April 8, 2009

Jalapeño (or Chipotle) Chicken Breasts with pasta

Jalapeño Chicken Breasts with grilled chilesJalapeño Chicken Breasts with pasta and grilled chiles

Jalapeño Chicken is El Jefe's all time favorite meal. I made up this recipe one night trying to think of something different to do with chicken breasts and not having a lot of options in the pantry.

ingredients for jalapeño chickenWe like spicy food so El Jefe is always happy to see jalapeños in any dish. But what he really likes is the creamy, spicy sauce. When I've been out of jalapeños, I've also made a similar Chipotle Chicken by adding a little pureed chipotle en adobo* to taste to the sauce. The chipotle makes the sauce a pleasing pinkish color. I like it both ways.

After his first bite, he said, "Mmmmm! HOW did you make this sauce?!" I told him that I could tell him my secret recipe, but then I would have to kill him. Then I laughed and told him the truth − that my exquisite sauce was closer to a 'Hamburger Helper' type rather than a gourmet recipe.

Jalapeño (or Chipotle) Chicken Breasts

serves 4-6

1 lb. (500 gr.) pasta, preferably bow tie pasta

6 chicken breasts
6 slices Pepper Jack or Monterrey Jack cheese (about 6 oz.)

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/4 cup jalapeños (or amount to taste), or
2- 3 tsps. pureed chipotle in adobo*
3/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper

sauteed chicken breastsSeason the chicken breasts and sauté them until golden brown in a little olive oil.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Mix the canned soup with about 3/4 cup water and the milk. Whisk to remove any lumps. Stir in chipotle puree if you are using that instead of jalapeño slices.

When the chicken breasts are done, cover each with a slice of cheese and pour the sauce over. Sprinkle jalapeño slices over all and stir into the sauce to spice it up. Heat over low heat until the cheese melts.

Taste the sauce. If not spicy enough, add more jalapeños or chipotle.

Spoon drained pasta on the plate. Spoon some of the sauce over it. Top with the chicken breast and spoon a little more sauce over that.

grilled chilesThis is especially good served with sliced avocado sprinkled with lemon juice and salt. The coolness of the avocados blend nicely with the spiciness of the dish. Grilled veggies, sliced tomatoes, or broccoli are also good accompaniments.

I hope you enjoy it!

(pronounced "chee-POHT-lay") en adobo are smoked red jalapeños in a spicy tomato sauce. I don't know what might be available in the US or other countries, but here in La Ceiba, Honduras, I buy Herdez brand whole chipotles en adobo. They come in a small can which is still way more than I use in any recipe − it is very spicy.

What I do is remove the stem ends and some of the seeds from the chipotles and place the sauce and chiles in the blender and puree for a few seconds. Then I freeze the puree in an ice cube tray. After it is frozen, I pop out the cubes and put them in a freezer bag. Use a special ice cube tray as the sauce will stain the plastic.

Even easier is a Chipotle sauce that is sold here under the Bufalo brand. It tastes very much the same except it might be a little spicier. A little goes a long way.

Chipotle mayo is delish and makes a great pasta salad or dip. Chipotle also adds a good flavor to beans, chili, and mashed potatoes.

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