Rockin’ Salsa Verde Chicken with Cornbread Puffs

First off, I want to give special thanks to kevinandamanda.com for this phenomenal recipe, originally posted in November 2012. If you aren’t familiar with Kevin and Amanda, be sure to check them out. Great pictures, step by step directions and terrific recipes that are always a success. To their original recipe, I only made one small change, and it’s strictly a optional, a matter of personal tastes.

This dish is so sensational, I couldn’t wait to share it – literally – the kitchen is a small mess as we speak (but then that’s what Kiddo and Hubby are for – KP duty. Although, Kiddo was a huge help in the kitchen. We make a good team.)

The cornbread puffs don’t really “puff up” but rather are small, drop biscuits packed with flavor that are baked in a thick, spicy salsa verde sauce. The original recipe called for 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped scallions (green onions to some folk) – as fans of green onions, we opted for the larger portion – about 1/2 cup or so.

The sauce is thick (a roue is made first), with incredible flavor.  Kiddo and I decided to kick it up a notch by adding about 1/4 cup of chopped Jalapeno peppers (you know, the ones that come in a jar for nachos and such).  The other change was that the sauce called for 4 tablespoons butter, the cornbread called for 3. That leaves 1 tablespoon “extra” in a stick of butter, so we went with 4 tablespoons in the cornbread. It seemed the more practical thing to do, unless of course you use those big blocks of butter. Beyond that, the recipe is intact.

One more thing before we get to cooking – this recipe is simple to make, the prep work doesn’t take long and the cooking time is about 20 minutes, so it’s perfect for a weeknight meal.

The recipe calls for about 4 1/2 cups of chopped cooked chicken. That’s actually a lot of cooked chicken, so leftover roasted chicken won’t be nearly enough. Which leaves you with one of three options – next time you plan to roast a chicken, roast two.  Reserve one for later in the week to use in this recipe. Used canned chicken (boring – and expensive) or buy one of those roasted chickens in the market – you know the ones that are still hot, intended to be eaten that night for supper. Just take it home, let it cool and pick the bones clean. While it’s messier than buying a bag of roasted chicken meat from say Costco, it’s also a little cheaper since you’ve got to do a bit of the labor yourself rather than pay a butcher to pick the bones clean. Just be sure to keep hubby and whoever else might wander through out of the kitchen so they don’t nibble on the meat before you get it packed away in the fridge.

One final note – if you don’t happen to have an oven-proof skillet, just transfer the saucy chicken into a baking dish, then top with the cornbread puffs and bake according to the recipe.

For The Chicken & Salsa Verde Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 jar (16 ounces) salsa verde
1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
18 oz (about 4.5 cups) cooked, chopped chicken

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter over medium-high heat in a large oven-proof skillet. Whisk in the flour to make a paste.

Add broth, salsa verde, and evaporated milk and whisk vigorously until thick and bubbly.

Stir in chicken and turn heat to low to keep warm.

For the Scallion Cornbread Puffs
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
1/4 cup chopped Jalapeno Peppers (nacho style), optional

Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until melted and steamy.

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and scallions in a separate bowl with a fork.

Pour in milk mixture and stir to form a dough.

Drop spoonfuls of dough into the skillet with chicken mixture.

Transfer skillet to oven and bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until cornbread is cooked through, and the edges are crisp and golden brown.

Remove from oven. When serving, drizzle a little of the sauce over the top and you might want to eat it with a spoon. It’s not “soupy” but a fork might be a little messy.

Oh, and if you added the jalapeno pepper, be sure to serve with plenty of ice-cold beverages!

3 thoughts on “Rockin’ Salsa Verde Chicken with Cornbread Puffs

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