Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chickens One Day, Feathers the Next

Queso Fundido Stuffed Chicken & Papas Chile Con Queso

Tongue in cheek...a drop in the bucket...in a New York minute...a taste of your own medicine...chickens one day, feathers the next.  We sure do have a lot of interesting phrases to get our meaning across.  It's interesting how we use those phrases and the people we say them to know what they mean.  I really like "all bark and no bite."  I'm sure I've used that at least a hundred times in my life.

I have always been fascinated with literature.  When I was a teenager, I would read an entire novel in a weekend.  Some of my favorites as a kid were Robinson Crusoe and Anne Frank and Lord of the Flies (that's the really short list.  I could go on for days).  I was like a sponge, reading and absorbing as much as I could.  Nowadays, I just don't have as much time as I'd like to read.  Some of the greatest figure of speech quotes come from fiction, like "truth is stranger than fiction" or "we lie best when we lie to ourselves."  You get the picture.  Even Dr. Seuss books stick with us, as in, "I do not like green eggs and ham."  Books give us an escape, a look into different perspectives, sometimes hope, and always inspiration.

So what in the world does all of that have to do with the picture above? Nothing!  Ha ha.  Really, it has to do with inspiration.  I am greatly inspired by food, creating it, tasting it, the pure gratification of it when something I create is good.  I thought of the saying "chickens one day, feathers the next" for no apparent reason while cooking this dish.  But the dish itself came from me wanting to blend my affinity for party food.  So I thought I'd do a blend of Queso Fundido (a sausage and cheese mixture), with my husband's most requested dish, Chicken.  And Papas con Chile con Queso just means potatoes with chiles and cheese.  And there's a Jalapeno Ranch Sauce to boot.  My husband said the chicken tasted as if it was stuffed with an enchilada.  And the potatoes are creamy, cheesy, with a little hint of spice.  Yes, another Tex-Mex dish from me, but what else would you expect?  I think you'll like it.

So don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya!  Get in the kitchen and cook!

QUESO FUNDIDO STUFFED CHICKEN

FOR THE CHORIZO:
2 Guajillo peppers
2 T white vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T bacon grease
2 T red onion, minced
1 T lime juice
1 T cumin
1 T chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons red chili flake
1 T garlic powder
3/4 lb ground pork
1 roasted, peeled poblano, chopped

FOR THE QUESO:
2 C Asadero cheese, shredded
1 C Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1 roasted, peeled poblano, chopped

FOR THE JALAPENO RANCH SAUCE:
1 C mayo
1/2 C buttermilk
1 C sour cream
1 packet Ranch dip mix
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
1-3 T diced jalapeno slices (from a jar)
1 teaspoon lime juice


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 C shredded pepper jack cheese
Toothpicks

To make the chorizo, boil the guajillo peppers for about 10 minutes or until soft.  Remove them from the water and blend all of the ingredients except the ground pork and poblanos.  Cook the ground pork, poblanos, and blended sauce in a skillet over medium high heat until browned and cooked through.  Remove this from the heat and stir in the cheeses until melted.  (You will have extra filling.  You can save half for later or put it in an oven-proof dish and bake it to eat with chips.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butterfly each chicken breast carefully so as not to cut all the way through.  If you don't know how to do this, you can find good videos of it on YouTube.  Put a few of tablespoons of the fundido filling (enough to fill, but not too much) in the middle of the chicken.  Secure with three toothpicks, making sure no filling is showing through.  Bake for 16 minutes on one side, and turn them over and cook an additional 12-15 minutes or until done, depending on the size of the chicken.  You can top them with the pepper jack cheese at this point and cook a couple more minutes to melt and brown the cheese.

Mix all of the Jalapeno Ranch Sauce ingredients together and serve it over the chicken.



PAPAS CON CHILE CON QUESO (POTATOES WITH CHILES AND CHEESE)
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
2 serrano peppers, chopped
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese (plus more for the top)
1/2 C monterrey jack cheese
1/2 C pepper jack cheese
1 C sour cream
1/2 stick butter
1 T garlic powder

Boil the potatoes and peppers until fork tender and drain.  Return them to the hot pot and gently mix in the remaining ingredients.  Put this mixture into a glass casserole pan and top with a little more shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until heated through and the cheese on top is melted and slightly browned.

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