Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chihuahua Chicken Melt

Yummy!  Sometimes just throwing together what ingredients you have in an inventive way pays off! 
     As a sous chef (second chef) I was always trying to make something out of slow selling food items or items the chef may have ordered too much of.  Never sell food that is going bad.  That is taboo.  Sell food that has not sold well as a different or new recipe before it spoils is definitely a better idea!  It helps if you have an extensive knowledge of recipes too. 
     The opposite end, is for a sous chef is to figure out what to do with items that there is not enough quantity of, to sell as a popular du jour item or main course.  When there are four fresh uncooked filets of snapper leftover from the previous busy night, what do you do with them, if you expect a lunch crowd of 250 customers?  Soup?  Off the wall entree?  Add ingredients that make it fancy and expensive?  It is a judgement call. 
     The worst thing a chef can do is tell customers that they ran out of an entree when it is in demand.  Letting small portions of good food go to waste is another taboo.
     Those sous chef challenges are similar to a home cook wondering what to do with a few ingredients in a refrigerator that need to be cooked and served.  I had some shredded chicken, a small piece of chihuahua cheese, a piece of green bell pepper, a tomato, 2 ounces of cream, 2 slices of French bread, 1 jalapeno and a very perishable bunch of watercress that all needed to be eaten rather than let them turn into a "refrigerator science experiment."  This open faced chihuahua chicken melt is what I thought of creating!
     Recipe:  Simmer a chicken breast in water over medium heat in a sauce pot. 
     Add sliced dried guajillo chile.
     Add a minced garlic clove.
     Add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of cumin.
     Add black pepper and sea salt. 
     Simmer till the chicken is cooked enough to be shredded and so the broth has thoroughly flavored the chicken. 
     Remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool.
     Shred the chicken and set it aside. 
     (You can strain the broth and use it to flavor rice for another recipe or discard it.)
     Brush two slices of French bread with olive oil and grill them till they are toasted.
     Grill 8 thin plum tomato slices that are seasoned with sea salt and black pepper over medium heat in the same pan. 
     Place the grilled tomato slices on the toasted bread and set them aside.
     Saute a handful of red and green bell pepper strips with olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  
     Lay the sauteed pepper strips over the tomato slices on the bread.
     Mix a thin sliced jalapeno with the shredded chicken. 
     Place the chicken on top of the pepper strips on the open faced sandwich.
     Set the two open faced sandwiches halves on a baking pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes till the sandwiches are reheated.
     Heat a cup of cream in a sauce pot over medium heat. 
     Add a small handful of grated chihuahua cheese while whisking. 
     Add sea salt and white pepper. 
     Stir and reduce the sauce, till a simple melted chihuahua cheese cream sauce is formed.
     Assembly:  Place watercress sprigs around the border of a plate. 
     Set the warm open faced sandwiches on the middle of the plate. 
     Pour the melted chihuahua cheese sauce over the sandwich. 
     Sprinkle a little bit of thin sliced green onion on the sandwich.
     Delicious!  The flavors are definitely southwestern and Mexican.  Grilled tomatoes and peppers go well with chicken.  The watercress adds a crisp, fresh peppery green to the plate.  The mild melted chihuahua cheese sauce has an interesting flavor.  This is a knife and fork open faced sandwich that is not boring at all!  For a quick idea to use a few ingredients that there was not enough of to make other recipes, this sandwich turned out very nice.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

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