Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Chicken with Huitlacoche

This is a complex recipe that takes about a total of 2 hours and is not a simple throw it together dish. I make this one for special occasions because of the ingredients that are a little hard to get. The Huitlacoche is very hard to get in the US, but look for it as a canned product under the Monteblanco and Goya brand. It is available in some of the ethnic markets in a 460. g or 14 oz can. Here in Mexico you can find it seasonally in the mercados.
Huitlacoche is a fungus growth that attaches itself onto corn cobs. It is considered a delicacy and is worth the effort to do this dish. It really looks weird, sort of like spoiled or moldy corn kernels, but indeed tasty with a distinct flavor.

To prepare the stuffing.

Saute the Huitlacoche in the skillet over low heat with butter for 3 to 4 minutes or until it starts to release it's juices. Throw in the garlic and serrano chilies and simmer for 8 more minutes, if it starts to dry out, add some chicken stock or water so that is doesn't scorch.
Add the marjoram and saute for another 5 or 6 minutes or until almost dry.
Take the skillet off the heat and let it cool completely.
Meanwhile remove the kernels from one large ear of sweet corn, or if regular corn, use that but add 1 tbs of honey and dry roast in another skillet, use a wooden spoon and stir it so that it doesn't burn.
Add the red pepper , cook for a minute or two, remove from heat and set it aside.

Take the corn bread into a medium bowl and toss in the cooked huitlacoche, corn mixture, scallions, hoja santa and epazote.
Toss in the salt and pepper and add the stock and egg whites. Combine all but try not to over mix, stir only enough to coat the ingredients totally.

Stuffing the Bird.

Put the breasts on a cutting board and make an incision lengthwise through the center of each breast. With a small paring knife carefully widen the incision and try not to cut through the breast.
With a spoon or zip lock bag with the end cut off, stuff the breasts until plump. Put into the refrigerator for an hour or two before cooking.

To cook the dish

Don't cook the dish, cook the chicken in stead.
preheat the oven to 425.
Season the breasts with some salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet,until hot over medium high heat.
Place the breasts skin side down in the skillet.
Immediately reduce the heat to medium and saute until lightly browned.
Remove any excess grease from the pan and place it into the oven.
Be sure your skillet handle can withstand the heat of the oven otherwise you will melt the handle and chicken with a melted handle isn't a good thing.......
Roast the breasts in the oven for 13 to 15 minutes and test with an instant read thermometer for 135.
Remove the breasts and tent with foil.
Meanwhile......deglaze the pan with the vinegar. When you have deglazed the pan and the vinegar has been reduce by half, add the tomato salsa and sugar.

Taste the hot sauce (carefully so you don't burn your tongue) and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve
Ladle the warm sauce onto 4 warm plates that you have preheated, nap the plate and be sure it is covered , remove the breasts from the foil, and with a serrated knife cut into 4 even slices with the goodies inside and place them on top of the napped plate and serve.

I usually will serve this with whatever fresh vegetables that are in season, spinach, kale, asparagus all do complements to the chicken.

Stuff you will need

1 Cup Huitlacoche
3 cloves of roasted garlic chopped*
2 roasted serrano chiles, diced with seeds
1/2 tsp chopped fresh marjoram or 1/4 tsp dry
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup crumbled up corn bread
1/4 chopped scallions
1 tsp chopped fresh hoja santa or 1 tsp chopped terragon
1 tbs chopped fresh epazote
1 egg white
1 tbs butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup chicken stock
4 whole chicken breasts with skin on without bones
4 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider or wine vinegar
1 cup roasted grilled tomato salsa*
1 Tbs sugar

* Salsa recipe
8 medium sized Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup diced white onion
1 tsp olive oil
1 whole chopotle chile with adobo
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tbs sugar
juice from 1/2 lemon

Roast tomatoes on hot oiled pan in very hot oven, or blacken them on open flame or with propane torch. You want the flavor of the caramelized tomato skin. Saute the onion in the oil until the onion starts to brown or caramelize. Throw all into a blender or a molcajete and blend or grind until smooth. Add lemon to taste. Adjust the seasoning to taste, possible add another chili if not sufficiently hot for your taste.
(Recipe from Santa Coyote in Guadalajara)

To roast garlic

Cut garlic bulb in half width wise. Coat with olive oil, place into aluminum foil and place into 350 oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool, remove the roasted soft garlic from the bulb. Use this in recipes and it is great spread on bread!
Remove and cool, scoop out the roasted garlic and use on bread or recipes.

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