I have a new favorite chicken dish.
Baked Chicken with Poblano Cream Sauce.
Once you taste this you’ll never believe that something so flavorful could be so easy to prepare.
This is a simple and quick dish – something new to do with the old standby of boneless, skinless chicken breasts – that you can have in and out of the oven in under half and hour.
Even though the title says Cream Sauce, since the sauce is primarily made with milk, this is a light and healthier take on some of those chicken dishes made with cans of soup.
Here’s what you need:
Boneless skinless Chicken Breasts, Poblano Pepper, Onion, Olive Oil, Butter, Flour, Milk, Heavy Cream, White Cheddar Cheese, Salt & Pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you want to serve this dish with rice (and trust me, you do), start cooking the rice now as it will hold until the chicken is done.
Finely chop half a medium onion – about 3/4 cup.
Grab a nice dark green Poblano Pepper.
Poblanos are medium sized peppers that are very dark green in color. They are used predominantly in Mexican and Southwestern cooking. Poblanos are the peppers most often stuffed to make Chiles Rellenos. They have a unique flavor but are not hot or spicy at all. You can find Poblanos in most regular old grocery stores near the jalapenos and other peppers.
Cut the stem end off the Poblano, cut it in half lengthwise, and remove any seeds and inner membranes.
Roughly chop the poblano into several chunks and place it in a food processor or blender.
IMPORTANT NOTE: grind up the poblano in the food processor BEFORE adding the cream. I didn’t grind up my pepper first and by the time I had the pepper the right consistency, I almost also had whipped cream.
So, give the pepper a few whirls in the food processor or blender until it is ground up THEN add 1/4 cup heavy cream and process just until combined. Set the cream sauce aside.
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. I’ve cut my chicken in half because they were huge. This also helps them to cook quicker so they don’t dry out.
Heat 1-2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Brown the chicken breasts in the olive oil until golden on both sides.
The chicken will finish cooking in the oven so work quickly to get a nice golden crust on the outside only. Don’t worry that it is still raw in the center.
Place the browned chicken in a baking dish (9×13) coated with cooking spray.
Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan. You could also save yourself one dish to wash and melt the butter in the same pan you used to brown the chicken.
Add the chopped onion and cook 5 minutes over medium heat until tender but not browned.
Stir 2 Tablespoons of flour into the onions and butter to make a thick paste or roux.
Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes until all of the flour has been incorporated into the onions. Add 1 cup of milk and stir or whisk to remove any lumps.
Bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer and stir as it thickens.
Add the Poblano Cream mixture to the sauce and stir until you have a lovely green, slightly thick sauce.
Pour the Poblano Sauce over the chicken breasts in the baking dish.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of grated sharp white cheddar cheese over the chicken breasts.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is bubbly and just starting to turn golden brown on the top.
If you want just a little more golden color, you can pop this under the broiler for a minute or two however don’t take your eyes off it or it will quickly burn.
Serve the chicken over rice smothered in the delicious green poblano sauce.
My friend Jen, of Squash Apple Bisque Fame, told me about this recipe as we were driving home from an orchestra concert Saturday night.
I flew home and made it Sunday night for dinner. Just finished the last leftover for lunch today.
I’d happily make it again this weekend.
Here’s the recipe: adapted from Mexico the Beautiful Cookbook