First, let me introduce you to my Fagor Halogen Tabletop Oven . This isn’t a great photo (due to the fact that my HQ camera is MIA – LONG STORY and I’m taking photos with my iPhone 4), but I’ve been using my Fagor for about a month and once I have a few more meals under my belt using it, I will post a thorough review. I’ve been using it 4-5 times per week minimum, to ensure my review is complete.
This week, I explored utilizing a nearby supermercado Mexicano (Mexican supermarket) instead of the “traditional” U.S. chain grocery stores for an entire week of meals. I have devised a meal plan that encompasses various cuisines from Mexican/Latin, Jewish, American and Jamaican.
The Chicken Salsa Verde Bake was made in my Fagor Halogen Tabletop Oven and accompanied by Black Bean & Spinach Couscous (recipe to follow) and fried plantains.
Using 1-1/2 lbs. of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (pechuga de pollo sin piel y sin hueso) from the Mexican Supermarket, I utilized my Corningware (suitable for a halogen oven) to make this amazing, yet surprisingly simple chicken bake.
I used the low rack with the adjuster ring at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The first step (before cheese) took approximately 45 minutes to reach the desired inner temperature of chicken breasts of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. After adding the cheese, another 15 minutes was required. Other than trimming the fat every so slightly, as it was already hand-trimmed by the butcher and pouring the Salsa Verde, which I purchased jarred, there was very little prep time. I would say this recipe takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes TOTAL. If you’re not already aware I’m a huge fan of semi-homemade cooking.
First, I weighed the chicken breast. 2 breasts weighed in at 1-1/2 lbs., which is EXACTLY what the recipe called for.
Then, we trimmed the fat, which was VERY little in my opinion for $2.19/lb. This is all that came off 1-1/2 lbs..
Then, we sliced off the tenderloin and cut the chicken breasts in halves, arranging them in the round casserole dish so that they all touched and covered the bottom.
I poured 16 oz. of La Costena Salsa Verde over the chicken. At first, I didn’t think it would be enough, so I had a back up bottle on hand. 16 oz. easily covered the 1-1/2 lbs. of chicken I had prepared.
I placed the casserole dish, uncovered in the halogen oven. I’ve found I like to use the extender ring to give it that true oven taste cook, but if I had not done so, the chicken would have only taken about 30 minutes.
Next time, I will do this and add the extender ring for only the cheese since the cheese browned so perfectly using the technique described below.
I set the temperature to 350 for 30 minutes. Like I said, had I not used the extender ring for the chicken breast and salsa verde, the timing would have been perfect.
Since I did use the extender ring, the optimal internal temperature of the chicken was not reached until around 45 minutes. I used a meat thermometer to check periodically throughout the process. After the timer went off, I carefully placed my oven top in the lid holder.
Once I knew the optimal temperature had been reached…
(the picture above with the chicken covered with salsa verde represents the same appearance after cooking so a meat thermometer is CRUCIAL)
I added 2 oz. of Monterey Jack cheese (purchased from Kroger), 2 oz. of Sharp Cheddar (a house fave, purchased from Kroger) and 1 oz. of Quesadilla cheese, purchased from Brito Supermarket.
All cheese measurements are approximate, as I used my hands and sight to measure based on my standing as an eternal cheese aficionado.
After about 15 minutes of browning with the extender ring, lid off half the time and lid on the last half, plus Cilantro for garnish this is what you’ve got!
Slice and serve and you’ve got a delicious, flavorful chicken. Might I remind you I did not add any seasoning (not even salt & pepper) to the chicken before cooking. The salsa verde and the cheese mixture I used, provided the necessary flavors.
It did not turn out too runny in my opinion, as the light bath of salsa verde that remained was an essential key to the flavorful bites. Much like a roast cooked in the crockpot, I scooped and poured a bit of the light bath onto the chicken before serving.
With it, I served Black Bean & Spinach couscous as well as fried plantains. I’ll be sharing the recipe for the couscous next, as well as a mini-tutorial for fried plantains, which I purchased frozen.
Before serving anything to my family, I decided to prepare “tastes” of the complete meal on a spoon much like the new TV show on ABC called “The Taste”.
I’m a huge fan of cooking shows. Despite my hesitation to grasp “The Taste”, after realizing how I could incorporate it into real life, I am looking forward to the next episode (Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC). I’m also wondering how I can perfect this recipe (as well as others) to prepare using conventional, homemade cooking styles to get in the next competition.
Overall, the taste of the dishes combined were amazing; the perfect blend of savory, sweet, with a kick of vegetable, as well as perfect blend of textures. I’d have to say it’s the best meal I’ve prepared yet, however I’m by no means a professional.
Serve this along with my sides and let me know if you think I would qualify.
Take a look at a taste of this!
The next time I prepare this dish I might serve it as a pulled chicken casserole on top of a bed of Black Bean & Spinach couscous with a side of fried plantains. Different variations of salsa or even chutneys can also be utilized, such as a mango pepper salsa or tomato chutney. If your partner or spouse favor Mexican/Latin cuisine, cook this up for a Valentine’s Day meal and it’s sure to be a hit!