This recipe for chicken and rice really bowled me over! A couple of chicken breasts generously feeds four people and due to the cooking method, come out juicy and flavorful. No more rubber chicken!
Cooking the chicken in a tomatillo sauce is the key. Which brings me to our summer garden. Oddly enough, the tomatoes that grew prolifically in years past, eeked out only a few tomatoes this year, and on the flip side, tomatoes that didn’t do well previously grew bumper crops. I don’t understand it, I just cook what I harvest. Today it happens to be tomatillos.
I love the way the tomatillo plants grow. It looks like my garden is dotted with tiny lanterns.
I usually roast the tomatillos to develop a richer flavor. For the sauce, I roasted tomatoes with onions, peppers, and garlic.
This turned out to be a fabulous sauce! It makes more than you can use in the recipe, thankfully. I’ve used it on salads, scrambled eggs, vegetables, potato, and as a dip for a fried green tomato sandwich. Oh so good!
The main reason for making the tomatillo sauce was to cook the chicken with it so it tenderizes the chicken and adds a nice flavor.
This part of the recipe might be overkill, making your own tortilla strips. If you are pressed for time or can be satisfied with store-bought tortilla strips, skip this step. However, I must say, these homemade strips are gooood!
Finished chicken and rice bowl topped with zucchini guacamole. Yes, it makes for a very “green” looking dish, and fear not, there is chicken in there too. It’s hiding under the guacamole and tomatillo sauce.
- 20 tomatillos, paper peeled off, washed, and quartered
- 2 poblano peppers, seeded and sliced in half
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and sliced in half
- 1 medium red onion, quartered
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 bunch (handful) cilantro
- Olive oil
- 6 corn tortillas
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 2 large chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
- 1 1/2 cup rice, cooked
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: Zucchini guacamole or avocado guacamole
- For the sauce: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Peel the paper off the tomatillos, rinse, and quarter. Place the tomatillos, poblanos, jalapeños, red onion and garlic on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. (If concerned about burning the garlic, place it on a piece of foil, drizzle with oil, and wrap into a little packet.) Put packet on the baking sheet with tomatillos, peppers, and onions.
- Roast everything for 40 minutes. Tomatillos will release some juice. Put all the roasted ingredients plus broth, salt, and cilantro in a food processor and pulse until sauce-like consistency.
- For the Tortilla Strips: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium low heat. Oil does not need to be too deep but enough to generously cover the pan and tortilla strips. Test the heat of the oil by letting a drop of water fall in the pan – if it sizzles, the oil is ready.
- Add the tortilla strips in batches, flipping or stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When the tortilla strips are crispy and golden, remove and set on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all tortillas are done.
- For the chicken and rice: Cook the rice according to package directions or use leftover rice.
- Heat a little bit of oil in a large skillet and add the chicken. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; flip once when chicken is lightly browned on the outside. Add the tomatillo sauce to the chicken and let it gently simmer over very low heat for 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken, shred with two forks, and return to pan. Mix chicken back into sauce, adding more sauce if necessary.
- Assemble: Layer rice and chicken into a bowl. Top with more tomatillo sauce if desired. Add guacamole (if using) and then add tortilla strips on the top.
- Additions: chopped cilantro, sour cream and squeeze of lime as toppings to assembled bowl.
- Great recipe to use leftover rice.
- For additional goodness, layer your favorite vegetables between rice and chicken. I added sautéed zucchini (of course!).