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Creamy Chicken & Spinach w/ Roasted Poblanos

A few hours ago I woke up to the steady patter of rain on the small metal awning outside of my front door.  The temperature in the house was just cool enough to warrant the warm blanket that I couldn't help but snuggle under.  Though I could hear cartoons in the distance, the air around me was still.  Everything was still except the voices inside of me.  One was urging me to turn over, close my eyes, and go back to sleep.  The other argued for the faint smell of freshly brewed coffee sneaking in from the kitchen and the call of the book on the nightstand with a book mark a quarter of the way in.

Knowing I probably wouldn't be able to enjoy sleep much longer before pitter-patter of eager feet and little voices urging me to make breakfast appeared at my side, I opted for something in between.  Keeping my slippers off, I did my best silent tiptoe to the coffee pot before propping up the pillows and tucking myself loosely back under the a seated to the window that was being steadily pinged with fat rain drops and curled up with my book.
Happily I made it through one silent chapter before being detected. And the majority of a mug of warm, life-stirring liquid in my veins. Let the day begin.

Fortunately I made this rich, earthy melange of roasted poblanos, juicy chicken, and satisfying greens all smothered in a creamy sauce yesterday...and now all it needs is a gentle reheating before it gets enveloped in its toasty corn blanket.  And then I can find my blanket since the rain still beckons...

Creamy Chicken & Spinach w/ Roasted Poblano

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: simmer entree chicken spinach Mexican
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
  • 2 poblano chiles
  • 2-3 Tbs. olive oil
  • ~1¼ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced ¼" thick
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ~12 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 c. chicken broth/stock
  • sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 c. crema (Mexican table cream)
Roast the poblanos directly over an open flame or under the broiler, turning regularly until blistered and blackened all over, ~5-10 minutes. Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit until cool enough to handle. Rub off the blackened skin, then pull out the stem and seed pod. Briefly rinse to remove any stray seeds or bits of skin. Slice ¼" thick.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Generously salt the chicken breasts on both sides and place into hot pan in a single layer. Flip when browned on the first side and cook until golden brown on the second side, as well. This should take a total of ~10 minutes. Chicken should be cooked almost all the way through (it will finish cooking in the final step). Transfer chicken to a shallow bowl. When it's cooled down a bit, cut the chicken into chunks.

With skillet over medium heat, add the onion. There should be enough oil in the pan to lightly coat the onion. If there isn’t, then add a little more. Cook, stirring regularly, until richly browned and sweet, 8-9 minutes.
Add the garlic to the skillet and cook 1 minute, then add the broth and thyme. Raise the temperature to medium-high. Cook until the liquid is nearly gone. Add the spinach and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the cream and cook until it is noticeably thicker (it’ll be a rich glaze).

Taste and season the mixture in the skillet with salt, usually ~¼ teaspoon. Stir in the chicken, let heat through for a few minutes, or until chicken is cooked all the way through. Serve as a taco filling with hot tortillas. Enjoy!

adapted from Rick Bayless
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