Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pollo Santa Fe

Hello, again.  Thanks so much for returning.  It's been a difficult week here in Chattanooga triggering so many memories.  But this city is as resolute as OKC and the slogan showing up on just about every marquee is "Chattanooga Strong."  I haven't been back to the gym as the memorial has grown so large you couldn't place a piece of paper in there and it's just too hard for me to see right now.  I need to get back to pass this hurdle and hope to do so soon.

But during this time, I have run across with some really nice, new recipes.  This one is my favorite and I can tell you I will be making it over and over again.  Did I just say I was about to throw every skinless, boneless chicken breast out the window?  Well, color me wrong.  If you use SBCBs for nothing else, use them for this recipe.  Really.

Please don't let the long list of ingredients and instructions turn you away.  Almost everything can be done ahead (make the sauce and salsa a day or two'll keep).  Having all that ready and on hand, poof!  Everything is ready to assemble.

I believe the multi-colored tortilla strips are essential to a lovely presentation, but you could certainly use regular tortilla chips for the flavor and crunch.  This recipe comes from the cookbook "Southern Living: Off the Eaten Path."  The author (Morgan Murphy) combed southern states and asked locals where the hidden gems were.  We're not talking about 5***** restaurants in Atlanta, Nashville, or Dallas, but those places, mainly Mom-and-Pop joints, that serve the best dishes in their regions.  This recipe comes from Rosie's Cantina in Huntsville, Alabama ( So, if you're ever Space City, Alabama, put it on your "to-do" list.

POLLO SANTA FE (6 servings)

Southwestern Sauce:
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne), or to taste (we are very sensitive to cayenne but I do like a tad bit of heat, so I usually use about an 1/8 of what a recipe calls for)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika (I used smoked paprika)
4 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp chili powder (could use chipotle powder if you want more heat)

6 (8 oz.....I use 4 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded Provolone cheese
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Multicolored tortilla strips (I find mine in the produce department)

Black Bean-Corn Salsa:
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (less for me)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp finely chopped seeded, deveined jalapeno peppers
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

Prepare Southwestern Sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Cover sauce and chill for 2 hours.

Prepare Black Bean-Corn Salsa:
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Cover and chill for 2 hours.

Prepare Chicken:
Preheat grill to 350F to 400F (medium-high) heat.  Brush chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, 4 minutes on each side or until done.

Prepare entree:
Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine cheeses in a medium bowl.  Place chicken breasts on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Top each breast with 1/4 cup Southwestern Sauce, 1/4 cup Black Bean-Corn Salsa, and about 1/3 cup cheese mixture.  Bake at 350F for 7 minutes or until cheese melts.  Place 1 chicken breast on each of 6 serving plates.  Top with tortilla chips.

Recipe Source: "Southern Living: Off the Eaten Path," by Morgan Murphy, 2014, p. 27

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