This Mexican-inspired chicken recipe combines the best of American cooking with a delicious traditional Mexican green chile sauce and cheese. Not only is it easy to prepare; it's also healthy: low-carb, low-fat, and low-calorie—yet bursting with flavor. A recipe for homemade green chile sauce is given, but 3 1/2 cups/830 ml canned can be used instead.
While the chicken breast in this dish is baked in the oven, most cooks in Mexico do not use their ovens often. Oven-baked dishes are usually considered a special party or holiday fare. In fact, stove ovens are frequently used as storage space for pots and pans.
- 2 pounds chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
- For the Green Chile Sauce:
- 2 pounds chile peppers (green Anaheim or Poblano)
- 2 cups water
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Optional: 1 to 2 jalapeños (roasted and seeded or canned)
- Garnish: 4 ounces Cotija or queso fresco cheese (crumbled or grated)
Make the Chile Sauce
Gather the ingredients.
Roast the peppers, peel them and remove and discard the stems and seeds.
Blend chile flesh in a food processor or blender until chunky. Add water, peeled garlic, oil, lime juice, salt, and optional cumin. Process until smooth. If you would like a spicier sauce, include 1 or 2 seeded jalapeño peppers.
You will use this entire batch for this recipe but if you do not use it immediately, it can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for up to 6 months.
Make the Pollo Verde
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Place it on the bottom of a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish.
Pour the sauce over the chicken. Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes or until the center of the thickest part of the chicken breast has reached 165 F.
Remove the dish from the oven and crumble the cheese over the chicken. Serve immediately, with hot corn tortillas and Mexican rice and/or beans, if desired.
- For a change of pace, use chunks of pork in place of the chicken.
- To add eye appeal as well as flavor and texture, garnish your chicken with a mixture of diced raw onion and finely chopped cilantro.
- Add a drizzle of liquid cream (Mexican crema).
- Sprinkle it with shredded cheese (a kind that melts nicely, such as Mexican manchego, Oaxaca, or Chihuahua cheese) instead of the grated/crumbled cheese mentioned in the main recipe. Put your cheese-topped chicken under the broiler briefly, until cheese has melted and is just starting to brown.
Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients
Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.