicken stock and stemmed chipotle in adobo sauce. Puree, and set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add chicken, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the exterior turns white, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add reserved ground cumin, oregano, epazote (or cilantro), and ground chipotle chile powder; cook 5 minutes more.
  8. Stir in the stock mixture, beans, and tomatoes.
  9. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until flavors have married and liquid is thickened and reduced, about 40 minutes.
  10. Serve immediately over rice and/or with corn bread, as desired. Pass cheese, onion, cilantro, sour cream, avocado, and tortilla strips on the side as optional toppings.

Smoky Tomatillo Salsa

Smoky Tomatillo Salsa

This is an AMAZING salsa. I made it as a topping for No-Bake Vegetarian Enchiladas, but it would be great for any dish with Mexican flavors. We need to make it for our next taco night- even though roasting and charring the vegetables set off my smoke detector! The results were worth it. 🙂 This recipe is from Food and Wine, contributed by Josef Centeno.

  • 2 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 medium tomato (I used 2)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • Hot water
  • 1 cup lightly packed cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt
1. Preheat the oven to 500°. On a baking sheet, toss the tomatillos, tomato, onion and serrano with the oil. Roast for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are browned in spots and softened slightly. Let cool, then chop.
Smoky Tomatillo Salsa
2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, cover the chipotles with hot water and let stand until softened, 15 minutes. Transfer the chiles and 1/4 cup of their liquid to a food processor and puree.
3. Add the chopped vegetables to the processor and pulse until the salsa is nearly smooth. Add the cilantro and lime juice and pulse until the cilantro is minced. Season the salsa with salt, transfer to a bowl and serve.

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