Friday, February 11, 2005

Recipe Friday

And you thought I was just a superficial, boyish weirdo. Well, I have news for you: I have depth. And if you plunge my depths (which I know you want to do), you'll find that one of the unexpected things I enjoy is cooking. So, in the spirit of adventure, freedom, and not judging a book by it's cover, I bring you...
Recipe Friday
Don't worry. These recipes will be (1) awesome, tasty, good for you, etc., and (2) straightforward and easy for even the kitchenphobic to understand. If you really have a fear of tackling a large cooking endeavor, try imagining that all this stuff comes in a box from Trader Joe's and the instructions are right on the outside of the box. Today's recipe is inspired by the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, which I love, and which belongs in every kitchen in America.

Pollo Relleno (it's Spanish for stuffed chicken)

This tastes really good. It's like a cross between Chicken Kiev and Chicken Parmesan, but Mexican. And it's easier than it sounds. Never stuffed anything before? Well, this is more like rolling. And we know you can do that.


2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (they tell me you can skin and bone your own, but why bother?)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tablespoon regular, all-purpose flour*
1/2 tablespoon dried minced onion (or mince your own - mincing means chopping as finely as possible)*
1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon granules*
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt*
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin*
1/2 teaspoon paprika*
1/2 teaspoon chili powder*
1/4 teaspoon onion salt*
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper*
[if you're really feeling lazy, you can substitue 1/2 of a 1.25 oz. package of taco seasoning from the store, which you can find with all the Mexican foods, instead of everything marked with an asterisk*]
2 roasted peppers (they come in a jar in juice/water/oil - pick whichever color and level of hotness you want or can find).
1 block of Monterey Jack cheese (cheddar is okay, but monty jack is so much better. If you have some on hand, you just need enough for four 2" x 1/2" x 1/2" boxes with a little left over for shredding)
2 tablespoons cilantro (fresh and chopped is best, but out of a little spice jar will do just fine)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or one packet of the red peppers that come with pizza)
1 egg
Some salsa

Other stuff you will need:
A sink
Paper towels
A sharp knife
A cutting board
Some plastic wrap
A meat tenderizer/mallet or rolling pin
Two bowls
Baking pan (13" x 9" x 2" is a good size, but close will work)
Sense of purpose

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Rinse the chicken under running water, then pat it dry with a paper towel. Put it on the cutting board and slice all the disgusting pieces of fat off it. It's too hard to get all of them, but get what you can. Then open them up so they are sort of splayed apart and slice them in half. They have a sort of natural seam down the middle, but usually there is a big half and a small half on either side of this seam, so you'll probably have to slice a little to the big half side of the seam to make each side roughly equal. Now you have four skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves.

Take out the plastic wrap and cut off two square pieces (as long as the wrap is wide). Place one of your chicken breast halves between them and start smacking it with your mallet or rolling it with your rolling pin. Try to flatten it out to a rectangle or circle about 1/4"-1/8" inch thick. Get it as thin as you can without it being so thin it falls apart. Then set it aside and do the same with the other three breast halves.

Take out the cheese and cut off four boxes that are 2" x 1/2" x 1/2". Also take out your two peppers and scrape out whatever seeds are hanging on. Cut them in half lengthwise.

Place one pepper half on top of each of the flattened breast halves. Then place one cheese block widthwise sort of near the bottom end of each breast half, kind of in the same orientation you would use for the stuff that goes in a burrito. Sprinkle each of the chicken-pepper-cheese stacks with the cilantro and the red peppers. Then roll up each one like you would a burrito - bottom first, over the cheese, then sides in, then roll up to the top. Shred some more of the cheese.

Now crack your egg into one of your bowls and beat it lightly. In the other bowl, mix the corn meal and all the asterisk taco seasoning ingredients. Set up the two bowls and the empty baking pan as an assembly line, in this order: egg bowl, taco seasoning bowl, baking pan. Now take a chicken roll and dip it in the egg, making sure to cover every outer surface. Then dip it in the taco seasoning, again making sure to cover every outer surface. Then place it with the seam down on the baking sheet. Do the same for the other three chicken rolls.

Place the baking sheet in the middle of the 375 degree oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. You'll know when it's done because you'll cut into the thickest part of the chicken a little bit and you won't see any pink--it'll be white as far as the eye can see. As soon as you take them out of the oven, put the shredded cheese on top of them, then a gob of salsa.

Serve with some refried beans (easy to get in a can and then just heat up) and your favorite kind of salad.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have tasted The Good Reverend's Pollo Relleno, and I can tell you it is absolutely delicious. So I recommend asking The Good Reverend to make it for you. Unless you're really into cooking.


Mrs. Good Reverend

10:25 AM  

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