Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chicken Parmesan, the Mexican Way

This has been on my mind for quite some time. The thing is, you have probably seen a lot of Chicken Parmesan recipes out there. I want to do something that is a little different from the rest. That's the beauty of cooking. You can always experiment with the flavors and spices. It may turn out bad. It may turn out great. But I'm willing to take risks. 

So I present my own version of your favorite classic, with a Mexican twist. 


Baked cornmeal crusted chicken that's crisp on the outside, tender and moist inside,
 swimming in delicious, fiery enchilada sauce, covered in melted cheddar cheese. 
There's only one word for it.  


It does take a bit of time to prepare but it is worth it. You can prepare the sauce ahead of time 
and store it in the fridge until you are ready to start cooking. 
The sauce is absolutely THE BEST PART!

Original recipe from Food Wanderings In Asia 

4 skinless chicken breasts fillets, lightly pounded into 1/2 to 1/4 inch thick

1 cup buttermilk
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder (or taco seasoning)

Cornmeal coating:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup grated parmesan
2 heaping tbsp taco seasoning, homemade or store bought
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 to 1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt

1 egg + 1 tsp water, seasoned with salt and pepper

2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp olive oil

Enchilada Tomato Sauce:
1 10 oz enchilada sauce, hot
400 g crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (or more if you want it really spicy!)
1 tsp adobo sauce
2 tbsp taco seasoning, homemade or store bought
2 tbsp honey
1 heaping tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped
2 tbsp grated parmesan ( optional )
salt and pepper to taste 

4 oz cheddar cheese, grated (add more if you like)
chopped coriander/cilantro for topping

Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Put the chicken breast fillets together with the marinade in a ziplock bag. Lightly massage the chicken in the bag then marinate overnight in the fridge. 

Make the sauce. Saute the onion and garlic in a pan with 1 tbsp oil over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the taco seasoning, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce and saute for another minute or two. Add the crushed tomatoes, enchilada sauce, dried oregano. Stir to combine. Add the honey. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Towards the end of the cooking time, add the chopped cilantro and some parmesan if you like. Give it a good stir. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and blend the sauce until it is smooth (or just slightly chunky). Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil lightly drizzled or brushed with olive oil.

Mix the cornmeal coating ingredients in a bowl. Lightly beat the egg, water, salt and pepper together in a shallow bowl. Remove the chicken from the ziplock bag. Let the excess marinade drip. Coat the chicken with the cornmeal mixture. Dip it next in the egg mixture then coat it again with the cornmeal. 

Mix the melted butter with the olive oil.  Transfer the chicken to the baking sheet. Drizzle it with the melted butter and olive oil or you can also just spray it with olive oil. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. 

Pour some of the sauce on a baking dish to cover the entire bottom. Arrange the chicken breasts fillets on top of the sauce. Pour more sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle some grated parmesan and cheddar cheese over each chicken. 

Cover the dish with a foil and bake for 10 minutes or more until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle some chopped coriander / cilantro and serve immediately.

And if you're like me, I'd spoon a little bit more of that yummy spicy enchilada sauce on top.