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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Chicken and Green Chile Volcanoes

My daughter-in-law is a New Mexico girl. She loves her green chiles. After a recent visit to both sets of parents, my son told me how those who reside in Albuquerque seem to offer green chile on everything. He even took some photos of some of the amazing food he ate there. See, I do have some influence on him. He now takes pictures of his food too.

I am sure the green chile they get in New Mexico is a cut above what I use here, but it is still all good. I buy my chiles by the institutional sized can. I open it up and freeze them in smaller containers. Basically everything I can find in my kitchen at that point! Ice cube trays, 2 oz condiment containers, etc. So much more economical that way. I hate seeing those tiny cans at the grocery for over a dollar. I also have some amazing green chile powder that I ordered from New Mexico. I am pretty stingy with that. Since you all probably don't have access to that easily, I opted not to put it in this recipe, Still good...if you appreciate chiles. But if you happen to have some, by all means add a half a tsp to the ground chicken. This way is very mild. Even my hubby had no complaints.

Why ground chicken?  I use ground chicken for several reasons. Although I am not a fan of the texture of the raw chicken, I do really like it once it is cooked. It is a little too sticky raw, but I can work with it. That is why the edges on these patties are not entirely smooth. It grabs the spoon a bit. I don't try to shape it with my hands like I would beef. But hey, ground turkey has the same problem, so why hate on the chicken? This is a really finely ground batch, and that is because of reason number two. I love to infuse flavor into the ground meat rather than have it sit on top. With ground chcken, you can mix all the good add ins right into the meat. I ground this chicken at home and added the chiles right in the processor with the chicken breasts. That's flavor infused. Did you notice that I said chicken breasts? That is reason  number three. I like the fact that this ground meat is very lean. I am certainly not fat phobic, but I prefer leaner ground meats. They hold their shape better and make less mess. Plus, I do watch my calories these days and I would rather put my fats into coconut oil candies. You can certainly grind your own from dark meat, or buy ground chicken. I never seem to see it in my stores, but it must be out there somewhere...  The last reason I like ground chicken is the price. Beef costs are soaring. Good quality turkey is expensive. Chicken breasts seem to go on sale often. That makes ground chicken about half the price (or less) of many other ground meats.

I have told you all this before, but for you newbies, I use my Ninja Master Prep to grind chicken breasts in under a minute. It takes longer to wash the blades and lid than to process the chicken. I am pretty picky about cleaning all the nooks and crannies since I use this for protein shakes as well. That part is a pain. Food processors would work too; they might take a bit longer. That all said, now back to this recipe.

The 'Volcano" before filling
Volcanoes -- such a fun name. The lava here is a thick cream cheese, cheese and green chile mixture. So good. The cone of the volcano is the chile infused chicken patty. A couple of month's back I made the beer can burger patties for the "manfood" edition of the Diner News. For that recipe, you form a patty around the base of a beer can to create a bowl shape. Then you fill the bowl with all sorts of man pleasing goodies and bake. They were great. This is a cousin to that idea. The chicken is a bit too sticky to form around a can, but I improvised. I simply place a blob of chicken onto the baking sheet. Used an oil coated spoon to form it into a rough ball shape, then sprayed the bottom of a glass with coconut oil cooking spray. Pressed it into the chicken to form a crater. That is the inactive volcano because the cream cheese lava doesn't come until later. Got the idea? Let's get to the recipe.

Chicken and Green Chile Volcanoes

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 oz canned green chiles
1/2 tsp garlic salt
Coconut oil cooking spray
4 oz neufchatel or cream cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Grind chicken breasts with 4 oz green chiles and garlic salt. On a rimmed baking sheet, spoon the ground chicken into 4 mounds. Spray the back of a spoon with cooking spray and spray each mound as well. Smooth the mounds into round shapes. Spray the base of drinking glass with the pan spray. Press it into the mounds of chicken to form a well. Use a circular motion to make the well wider, and a twisting motion to release the glass. Repeat with each mound, spraying the glass in between each. Use the spoon to smooth the edges a bit for more even baking. Place into a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

When cooking time is up, remove chicken from oven and collect roughly 2 tbsp of cooking juices. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, the cooking juices, Cheddar and about 2 ounces of the chiles. Spoon this mixture into the wells in the chicken patties. Top each with the remaining green chile. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Serves 4:  229 calories   3 net g carb

Yum. I served this new dish to my middle son Monday night. He gave a big thumbs up. We had a salad on the side along with grilled peppers, zucchini and onions. We have one leftover and it is lunch today. Woohoo for me!

I am crazy busy again. Working on a diabetic cookbook project for a wellness group. Gotta get back to it! Stay cool, but go ahead and turn on the oven for this one.

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Anonymous said...

I liked how you ground your own chicken. Most recipes for ground chicken use store prepared. That really turns me off.
I am certainly going to try your version.
Thanks for posting.

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