Friday, July 3, 2015

Jalepeño Popper Chicken Casserole

There are several ways to prepare the jalepeños for this dish.  I like to grill them the night before but you can also dry-saute them in a cast iron skillet before making the rest of the dish.  If the peppers are very spicy, it may keep the fumes down to roast them as you prepare the cream cheese filling, as described in the recipe below.  In a pinch you can use canned green chilies and skip the cooking the peppers but the dish will not be as spicy. 

Jalepeño Popper Chicken Casserole
Yield 6-8 servings

Ingredients
8 jalepeños, halved and cored
4 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, divided
2 packages thinly sliced chicken breasts (about 10 pieces)
1 egg
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for pan

Method
  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Line a small baking dish with 1-2 inch sides with tin foil.  Oil lightly (or use spray oil.)
  3. Roast jalepeños in prepared pan until wilted and a bit charred, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove jalepeños and allow them to cool.  
  4. In a food processor mix together the cream cheese,  shredded cheddar and one tablespoon mayonnaise to form a thick cheese paste.
  5. Lay chicken breasts out on a platter and cover each with a layer of the cream cheese mixture.  Use the back of a large spoon to spread the cheese evenly.  
  6. Lay one-two jalepeños on each chicken breast and roll up.  Place rolled chicken breasts in the roasting pan.
  7. Mix together one egg and the other tablespoon of mayonnaise in the bowl of the food processor or small mixing bowl that the cram cheese was in.  Spoon this sauce over the chicken breasts and sprinkle panko bread crumbs evenly over the top of the rolled chicken breasts.
  8. Bake at 425˚F uncovered for 30 minutes.  Lower the heat to 325˚F and cook another 10 minutes.  A thermometer stuck into the center breast meat portion should read 170˚F.  Remove the pan from the oven and let casserole sit for 10 minutes before serving.
 This dish may may be cooked ahead, cooled completely and frozen.