Southwestern Chicken Tostadas

  • Yield: servings


For the Pasilla Chile Salsa:
3-- dried Pasilla chiles
3large Roma tomatoes
1/2-- yellow onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
8cloves fresh peeled garlic
1teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
2tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4teaspoon sugar
1/4cup water (if necessary for thinning)
-- Salt
For Pepita Guacamole:
3-- ripe avocados, halved and pitted
2cloves fresh peeled garlic, minced
1/3cup minced yellow onion
1/3cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1teaspoon ground cumin
1teaspoon salt
1/4cup fresh lime juice
6-- (7 inch flour tortillas)
-- Olive oil for brushing the tortillas
For the Chicken:
1teaspoon dried thyme
1/2teaspoon dried oregano
1/4teaspoon (heaping) cayenne pepper
-- Salt and pepper
1/4cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 1 inch strips
2tablespoons unsalted butter
6cloves fresh peeled garlic, minced
1/3cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
3-- Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4cup finely chopped cilantro
1cup Mexican Crema or whole milk sour cream
1cup crumbled cotija cheese
-- Toasted pepitas, cilantro sprigs, and lime slices for garnish (optional)


Recipe makes 6 tostadas

Prepare the Pasilla Chile Salsa: Preheat the broiler. Open the Pasilla chilies and remove the seeds and stems. Place them in a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Cover the bowl to keep the chilies submerged.

Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the whole tomatoes on the baking sheet. Set the tomatoes as close to the broiler as the oven allows and broil until darkly roasted and partially blackened, flipping with tongs halfway through, about 12 minutes total. Set the tomatoes aside to cool on a plate. Turn the oven to 425F degrees. Spread the onion slices and the garlic cloves on the baking sheet. Roast for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions and garlic are soft and slightly browned.

Drain the chilies. In a food processor (or blender), combine the chilies and tomatoes (along with any juices that may have accumulated on the plate). Puree until smooth and then transfer half of the puree to a large bowl. Add the onion and garlic to the processor and pulse until it is chopped medium-fine. Transfer the puree to the large bowl and stir in the oregano, vinegar, and sugar. Add the water if necessary to give the salsa a light consistency. Season with salt. Lower the oven temperature to 375F degrees.

Prepare the guacamole: Scoop the guacamole flesh from the skins and mash in a large bowl. Add all of the remaining guacamole ingredients and stir until combined. Cover and set aside.

Toast the tortillas: Scatter the tortillas on 2 baking sheets. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and bake for about 12 minutes, or until they are golden and crispy.

While tortilla toast, prepare the chicken: In a small bowl, combine the thyme, oregano, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and saute for about 2-3 minutes, stirring, until the pieces are browned all over. Remove the chicken to a plate and cover loosely to keep warm. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoon butter to the skillet over medium heat and stir to melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and the fresh tomatoes along with the herb mixture and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Return the chicken to the skillet. Add the cilantro and stir until the chicken is cooked through, 2-3 minutes.

Assemble the tostadas: Lay the toasted tortillas on individual plates and spread them with a layer of the pepita guacamole. Arrange the chicken mixture in the center of each. Top the chicken mixture with a dollop of the crema and spoon the salsa over the crema and decoratively around the plate. Sprinkle with crumbled cotija cheese, cilantro leaves, and pepitas, and serve with lime wedges. Pass any remaining salsa and guacamole on the side.