Sometimes a recipe is born simply from a suggestion. While being told about a chicken dish that was enjoyed on a recent trip to Vegas, my mind was clicking away, trying to think about how to prepare a similar dish, having never seen the original, with the description more about how good it was, not really about how it was made. Our conversation wandered along several paths, never returning to the chicken dish. Several nights later I played the “what if” game while cooking what turned out to be the first draft of this very fresh, spicy dish of chicken with a light topping of melted cheese, and topped with fresh tomatoes, avocados, tomatillos, & green onion. Theoretically it should feed four. So far, it has only ever fed two, with no leftovers.
Serves 2 – 4
1 T canola oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Freshly ground pepper
Cumin seeds (or ground)
1 small red onion
5 cloves of garlic
4 oz/115gr sharp cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (or a mixture of both), grated
pinch of dried chilies
12 grape tomatoes
1 – 2” tomatillo
4 green onions
Preheat oven to 375°
Heat the oil in a 10”oven proof skillet over medium high heat (I use a well-seasoned cast iron pan).
Remove the chicken from the pan to a plate and let rest.
While the chicken is cooking, cut the peeled onion in half lengthwise, and cut crosswise into thin slices, less than ¼“ thick.
Thinly slice the cloves of garlic.
Quarter the tomatoes.
Cut the tomatillo in half, and thinly slice crosswise.
Cut up the avocado into chunks slightly larger than the tomatoes.
Chop the green onions.
Cook & stir over medium heat for about 6 minutes, until clear and just starting to colour.
Slice the chicken into ¼” pieces, and stir into the cooked onion & garlic, and let it reheat.
Sprinkle the top with a pinch of dried chilies.
Insert the skillet into the preheated oven.
Remove from the oven.
Top with the avocado & tomatillo, evenly arranged.
Serve straight from the pan, with salsa & sour cream alongside.
Great served with a crisp green salad.
Options: use 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of the two chicken breasts.
Alternately use 1# ground beef, browned, seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin & chili powder,
or prepared pulled pork, in place of the chicken. All have been tried and all are great.