How about a recipe from West Texas? El Paso is an important place in my life — my parents met when they were students at UTEP, and I was born there. The Junior League of El Paso publishes an incredible cookbook titled Seasoned With Sun, which is full of delicious southwest recipes. My mom cooks from this book and gave my Chef Dan a copy way back when we were dating. The first dish we ever tried from this cookbook is Chicken Guadalajara — a mixture of chicken, green chiles and onion in a creamy sauce. It takes about 40 minutes to prepare and uses only a single skillet — perfect for a busy weeknight.
Only a few simple ingredients are required — chicken, onion, green chiles, cream, and cheese.
Many southwest recipes call for roasted chiles, but Chicken Guadalajara uses fresh chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced into rings. We used Anaheim chiles on this night, but you could also use fresh Hatch green chiles. If you can’t find either of those, look for poblano peppers.
This recipe also uses a medium onion, cut in half and sliced thinly.
To avoid cross contamination, slice up the chiles and onions first, then prepare the chicken on the cutting board.
For this dish, we recommend using chicken tenders, which are easy to prepare. All you really need to do is remove the little white strip at the end of the fat end of the tender. We (and by we, I mean Dan) cut this part out because it is some sort of tendon or something that can become chewy/gristly if you leave it in. Gross.
Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides, then place a few tablespoons of flour on a plate to dredge the chicken before it cooks. The salting and peppering process is one of the few ways I contribute to the cooking. Because Dan’s hands are still contaminated with raw meat juice (ew), I’ll salt and pepper one side of the chicken, then he’ll flip them over and I salt and pepper the other side. I cook!
The chicken cooks in a small amount of butter and olive oil. If you’re feeling particularly health conscious you can omit the butter, but why would you want to do that?
Once the butter and oil in the pan are nice and hot, dust the chicken with flour and add it to the pan.
After about five minutes, the chicken should be nicely browned and ready to turn.
The chicken cooks for another few minutes until browned on the bottom. Next, remove the chicken to a clean plate and tent it with aluminum foil to rest.
Add the green chiles and onion to the empty pan and sautee them until they are slightly browned.
After approximately 10 minutes, the onions and peppers are browned and ready for the next step.
Add some cream and stir well. Cook the cream with the chiles and onions for a minute or two until the mixture starts to thicken.
Add the chicken and any accumulated chicken juices back into the pan, and arrange the chiles and onions on top of the chicken. The easiest way to do this is to pile the onions and chile mixture to one side of the pan, place half of the chicken into the empty space, then move the chiles and onions on top of the chicken to make room for the rest of the chicken.
Poor attempt to show the moving-chicken-to-the-side execution.
Cook it all for a minute or two to reheat the chicken.
Sprinkle a handful or two of monterey jack cheese on top of the chicken mixture, turn off the heat, and tent the pan with foil to allow the cheese to melt.