Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken and rice with spicy tomatillo and Mexican squash sauce (and homemade guacamole)

I always get excited when something I cook turns out well, but I get particularly giddy when it's something I invented myself. It's been a while since I got experimental in the kitchen, so the other night I decided to get a little crazy with my newest batch of veggies from Bountiful Baskets.

My basket contained a mystery ingredient I'd never cooked with before. It was gray squash (also known as Mexican squash). Through a Google search, I learned that it's kind of like zucchini, but tastes better and doesn't get quite as mushy when cooked. That sounded promising.

Since it was nicknamed Mexican squash, I figured I'd use it in a Mexican-inspired meal. I had a bunch of tomatillos, some jalapenos, tomatoes, and onions, so I decided to do some chopping, roasting and pureeing to create a tangy, spicy sauce to serve over chicken and rice. It also gave me a chance to work on my new chopping techniques courtesy of the Knife Skills class I took at Sur la Table (highly recommended, by the way).

Feeling extra creative, I decided to make my own Mexican rice instead of using the boxed pre-seasoned stuff. And I also made some fresh guacamole with the avocados in my basket.

Chicken and sauce:

canola or olive oil
8 tomatillos
1-3 jalapenos (taste them to see how spicy they are before deciding how many to use)
1 small onion, chopped
2 gray/Mexican squash, chopped into smallish cubes
1 or 2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large tomatoes, diced (or substitute canned tomato)
about 1 cup of chicken broth
salt
tomato paste
a handful of chopped cilantro
Chicken breasts, pounded thin

Peel the papery skin off of the tomatillos, and rinse them. Roast the tomatillos and jalapenos under the broiler until the skin starts to blister and turn black; flip over so both sides are roasted. Puree the roasted tomatillos and jalapenos in a blender or food processor until fairly smooth. Set aside.

Saute the diced onions, garlic and squash in some oil for several minutes, until tender. Transfer to a large sauce pan/soup pot. Add the tomatillo and jalapeno mixture to the pot. Pour in the chicken broth and add the tomatoes. Simmer for a few minutes, and add salt to taste. If it's too tangy, add some tomato paste to sweeten it a little bit. You can also add some more chicken broth if it's too thick. If it's too runny, let it simmer for a while until it reduces down.

While the sauce is simmering, heat some oil in a saute pan. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Saute, turning once, until no longer pink. Serve the chicken over the rice, and ladle the sauce on top. Guacamole can be served on the side, or mixed in with the dish.

Rice:

I followed this recipe, substituting cilantro for the parsley. I also used canned diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce.

Guacamole:

If I have really pretty, perfectly ripe avocados, I keep the guacamole simple: mashed avocados, freshly squeezed lime juice, salt, chopped cilantro, and possibly some chopped tomatoes.

4 comments:

  1. I got the Mexican basket from BB too and am going to make your dish. thanks.

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  2. Wow! I need some knife skills! Who knew there were classes on that! I"m going to have to check around now! Your recipe sounds delish! Will have to file it away until I order another Mexican pack!

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  3. Fantastic, we'll try this out. I'm a big fan of anything "Mexican inspired".

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