This Mexican-inspired chicken recipe combines the best of American cooking with a delicious traditional Mexican green chile sauce and cheese. Not only is it easy to prepare, it's healthy, too: low-carb, low-fat, and low-calorie—yet bursting with flavor! A recipe for homemade green chile sauce is given, but 3 1/2 cups/830 ml canned can be used instead.
While the chicken breast in this dish is baked in the oven, most cooks in Mexico do not use their ovens often. Oven-baked dishes are usually considered special party or holiday fare. In fact, stove ovens are frequently used as storage space for pots and pans!
For a change of pace, use chunks of pork in place of the chicken.
- 2 pounds/900 g chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
- For the Green Chile Sauce:
- 2 pounds/900 g chile peppers (green Anaheim or Poblano)
- 2 cups water
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Optional: 1 to 2 jalapeños (roasted and seeded or canned)
- Garnish: 4 ounces/115 g Cotija or queso fresco cheese (crumbled or grated)
Make the Chile Sauce
- Roast the peppers, peel them and remove and discard the stems and seeds.
- Blend chile flesh in a food processor or blender until chunky. Add water, peeled garlic, oil, lime juice, salt, and optional cumin. Process until smooth. If you would like a spicier sauce, include 1 or 2 seeded jalapeño peppers.
- You will use this entire batch for this recipe but if you don't use it immediately, it can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for up to 6 months.
Make the Pollo Verde
Heat oven to 350 F/175 C.
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Place it on the bottom of a 13x9-inch/33x23-cm baking dish.
Pour the sauce over the chicken. Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes or until the center of the thickest part of the chicken breast has reached 165 F /74 C.
Remove the dish from the oven and crumble the cheese over the chicken. Serve immediately, with hot corn tortillas and Mexican rice and/or beans, if desired.
Whether it’s because you have guests or just because you like garnishes, top your baked chicken with one or more of the following to add eye appeal as well as flavor and texture:
Mixture of diced raw onion and finely chopped cilantro
Drizzle of liquid cream (Mexican crema)
Shredded cheese (a kind that melts nicely, such as Mexican manchego, Oaxaca, or Chihuahua cheese) instead of the grated/crumbled cheese mentioned in the main recipe. Put your cheese-topped chicken under the broiler briefly, until cheese has melted and is just starting to brown.