Inspiration: Like so many other people, I think, we have been having a really fantastic winter. If there’s one thing that I’m not, it’s a fan of winter/snow/cold/etc. etc., but this year has been pretty great. The temperature hasn’t dipped below the 30s more than a handful of days, and we’ve only had a few snow showers with no real storms. For living in Michigan, that’s a huge deal. And yet…..it’s still easy to get the winter blahs every now and then, and it’s still easy to tire of the endless parade of stews, soups, and other winter comfort meals that I’ve been cranking out of our kitchen. When that sort of mood hits, I guess there’s no better time to cook up something so completely bright and summery that you almost (almost) want to sit out on the back patio to enjoy it.
What We Loved: This meal was just what we were hoping it to be – a very light and simply sauteed chicken breast with a bright, complex sauce that tasted just like summer. The sauce has a nice tart flavor (due to the tomatillos and the lime juice) with a great creamy backbone (thanks to the avocado and the half and half). It’s really just an extremely flavorful, creamy sauce that adds a nice richness and contrast to simply cooked chicken. We really enjoyed this chicken with a fresh pico de gallo salad for a meal that was just full of all kinds of fresh vegetable flavors.
Tips: I forgot to include a few cloves of garlic with my roasted vegetables, which would have been a lovely addition. Also, when finishing the sauce, make sure to add as much half and half/Kosher salt as is necessary to even out the flavors of the sauce to your tastes. I found the sauce to be quite tart until I had the right amount of half and half, which really balances the flavors. I also threw in a great deal of salt, which really makes all of the vegetable flavors so much more pronounced and wonderful.
Sauteed Chicken with Green Chile, Tomatillo, and Avocado Sauce
Source: Adapted from Pip & Ebby, originally from Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010
1 very small onion, quartered
2 tomatillos, husked and halved
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
1 poblano, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 – 1/3 cup half and half
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 chicken breasts, butterflied
1. Place the onion, tomatillos, jalapeno, and poblano on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil. Place under the broiler until the vegetables are all softened and beginning to blacken.
2. Place all of the broiled vegetables into a food processor. Add the avocado, cilantro, and lime juice, and process until all of the ingredients are combined. Pour in 1/4 – 1/3 cup half and half, a small amount at a time, processing until the sauce reaches a nice and smooth consistency. Taste as you add the half and half – if the sauce is too tart for you, add more half and half until it mellows out. Season well with Kosher salt. Refrigerate the sauce until ready to serve.
3. Add a good pat of butter to a saute pan. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and add them to the hot pan. Cook for about 4 minutes per side, until cooked through.
4. Serve the chicken topped with the sauce.