CHICKEN IN GREEN PIPIAN SAUCE, SOUS-VIDE STYLE

This classic Mexican recipe was featured in Marcela Valladolid‘s show on Food TV, Mexican Made Easy. It pairs a delicious sauce of cooked tomatillos and pumpkin seeds with boneless chicken breasts.  I decided to adapt her recipe for sous-vide cooking, and was very happy with the outcome.  The meat ended up perfectly cooked, not a hint of dryness.  The sauce is simply to die for, if you are a vegetarian, skip the bird, but make the sauce. Roasted cauliflower would be amazing paired with a little pipian…

ChickenPipianSauce2
CHICKEN SOUS-VIDE WITH GREEN PIPIAN SAUCE
(adapted from Marcela’s Mexican Made Easy)

for the chicken:
4 boneless chicken breasts
4 little pats of butter (probably ok to skip it)
1 large lemon, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the sauce:
1 + 1/4 cup green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 Serrano chile, stemmed
1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped
1 + 1/2 cups chicken broth, warmed (I used a lot less)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, place them in sealable plastic bags, add a tiny pat of butter and a few slices of lemon over each breast. Seal the bags. Place in the water-bath set at 140 F for three hours.

While the chicken cooks, prepare the sauce (can be made a couple of days in advance). Preheat a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot. Toast the pumpkin seeds, stirring constantly, until they have expanded and begin to pop, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a plate to cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, simmer the tomatillos, Serrano and onions in salted water to cover until the tomatillos turn a dark green color, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatillos, Serrano and onions to a blender and puree with the chicken broth, cilantro, sugar and toasted pumpkin seeds until smooth (the sauce will be a little coarse). Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, slice the chicken crosswise on the bias. Transfer to a serving plate. Spoon the green pipian sauce on top and garnish with the reserved toasted pumpkin seeds.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

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Comments: I am having a great time with my Anova sous-vide gadget. Most recipes I tried were big hits, a few disappointed me, but isn’t that true for any type of cooking?  You cannot win them all. For boneless chicken breasts, it is hard to come up with a better cooking method. I included butter in the bag, but it would probably be just as nice and tender without it. With sous-vide, you will never get the beauty of grill marks or that copper, enticing tone that roasting or broiling would offer.  But, in a recipe such as this one, in which the meat will be served under a sauce, the cosmetic aspect will be taken care of.  Imagine a very delicately poached chicken, boosted with the flavor of a spicy sauce with the crunchy pepitas on top: Mexican heaven, in sous-vide form! No sous-vide around?  Check Marcela’s original recipe using a regular oven.  I am sure it will be amazing too…

ONE YEAR AGO: Classic Shrimp Gobernador Tacos (another Marcela Valladolid’s recipe!)

TWO YEARS AGO: A Walk Towards the Sunset

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen

FOUR YEARS AGO:  Heavenly Home-made Fromage Blanc

FIVE YEARS AGO:  A Perfect Sunday Dinner

INSPIRED BY MARCELA

The FoodTV Network: Like a broken record, I might normally go on and on complaining about how great it was but no longer is…  I must say, though, that the more I watch “Mexican Made Easy”, the more I enjoy the show. Marcela Valladolid is knowledgeable, cooks great food, and is fun to watch.  Plus, she’s fit, which is not an easy task when you’re cooking and working with food 24 hours/day. Or close to that.  😉  Apparently she owes her great shape to yoga. On one segment about healthy Mexican recipes, they showed her serene composure during a tough variation of Warrior III, and in an advanced Twisted Pigeon pose.   Impressive, to say the least. ANYWAY,  back to cooking.  In another recent episode she shared a tempting recipe for Chicken Tostadas.  I didn’t make it yet, but I prepared one of its components, the tomatillo-avocado salsa.  It couldn’t be easier, and it couldn’t be tastier.   You absolutely HAVE to make and serve this alongside anything!  Ok, maybe not with that slice of chocolate cake… 😉

FRESH TOMATILLO-AVOCADO SALSA
(adapted from Marcela Villadolin)

6 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped
2 large yellow tomatoes, cored and seeded, coarsely chopped
1 avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 Serrano chile, seeded, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and  black pepper

Combine the tomatillos, yellow tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, chile, and lemon juice in a blender and puree until smooth. Season the salsa with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours or until ready to use.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

I intend to make her chicken tostadas soon, my problem is the tostada part, as we still don’t have a gas cooktop. But I might improvise and come up with an alternative.  Tomatillos are usually cooked before incorporation into salsas and sauces, but in this fresh preparation  the  trick is to mellow their sharpness down by adding the avocado and using lemon juice instead of lime juice, as most salsas would call for.  Simple. Brilliant.

My adaptation was adding some yellow tomatoes because they were looking at me and begging to be consumed. So I did.  Next time I might either process a little less, or save a few pieces of diced yellow tomatoes to add at the end and make it a bit more chunky.  We served it with grilled steel head trout and steamed rice.  Phil thought that a great idea for an appetizer would be a small piece of grilled salmon or trout over a blue tortilla chip, and a dab of tomatillo salsa on top.  No doubt in my mind I married a guy with great taste.  😉

On a slight tangent: as I was preparing this post, I got the feed notification of a new article by Kelly, over at Inspired Edibles.  She wrote a nice tribute to her yoga instructor, and I invite you to jump over there and read it, very inspring! As a bonus, you’ll also get a recipe for homemade energy bars…
I am all for energy bars these days! 😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Chocolate Intensity

TWO YEARS AGO: Shrimp in Moroccan-Style Tomato Sauce 

THREE YEARS AGO: Golden Zucchini: A Taste of Yellow