Food & Drink

April 9, 2013

Chickena la Trash

Chickena la Trash

Serves 6


1 pound whole poblanos

¼ cup vegetable oil

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (total of 3 to 3½ pounds, tenderloin pieces reserved for another use)

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed

Ground black pepper

1½ to 2 medium white onions, chopped (2 cups)

1½ pounds red potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-to-¾-inch pieces (about 4 cups)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted prunes

1/3 cup water

¼ cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

¼ cup raw sunflower seeds


Position an oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the peppers on the sheet. Broil for a total of 6 to 9 minutes, using tongs to turn the peppers over every 2 or 3 minutes so they are charred on all sides.

Immediately transfer the charred peppers to a food-safe plastic bag or bowl. Seal or cover and let the peppers sweat for 10 to 20 minutes. If desired, wrap the bag in a clean kitchen towel.

Hold each sweated pepper under a thin stream of cool running water; discard the charred pepper skin and the seeds and membranes.

(At this point, if you are making these in advance or a double batch, the peppers can be frozen in a freezer-safe zip-top bag.) For this recipe, cut the peppers into strips ½ inch wide and 1 inch long.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat.

Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the black pepper to taste. Add to the pot, working in batches as needed; brown the first side for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn the chicken over and cook for about 3 minutes on the second side. (The chicken will not be cooked through.) Transfer to a plate.

Add the onions to the pot, using a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until the onions have softened and started picking up color.

Add a generous pinch of salt to the boiling water, then add the potatoes. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes; the potatoes should still be somewhat firm. Drain.

Stir the garlic into the onions and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant, then add the strips of poblano and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the drained potatoes, the prunes, the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and the ª cup of water.

Cut the chicken into large chunks or thick slices, if desired. Return all of the chicken to the pot and stir to coat. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice; the mixture will be stewlike. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Meanwhile, combine the pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring often, until you hear slight popping sounds and the sunflower seeds have begun to lightly brown. Remove from heat.

Just before serving, uncover the skillet and scatter the seed mixture over the chicken and vegetables. Divide among individual plates; serve hot.

This recipe is adapted from "Pati's Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking," by Pati Jinich (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; $30).

Per serving: 570 calories; 59 grams protein; 44 grams carbohydrates; 18 grams fat (3 saturated); 130 milligrams cholesterol; 640 milligrams sodium; 5 grams fiber; 5 grams sugar.

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