Monday, September 27, 2010

Chile Verde Chicken + Red Quinoa Mexican Pilaf

My Aunt Grace makes the best chile verde chicken around. When I asked the secret to her delicious recipe, I was surprised to find much of the magic came out of a can. That's why I'm happy to share this easy weekday meal that has been winning me rave reviews from dinner guests for the past decade. If you haven't tried one of my recipes yet - this one is a sure hit. The red quinoa pilaf was something I threw together on the fly, and makes a fit and filling accompaniment!
    Ingredients for Chile Verde Chicken
  • 6-8 chicken thighs, bone-in
  • 3, 7 oz. cans Embasa green tomatillo sauce
    (see Brands I Like below)
  • 1 small can diced mild green chilies
  • 2 limes
  • 1/2 spanish onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • handful of cilantro leaves
  • oregano
  • garlic salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil

    Ingredients for Quinoa Pilaf
  • 1, 12 oz. box red quinoa
    (see Brands I Like below)
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 small green bell pepper
  • 1/3 spanish onion
  • 1 packet/cube of chicken bullion
    (or substitute cooking water for chicken broth)
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • olive oil
  • cilantro for garnish

First, get that chicken marinading. Remove skin from chicken and place thighs in a large bowl. Season with garlic salt, pepper and oregano. Drizzle generously with olive oil and the juice of 1 lime. Toss to coat completely. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.

While chicken marinates, get chopping for your quinoa pilaf. Dice the tomato, onion and green pepper. Set aside so you're prepared and the meal is timed together.

Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large, deep skillet with a lid. On medium heat saute the chopped onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly to keep garlic from burning. Lay chicken pieces face-down over the onion mix in a single layer. Brown chicken for 2-3 minutes, flip pieces and brown for additional 2-3 minutes until a nice color as pictured above.

Add cans of Embasa sauce and diced green chilies. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook covered for 10 minutes. Flip chicken pieces, cover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

While chicken is cooking, in a separate pot add 2 tbsp of olive oil and saute the quinoa chopped veggies, chicken bullion packet and saute for 5 minutes.

Add water as according to quinoa package, MINUS 1/2 cup liquid since the veggies & other additions will create their own juices. Stir until combined then add quinoa. I made 1 cup of quinoa and added 1 1/2 cups water. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook according to package directions, I cooked for 15 minutes.

While quinoa is cooking rinse 1 cup of cooked black beans. Once quinoa is cooked (you will see a little white ring around the red grain), add black beans and frozen corn, stir over low heat for 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat and keep covered until ready to serve. Garnish with cilantro.

Once the green chili chicken has finished cooking, turn off heat and stir in a handful of chopped cilantro and the juice of 1 lime.
Brands I Like

This Embasa sauce has the perfect balance of spiciness. I've made my own tomatillo sauces in the past, but popping this can open is way easier than blanching tomatillos and busting out a food processor. Can't find the Embasa sauce at your local grocer? You can buy it online by clicking here!

I got this Ancient Harvest red heirloom variety of quinoa at Whole Foods. I've also seen it at Trader Joes, but if you still can't find it locally, you can order single boxes online by clicking here.

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