Chicken with Pepita Pesto

  • Yield: 4 servings


Cilantro Pepita Pesto
1 1/2cups fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
3/4cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/3cup grated fresh Cotija cheese (Parmesan may be substituted)
1/4cup raw green pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), very finely chopped
4tablespoons olive oil
1tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/8teaspoon freshly grated garlic
-- coarse salt to taste
Polenta Poblano Hash
1small fresh poblano chile pepper
1-- 16 ounce tube (or 3/4 or a 24 ounce tube) of prepared ready to eat polenta
1tablespoon canola oil
-- coarse salt to taste
Desert Dusted Chicken
4-- boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 3/4 pounds)
1teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1teaspoon Mexican oregano
1teaspoon ground cumin
1/2teaspoon garlic pepper
1/2teaspoon chile powder blend
1/2teaspoon brown sugar
1/2teaspoon coarse salt
1/8teaspoon cinnamon
1tablespoon canola oil
Garnish, if desired
-- fresh cilantro sprigs; lemon zest peels or lemon slices


To prepare pesto, combine cilantro, parsley, cheese, pepitas, oil, juice, zest and garlic in a small bowl; salt to taste and set aside. (This will be slightly chunky.)

To prepare hash, set oven to broil. Place chile on small baking sheet with top about 3 inches from heat. Broil 10 minutes, turning frequently, or until blistered and charred. Place chile in resealable food safe bag; seal. Let chile steam for 15 minutes. Peel off skin and remove stem, seeds and membranes. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut polenta into 1/2-inch cubes. Heat a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet; heat oil in pan. Spread polenta cubes over bottom of pan. Cook over low to medium heat, turning occasionally, for 15 minutes or until cubes are just lightly browned. Salt to taste and stir in chilies.

Meanwhile, pat chicken pieces dry. In a small bowl stir together cocoa powder, oregano, cumin, garlic pepper, chile powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Evenly sprinkle on both sides of chicken.
Heat a large (12-inch) ovenproof skillet over medium heat; add oil and heat. Place chicken in skillet, presentation side down. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, turning once, or until browned on both sides. To finish, place skillet in preheated 425F oven for 6 to 9 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

To serve, place polenta hash on serving plate. Arrange chicken with hash. Top chicken with pesto. Garnish with cilantro and lemon as desired. Serves 4.