Monday, January 27, 2014

Menu Musings


Way, way back a long time ago, my mother used to collect restaurant menus.  And she had an entire trunk full of them.  I guess she ate out a lot.  Anywho, most of the time she would just ask a waiter if she could have the menu and they would say yes.  However, there were a few strange occasions where she would find the menu in her purse or, even stranger, under her shirt.  She would get to the car and realize, "Hey, there's a menu stuffed under my shirt.  How the heck did that get there?"  Being too embarrassed for having no explanation, she did not return to the restaurant and tell them about it.  But, since her house burned down in the Black Forest, Colorado, fire, there's no menus left, therefore, no evidence.  Please don't get me wrong.  My mother is a very nice person and an upstanding citizen.  She just likes menus.

Lately I've been perusing restaurant menus online for inspiration.  This creation comes from a Saltgrass Steakhouse menu and is called Chicken Laredo.  It's another smothered chicken dish, but this time it has roasted poblanos, tomatoes, almost crispy grilled onions (yum!), and Pepper Jack cheese.  It was so darn tasty!  Those onions made the dish for me.  And it's pretty easy to do and cooks in about 30 minutes.  I think you'll enjoy this one.

Does your mother have any strange collections?

CHICKEN LAREDO
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Seasoned salt (like Lawry's)
Garlic powder
Black pepper
2 poblanos, roasted, skins and seeds removed, and chopped (see instructions after the recipe)
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced
Olive oil
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
Half a wheel of cotija cheese, crumbled (or a salty crumbling cheese)
Pepper Jack cheese slices

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Season both sides of the chicken breasts with the seasoned salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.  Cook for about 16 minutes on one side.

Meanwhile, preheat a pan with some olive oil in it to medium heat.  Cook the onions, stirring constantly, until they are very caramelized and some slightly crispy.  Remove from heat.

After cooking the chicken the first 16 minutes, pull the pan out and flip the breasts over.  Put some onions, tomatoes, and cheese slices on each chicken breast.  Return to the oven and cook an additional 12-14 minutes or until the chicken is done through.  Remove from the oven and garnish with the avocadoes, cilantro and cotija cheese.

**To roast poblanos, put them on a sheet pan and roast them at 400 degrees, turning occasionally, until they are black and charred all over.  Remove from the oven.  When they are cool enough to handle, peel as much of the skin off as you can.  Remove the stem, cut them open, and scrape out the seeds.  Then chop them as you would other veggies.

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