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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Shrimp a La Mexicana Tacos

Let me tell you something… (This information may actually be quite obvious to some of you…) Cooking the shrimp in bacon drippings made this dish ultra-delicious. ULTRA. 🙂

I usually cook bacon in the microwave. (gasp!) I know that this may not be the best cooking method, but, as a complete neat freak, this method does eliminate a major cleanup. Fortunately, I pan-cooked a serious amount of bacon at some point in time and reserved the drippings. Yay! Perfect for these wonderful summertime tacos.

We ate these as a belated Father’s Day celebratory meal with skillet creamed corn, brown rice, and refried beans. The skillet corn consisted of fresh corn kernels which were also sautéed in bacon drippings. The mixture was then combined with a little bit of sour cream and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. SO good.

My husband is a great dad and deserved a super tasty celebration. He always selects his menu and really wanted tacos on his special day for two reasons. Not only does he absolutely love tacos, but, after a thorough search, he gave me fabulous taco racks as part of my birthday gift- he really wanted me to use them ASAP. 😉

He found a local company that makes functional and pretty stainless steel taco racks: www.TacoRack.com. The racks make assembling and serving tacos so much easier. I have always needed such an item in my kitchen! A great birthday gift for me turned into a yummy Father’s Day meal for him. 😉

This recipe was adapted from Rick Bayless.com. Great.

I’m sharing with Angie’s Fiesta Friday #129 co-hosted by Jhuls @The Not so Creative Cook and Colleen @Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 4 generously

  • 3 T lard, vegetable oil, bacon drippings, fat rendered from chorizo, or even butter
  • 3 serrano OR one large jalapeño, stemmed
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 ripe medium-large tomato, cored and diced
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (I used large/21-25 per pound shrimp)
  • a few sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
  • a big squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • 10-12 corn or corn & wheat tortillas, for serving
  1. Melt the lard or other fat in a medium-size skillet set over medium heat.
  2. Seed the chiles then chop them finely and add to the skillet, along with the onion and tomato. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened but is not brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. Add the shrimp to the skillet, letting the shrimp cook until they’re almost done through, about three minutes.
  4. In the meantime, warm the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or on a plate covered by a moist paper towel and plastic wrap. (I place a damp paper towel over the tortillas in my tortilla warmer, cover, and microwave for 1 minute.)
  5. Add a big handful of chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, then scoop into a warm tortilla.

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Oaxacan Pork Picadillo Tacos

This is an easy upgrade to the typical Taco Tuesday ground beef tacos. Rick Bayless uses tomatoes and sweet spices to flavor the meat (ground pork) as well as nuts and raisins to add contrasting texture. Delicious!

We ate the picadillo in warm hard-shell taco shells with avocado slices, refried beans, steamed greens, and brown Basmati rice. A little sprinkling of feta or queso fresco was a nice garnish too. This recipe was adapted from Rick Bayless.com.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
  • 1 1/2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean, coarse-ground pork
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns OR about 3/4 tsp ground
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon stick OR 1 teaspoon ground
  • 5 cloves OR about 1/8 teaspoon ground
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 4 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • coarse salt (about 1 teaspoon)

  1. Pour the tomatoes directly into a blender and blend until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.)
  2. Heat the oil in a large, 14-inch skillet over medium heat. (I used enameled cast iron.)
  3. When hot, add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 2 minutes longer.
  4. Add the pork in a thin layer and fry, stirring frequently, until cooked and lightly brown. (If quite a bit of fat has rendered from the meat, drain it off.)
  5. If using whole spices, add the pepper, cinnamon and cloves in a mortar or spice grinder. Add the ground spices to the skillet along with the tomato puree, raisins and vinegar.
  6. Simmer until reduced to a thick, homogenous mass, 30 to 45 minutes.
  7. While the filling simmers, toast the almonds for about 8 to 10 minutes in a 325 degree oven.
  8. Stir toasted almonds into the filling; adjust seasoning as needed with salt. Serve.

Note: The finished picadillo can be covered and refrigerated for 3 or 4 days.

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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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Chorizo-Potato Tacos

These tacos were so simple to prepare, I was a little bit skeptical that they would be good. But- once again– Rick Bayless didn’t let me down! (I am such a fan.) He said that chorizo is the Mexican version of bacon- it just makes everything better. In this case, a little bit went a long way. I seriously couldn’t believe how delicious they were!

This recipe was adapted from RickBayless.com. I used one pound of baby gold potatoes, jarred Frontera Jalapeño Cilantro salsa, and added feta cheese to the toppings. We ate them with sautéed greens, refried beans, and Basmati rice. Quick and fabulous!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 pound (16 oz) baby gold potatoes (or other boiling potatoes), unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 12 oz fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed, about 1 link
  • 1 large white onion, cut into small pieces
  • coarse salt
  • 12 warm corn tortillas
  • 3/4 cup Frontera Roasted Tomatillo Salsa or Jalapeño Cilantro Salsa, or to taste
  • 1 avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and sliced
  • feta cheese, to taste, for serving
  • chopped cilantro, to taste, for serving

  1. Scoop the potato into a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the top and microwave on high for 3 minutes. (I used my new “steam ship” silicone lid which releases the steam in the microwave!)
  2. Lay the chorizo and onion in a very large (12-inch) skillet (preferably non-stick) and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently and breaking up clumps, until the fat renders, the sausage looks cooked, and the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.
  3. Scoop the potatoes, leaving the steaming liquid behind, into the skillet and continue cooking until the potatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. If the potatoes begin browning long before they’re soft, reduce the temperature a little.
  4. Taste and season with salt if you think the mixture needs it—some chorizo is so highly seasoned, little additional salt will be needed.
  5. Cover the tortillas with a damp paper towel and warm tortillas in a tortilla warmer (or on a plate tightly wrapped in plastic wrap) in the microwave for 1 minute.
  6. To serve, scoop the mixture into a deep bowl. Set out with the feta cheese, cilantro, salsa, avocado and warm tortillas.

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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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Rick Bayless’ Classic Ensenada Fish Tacos

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My husband loves to go fishing. He doesn’t get the opportunity to go very often, and he doesn’t have a lot of luck catching many fish, but it is a peaceful and relaxing activity for him. My son enjoys it now too! When we heard about a sunset fishing boat excursion near our home, my husband brought my son as a surprise. The boat took them out into the Long Island Sound where they both caught porgy and bass- and had a great time together! 🙂

I had to make something special with this super-fresh fish. For my son there was no question- I had to make fish tacos. I had been excited to try the “perfect fish tacos” from a recent issue of Bon Appetit. My fishermen rejected the recipe. 😦 Rick Bayless recipes are always welcome in our home, so I chose this version instead.

The batter smelled AMAZING. (I don’t think I’ve ever said that about a batter!) After cooking all of the fish, I realized that I forgot to add the garlic to the amazing-smelling batter… gasp! This may have been a first for me…. I added garlic to the creamy sauce instead, which was wonderful. Next time, I would add the garlic to the batter and the sauce! I modified the recipe below. This recipe was adapted from Mexico-One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless, via rickbayless.com.

These were the best fish tacos I have ever made- and possibly the best I’ve ever eaten. Special fish! 🙂 I’m sharing this dish with my friends at Fiesta Friday #38 this week at The Novice Gardener. Enjoy!

Servings: about 12 tacos, 4 to 6 servings

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, separated
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano or Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon concentrated chicken base
  • 1 cup beer (I used Brooklyn Brewery’s Octoberfest)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2-inch for frying (I used Canola)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless fish filets (preferably larger-flake, lighter-flavored fish—like halibut, sea bass, grouper, etc)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used 1 percent)
  • 12 warm corn tortillas
  • 1 cup (or more) thinly sliced cabbage (preferably Napa cabbage)
  • About 1 cup salsa (such as toasted arbol chile salsa, roasted green chile salsa, roasted tomatillo salsa or even one of the Mexican hot sauces like Tamazula or Valentina) (I used Frontera Chipotle Salsa)
  • 2 or 3 limes, cut into wedges
  1. Make the batter: Finely chop the garlic, sprinkle generously with salt, then mash back and forth with the side of your knife across your cutting board until crushed to a puree. Scrape into a medium bowl and add the oregano, black pepper, mustard, chicken base, beer, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the flour and baking powder to the wet ingredients and whisk just until combined.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet to 370 degrees. (I used a candy thermometer.) While the oil is heating, cut the fish into pieces about 3 inches long by 1/2 inch square. Use a pair of tongs to pick up a piece of fish, dip it completely into the batter, and lay it into the oil. Continue with a few more pieces of fish, filling the hot oil with an uncrowded layer. Fry, turning the pieces regularly, until deep golden and crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven on a wire rack set over a sheet pan while you fry the rest of the fish.
  3. Make the sauce: Push the 2 remaining garlic cloves through a garlic press. Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream and milk. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
  4. Serve the sauce along with the cabbage, salsa, warm corn tortillas, limes and the crispy fish for everyone to make tacos.

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