8 November 2009

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 small serrano chile
1 small poblano chile
1 small white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 c. fresh cilantro leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
½ c. plus 2 tbs. pepitas (roasted, unsalted)
½ tsp. ground cumin
¾ tsp. dried Mexican oregano
2 c. chicken stock
1 tbs. safflower oil
½ tsp. coarse salt
2 tbs. lime juice

1.   Season chicken with salt, pepper, and cumin.  Heat 1 tbs. oil in saucepan pan and brown chicken.  Reduce heat and continue to cook until juices run clear (5 – 6 minutes on each side). Set aside, leaving juices in the pan.

2.   Place serrano and poblano chiles directly over the flame of a gas-stove burner on high heat.  Roast, turning with tongs, until blackend all over (Alternatively, broil chiles on a baking sheet, turning often, until skin has charred). Transfer chiles to a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Peel chiles, and remove stems, seeds, and ribs (alternatively, use 2 – 4 tbs. canned mild fire-roasted chiles).

A Deer Park jalepeno, before roasting

3.   Process roasted chiles, onion, garlic, cilantro leaves, ½ c. pepitas, cumin, oregano and ½ c. stock in a blender until a coarse paste forms – or use immersion blender (my personal favorite).

4.   Reheat chicken drippings in the saucepan over medium heat.  Add paste, and cook, stirring constantly until very thick, about 9 minutes.  Whisk remaining 1 ½ cups of stock into paste until incorporated. Let mixture cool slightly, then transfer to blender.  Add salt and lime juice.  Process until sauce is smooth.

5.   Add chicken to pan, and cover with sauce.  Cook over medium-low heat until just heated through, about 10 minutes.
6.   Transfer chicken to a cutting board, and cut into ½ inch thick slices.  Distribute among plates, spoon sauce on top, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and remaining pepitas. 

Roasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

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