Tag Archives: chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

AMAZING – Creamy Chipotle Chicken with Rigatoni Pasta (serves 4-6)

This past Friday night I did not know what I was going to make for dinner. However, I did know it had to include chicken fillets and kale as these were the only two real ingredients left in my kitchen. This is where my trusty pantry staples and creativity would have to kick in as I wasn’t really in the mood for boring old chicken breast and kale!

This Chipotle-Laced pasta dish was a delicious surprise!

This Chipotle-Laced pasta dish was a delicious surprise!

I came up with an unlikely combination, and it turned out to be one of those dishes that was an instant hit. I had a couple of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce sitting in the fridge for a couple of weeks and decided they either needed to be thrown away soon or used in this dinner. I opted for the latter and added them to my sauce with some cream (to cut the heat) and it was the perfect combination.

A Wonderful Pantry Item!

A Wonderful Pantry Item!

If you don’t know what chipotle pepper in adobo is, you can click here to find out more. But basically, it is a smoked jalapeno pepper that has been stewed and then left to marinate in the stewing liquid. The sauce is made up of a combo of different spices like other peppers, oregano and cumin with tomatoes, garlic and vinegar. The whole thing is canned and the peppers continue to marinate until they are used. It is hard to use a whole can at one time but they keep forever in the fridge which is why I had them on hand and used them in experimental desperation!

What's in the can!

What’s in the can!

The kale could have been a harsh veggie for this dish, but finely chopping it and cooking it down made it work very well with my big pasta noodles. Everyone knows chicken breast is a bit like tofu; you have to work with it to make it taste good. I think immersing it in this lovely smokey sauce did wonders to improve its flavor.

Tuscan Kale

Tuscan Kale (also called dinosaur kale)

I had no idea it would be this good and when I was told I had better have  recorded this recipe, I had to scramble for a piece of paper and write it down before it left my sieve for a head forever. Here it is, and I hope you give it a try!

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You will need:

2 or 3 tbls olive oil

4 boneless chicken breast fillets

1 onion – diced (any onion you have)

3 garlic cloves – finely chopped

1 cup finely chopped cilantro

1 bunch Kale – finely chopped (whatever is available in your supermarket or green grocer)

2 chipotle peppers with 1 or 2 tbs of adobo sauce (depending on how much heat you like) – Chopped

1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken broth

3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream

1 lb Rigatoni Pasta or other large pasta (I use Barilla brand)

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Put heavy saute pan on high heat and add 2 tbs of olive oil. When it is hot, season the chicken lightly with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Sear the chicken on both sides until browned. Remove to a plate and set aside.

season, then sear chicken

season, then sear chicken

2 – Turn heat down to medium and add the onions and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. You may need to add another tbs of oil. Add cilantro and chopped kale and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the chipotle pepper and adobo sauce and mix together.

saute onions, add seasonings

saute onions, add seasonings

3 – Add broth and stir and bring to a boil. Add the cream and chicken. When it boils, turn heat off and place lid on pan. Place in the oven for 25 minutes.

*Put the water on for the pasta and cook pasta according to instructions. Time the pasta to be cooked when the chicken is cooked and sliced and back in the sauce (step 4). Do not rinse the pasta with cold water. When it is drained it should immediately go into the cooked sauce. Reserve some cooked pasta water in case you need it later in the finished dish.

Slice Chicken

Slice Chicken

4 – Remove from oven and slice the chicken. Put chicken back into the sauce and add the drained hot pasta. Stir and adjust seasoning if necessary. You may also want to add more cream of some hot pasta water if you want to loosen the sauce to your liking.

Add pasta and adjust seasoning

Add pasta and adjust seasoning

Serve in shallow warmed bowls or plates.

Chicken Fajitas Revisited

The last time I posted a recipe for chicken Fajitas was over 2 1/2 years ago so when I launched into making them this past Sunday I decided it was time to pay this supremely delicious dish another visit.

One of our favorite dinners

One of our favorite dinners

Everyone in our house has a handful of favorite dishes and I try to make sure to rotate these special dinners to please every palate. Lots of times my decision to please one person over another is determined by what kind of day that person has had or if it is a special occasion just for them. If my daughter has had a tough day or a day when she deserves a reward for being the best daughter even for one thing or another, then I make her favorite dinner. The same goes for my son or husband or a friend who comes to dinner and I feel like pleasing them especially just for being around.

The key component is the homemade flour tortilla - there is no substitude!

The key component is the homemade flour tortilla – there is no substitute!

I know what everyone likes and there is nothing more gratifying to me than seeing a happy face when dinner shows up and it is just for them. This particular labor of love, the Chicken Fajita Dinner, is for Dave. I know for absolute certain it is his choice every time if I am taking dinner requests, or it’s his birthday dinner or even the last meal he would like to eat before he dies! He said he could eat chicken fajitas every night if it were up to him. Besides the fact that he would learn to hate them if it is all he had to eat, they are also a laborious dish to make. It is not that they are difficult, just that they take more time than I am willing to spend on dinner on a daily basis.

Lots of prep!

Lots of prep!

The best way to tackle a meal like this is to prep some of the ingredients ahead of time if you get the chance. If you do this all at once, it is an undertaking. Of course the reason this dish is complicated is because I insist on making the tortilla from scratch, but it is also the reason they are so delicious and worth making in the first place: a total catch 22!

The secret to a great quesadilla is a home made tortillas and Tapatio hot sauce!

The secret to a great quesadilla is the homemade tortilla!

I cannot emphasize how amazing a fresh homemade tortilla tastes. Unlike the ones you find in the supermarket which invariably have a “gluey” consistency, the homemade one is light, airy and soft. It is one of the most heavenly things in the world and I use them not just in this dish but they are amazing to wrap scrambled eggs in or to fry on the pan with a filling like HERE

fresh cilantro

fresh cilantro is also a must have flavor in this dish

It is work but if you want to hang out in your kitchen with a few friends (or blissfully alone) making this dish is deeply satisfying. This is one of those dishes were the pleasure of cooking it is equal to the pleasure everyone gets from eating it – Provecho!

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Tortilla Recipe (makes 8 -10 Flour tortilla)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

4 tbs shortening (I use Crisco Brand)

1 cup warm water

Chicken Fajita Recipe:

3 chicken breast fillets – very thinly sliced (I like to semi-freeze them which makes them easier to cut into thin pieces)

2 or 3 chipotle pepper with about 1 tbs of adobo sauce (click HERE to find out more)

2 big cloves garlic, very finely chopped

juice of 1 lime

3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 red pepper – thinly sliced

1 green pepper – thinly sliced

2 or 3 cups baby or chopped spinach leaves

1 1/2 cups cheese (anything will do: cheddar, fontina…)

1 cup chopped fresh coriander, including stems

2 cups refried beans ( I cheat and but a can, but feel free to boil pinto beans according to instructions!) warmed.

1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

tapatio sauce (read HERE if you want to know more)

Method:

1 – Put flour and salt into a bowl and stir together with a whisk. Add the shortening and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until it is incorporated. Make a well in the center and add the warm water. Mix with a wooden spoon until it come together.

mix the dough

mix the dough

2 – Turn out onto a floured surface and it a little bit. Roll into a log.

roll into a log

3 – Cut into 8 to 10 pieces (as even as you can make them). roll into balls and allow to rest on a floured board for about 20 minutes covered with a damp cloth (you can be getting on with the rest of the recipe)

make dough ball, form into fajita

make dough ball, form into fajita

4 – Take a dough ball and place on floured surface and pound with the heel of your hand until it is round. use a floured rolling-pin to roll into about an 8″ in diameter (as round as you can get it, but it doesn’t have to be perfect by any means!)

5 – Put a skillet onto just slightly under medium heat and when it is up to temperature add a tortilla. cook until it begins to puff up in spots and then flip.

6 – Cook until browned in spots (under a minute) and remove to a paper towel or cloth and cook all tortilla (stacking between cloth or paper towels) until you have cooked them all. They will keep warm like this while you cook the filling.

Cook tortilla

Cook tortilla

Make Chicken Fajita Filling:

1 – Place sliced chicken along with the garlic, lime juice, 3 tbs oil and chopped chipotle peppers with adobo sauce into a bowl and mix together until well-combined. Let sit in fridge for at least 20 minutes (or can be done hours ahead)

Combine chicekn with seasonings

Combine chicken with seasonings

2 – Put saute pan on high heat and add 2 tbs vegetable or olive oil. when it is hot add the sliced peppers and cook quickly – about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Fry peppers

Fry peppers

3 – Add some more oil to the pan (about 1 tbs) and cook the chicken in batches until done. The chicken will not cook correctly if added all at the same time (it will become too moist and cook slower and become tough). Each batch should only take 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir-fry chicken quickly

Stir-fry chicken quickly

4 – Turn pan off or down to the lowest setting if not serving immediately along the peppers, (I keep them separate as some people don’t want either the peppers or the chicken)

Fry chiken and keep warm with peppers

Fry chicken and keep warm with peppers

Assemble your fajita:

I like to let everyone do their own. It’s more fun for them and less work for you!

I usually start with the bean, then add some chicken and peppers, followed by spinach and/or cilantro, cheese, sour cream and topped with a drizzle of tapatio sauce. Wrap it up and enjoy!

Assemble fajita

Assemble fajita

Chipotle Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice (serves 6)

A new recipe at last and it’s a really great one! It is fast and a wonderful summer dish and even better if you decide to invite the neighbors over (if you happen to have good ones that is!)

chipotle

chipotle laced chicken stir-fry: The BEST!

Right now the supermarkets are over-flowing with avocados and they seem to be on sale everywhere I go. This is what prompted me to make this. I love to combine the cool creaminess of avocado with something spicy and crunchy.

I also served this with avocado slices, which gave everything a lovely creaminess

Having a couple of avocados on hand was also incentive for this dish

I used peppers and zucchini because it what was in my fridge when I went rummaging for dinner the other night. But this does not mean that you have to go running off to the shop to make this dish exactly the same. Use whatever you have on hand: any color pepper, onions (diced), shredded carrot, yellow squash (diced), the list goes on…

Make it up as you go along and it will be luscious!

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You will need:

1 to 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

juice of 1 lime

2 to 3 chipotle peppers with a tbs of adobo sauce, chopped (press HERE for more information on this ingredient)

4 tbs olive oil

1 bunch scallions (between 6-10), chopped

1 red pepper, small dice

1 large (not enormous!) zucchini, diced

1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (optional)

2 or 3 Haas avocado, pitted and sliced

Cooked basmati rice  – *if using a rice cooker, use 3 cups of raw rice in your rice cooker cup measure. If using stove-top, use 2 regular cup measures of rice. Cook both according to instructions.

Method:

1 – Cook rice. when cooked set aside. No need to keep warm.

cool basmati rice or take leftover rice from frige adn mix to seperate

Cook Rice

1 – Put chopped chicken, 2 tbs olive oil, chipotle peppers and sauce, garlic and lime juice into bowl and combine. Set aside for about 20 minutes. Can be made ahead of time and left in the fridge.

Chicken with Rock Creek Marinade

Marinade Chicken

3 – Put big saute pan on medium to high (more towards the high side but not all the way up), heat and add the last 2 tbs of oil. When it is hot, add the chopped veggies and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Stir-fry veggies first

Stir-fry veggies first

4 – Turn the heat up to high and immediately add  1/2 of the chicken mixture. *If you add all of  the chicken in one batch it will end up getting too moist and will steam more than stir-fry* Cook in an even layer for between 4 to 6 minutes. Taste a little to be sure it is cooked.

A smokey spicy stir-fry

A smokey spicy stir-fry

5 – Add the veggies back to the pan and turn heat off.

jkyg

Great Dinner! (chipotle chicken stir-fry)

Divide rice and chicken mixture between warmed plates or bowls and add a “fan” of avocado slices to each plate. I like to add some tapatio hot sauce (press here for more info on this hot sauce), and a cooling spoonful of sour cream to each serving, but each to his own!

Roasted Pork Chops With Fennel – Dead Easy To Make (serves 6)

There is nothing easier than throwing a few chops in the oven for dinner, which is what I did last night. When you have the time to wait, there is nothing more succulent than slow-cooked meat with a few key flavors.

Roasted Pork Chops With Fennel (with basmati rice)

Roasted Pork Chops With Fennel (with basmati rice)

My inspiration was my sister June who called me the other day while she was rummaging in her cupboards for dinner ideas. We have these conversations a lot (even though she is in Ireland) and as she was listing what she had in her fridge she announced she had 2 fennel bulbs languishing in the vegetable drawer….(She text me later from her supermarket saying she had decided on Caribbean Style Chicken!”)

Anyway, that made me think of the lovely flavor of fennel with its liquorish-y sweetness, so I grabbed one when at the supermarket yesterday and it was the highlight of my pork chop dinner. This dinner is easy, inexpensive and a major crowd-pleaser. It tasted especially comforting last night as the snow came down in quiet torrents.

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You will need:

3 large pork loin Chops (loin end, sirloin) (medium thickness)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 to 6 tbs olive oil

1 medium/large sweet onion, large dice

2 celery ribs, including leaves, sliced

2 carrots, peeled & thickly sliced

1 large fennel bulb, thickly sliced

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

1 tbs ground coriander

1 veggie or chicken stock cube

1 cup white or red wine

7 cups water

1 cup freshly chopped cilantro (if you don’t have this ingredient, don’t worry)

*If you are serving this with rice: use 2 cups raw rice for stove top method and 3 cups with rice cup measure if using rice cooker*

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Generously season chops on both sides with sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put big casserole pot or deep saute pan on high heat and add 3 tbs of oil. When it is very hot, add 2 or 3 of the chops (depending on the size of your pan) in an even, un-crowded layer. Sear on both side until browned. Transfer to a plate as you go. Continue adding oil and chops until all six have been browned.

sear chops

Sear chops

2 – Turn heat down and add the onion, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally for two minutes before adding the sliced fennel bulb and carrots. Continue to saute for another 5 or so minutes.

saute veggies

Saute veggies

3 – Add the coriander, broken bouillon cube and chipotle pepper with adobo sauce and mix into the veggies.

Add seasonings

Add seasonings

4 – Add the wine and turn up heat and bring to a slight bubble. Cook for about 2 or 3 minutes before adding the rest of the liquid (7 cups water). Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil.

Add liquids

Add liquids

5 – Add the chops, cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Add chops

Add chops

6 – Remove from oven and stir in the chopped cilantro. Cover with lid and let pot sit for five minutes before serving.

Roasted Pork Chops With Fennel

Roasted Pork Chops With Fennel

Serve on its own with a salad, or with a starch such as rice, pasta, bread or boiled and buttered potatoes.

Chipotle Peppers and Why They Are A Great Addition To Your Pantry!

If you have never used chipotle peppers or don’t know what they are, now is the time for your next culinary lesson.

                                        A can of Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
                                (with lime juice and oil makes a great marinade)

A chipotle pepper is a jalapeno pepper that had been smoked. This gives the heat a whole different flavor which goes so well with countless dishes. It is usually marinated in a thick sauce called Adobo. Adobo is originally a spanish marinade and the vinegar along with spices such as oregano and paprika were used to preserve food. When Latin American countries got hold of this recipe they used it more for infusing stronger flavors to foods.

Chipotle Peppers

Smoked jalapeno are now sold widely in most supermarkets in cans with adobo sauce, (or specialty foods shops. I even found it in Ireland, at 74 Johns St. in Kilkenny City, Shortis Wong’s – to be exact!). Usually I don’t use the whole can at once but if you put what is left into a lidded glass container it lasts for several weeks in your refrigerator. There are many times I have invented uses for this item just because I had to use them up (throwing food away is a crime, or a sin if you really want to feel guilty about it!)

                                          This is what it looks like out of the can.

I have used this ingredient in lots of recipes (which you can find by typing Chipotle in the search box to the right of my blog), but I typically use it to enhance the flavor of meat such as chicken, firm fish, and pork. I chop the jalapeno and add a little of the adobo sauce and mix it into my marinades. It is great with chicken fajita and long cooked meat dishes such as stews and hearty soups. I know for a fact that I don’t do as much with this smoky delicacy to give it the credit it deserves. Hmmmm, possibly need to go to Philippines this year for a chipotle cooking lesson!

smoky chicken thanks to chipotle peppers in adobo sauce!

smoky chicken thanks to chipotle peppers in adobo sauce!