Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chipotle Pulled Chicken...

While we only talked about 5 new recipes I made this week, I did prepare a slew of others (including a few strawberry!) that we'll eventually get to. I have so many new recipes now stacked up to show you, but I just don't have nearly enough time to sit down and post about them! Out of the ones from this week, our favorites were those fun Roasted Garlic, Asiago and Pepperoni Pizza Sticks, the Upside Down Rhubarb Cake and that fresh-tasting Shells with Two Tomatoes and Mozzarella.

PS - the strawberry poundage we've picked from our patch as of last night? 25 pounds in total! Woo doggy!

Tonight's dish is definitely one you want to wait until a day where you have plenty of time to play in the kitchen without much interruption if you want to get it on the table for dinner, which is why I opted for a Sunday night do this. While I wouldn't say this Chipotle Pulled Chicken on Corn Spoon Bread is all that complicated to prepare, there are a few steps that happen at the same time that need attention.

Poaching chicken breasts was on tap first, which we did simply by covering the meat with water and adding a bit of extra flavor in the form of chopped onion, a garlic clove, a touch of cilantro and salt. You need about a pound and a half of chicken for this, but the time needed to cook through will depend on the size of the meat you start with - we went with 6 four-ounce portions and they only needed to simmer for about 12 minutes. However, if you use 4 larger six-ounce portions, up the time to 18 to 20 minutes.

As I waited on the chicken to cool down enough, the next part I worked on was a saucy chipotle pool we used to flavor the meat. To a skillet with softened onions and garlic, we stirred in a dollop of concentrated tomato paste and gave it contact with the heat to bloom. Fire-roasted tomatoes, that we pureed smooth with a couple smoky chipotle chiles, were poured into the mix and left to simmer, allowing the sauce to thicken.

Now that the sauce was off on its own, I had to turn my mind in a different direction to take care of preparing the spoon bread! Who needs down time? Spoon bread is somewhat similar to cornbread, except the end texture is extremely moist and could almost be described as pudding-like. There is only enough flour used to give the spoon bread structure and hold together the generous moisture content coming from the creamed corn and tangy sour cream used. For a sharp note, shreds of white cheddar were also tossed into the lumpy batter just before we scooted it into the oven to bake.

Not too long after the spoon bread went in, the chicken was cool enough to shred by hand and just when I finished that task, the timer ticked off for the sauce. Which is where that chicken needed to go, along with dried oregano for depth. Once the chicken had a chance to warm up in the sauce, it was finished off with a bit more fresh cilantro.

Giving the spoon bread a short time to cool down, we found it to be extrememly moist when sliced into, but it was thick enough that we were able to pull out triangles to serve. For a creamy bite, with the benefit of off-setting the heat in the chipotle, after we got the spoon bread and chicken onto the plate, we dropped a dollop of sour cream on each serving, along with rich avocado slices. My sauce ended up a little on the liquid-y side as you can see, so I wonder if I didn't have it on a high enough simmer? It didn't seem to dampen our experience though as we both made short work of our portions! Spread out over six servings, using just two chipotles in the sauce didn't empower a fiery heat, but left it with a savory smokiness that had enough punch to keep us happy.


  1. Ok, Joe, Seriously, do you have a photo studio? Your pics looks so well lit and dont have any odd background stuff...

    :) Kim

  2. I'll be trying that spoon bread Joe!


  3. Wow--25 lbs of berries from your yard?! That is very impressive!


  4. Kim - I wish we did! We really don't do anything special, except using a few flexible white boards.

    Quinn - Awesome!

    Courtney - And they are not showing signs of slowing down!

  5. Nice recipe! Really good balance of flavors and heat. Thank you.

    I didn't have the fire roasted tomatoes, but it was fine with regular canned tomatoes (and a little extra chipotle).


  6. Blake - Glad you gave this a chance! Thanks for the feedback.