Friday, February 1, 2013

Salsa Chicken Casserole



Salsa Chicken Casserole

 
 
 
This really turned out tasty and full of flavor!  I have been in the mood for Mexican flavor lately and something as simple as a bottle of Mexican Flavored hot sauce inspired me.  Jeez, I'm easy!  It may look like an event to cook this but it's really simple.

 
If you have read any of my posts you may have noticed that I like sauces.  I like full, rich robust flavors and I think sauces really help to bring richness to any food. 
 
Its best to prepare this a day ahead because the marinade time is important but it's not a deal killer (thanks to the sauce).  With any recipe the ingredients are simply suggestions, take out what you may not like and add other things to create the flavor that your looking for or simply jump in head first and create this wonderful Mexican dish just as it below. 
 
Its a party of flavors that your taste buds are going to appreciate and you may get flowers or something special from that special someone after you prepare this for them.  Ok perhaps I'm over doing it.  Just try it and let me know what you think.
 
Scotty B!
 
PS - The picture really doesn't do this justice.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Meat:
 
I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  But you can use breast if you prefer.  I'm a thigh man (so to speak)
 
Marinade and Rub:
 
Use this rub to dust the chicken:
1 Tbl Spn Fajita Spice
1 Tbl Spn Chili Powder
1/2 Tbl Spn Garlic Powder
1/2 Tsp Paprika
1/2 Tsp Cumino
Dash Cayenne Pepper
Dash of salt
Mix everything well and rub into the chicken.
 
For the marinade simply use your favorite salsa.  I used a jar of "On The Border" medium salsa.  Add 1/2 Tbl Spoon of your favorite Mexican hot sauce.  I use Valentina.  It's not too spicy.  Mix together and pour over the chicken making sure all pieces get a good salsa bath.  Let sit for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
 
Sauce: 
 
1 Tbl Spn Liquid Smoke
1 Tbl Spn Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbl Spn Mexican Hot Sauce
2 Tbl Spn Olive Oil
2 Tbl Spn Teriyaki Sauce
1/2 Tbl Spn Honey
1 Tsp Minced Garlic
1/2 Tbl Spn Fajita Spice
Dash Salt
1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional - this kicks it up)
 
Mix all of this well and set aside.
 
Preheat Oven to 450.  Place chicken in an oven safe skillet or casserole dish.  Pour all of the salsa marinade in with it.  Then pour the sauce over all of the chicken.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.  Cut the chicken and make sure it's done. Adjust cooking time accordingly.
 
The Rice:
 
I have a thing for the Knorr brand of rice in a pouch.  For this I used and recommend the Butter Garlic from Knorr.  The Steak Fajita flavor is also special and appropriate.  Cook this according to the directions and set aside.
 
The Marriage of Flavors:
 
Once the chicken is completely cooked, remove from the skillet (or whatever you cooked it in) and set it aside.  Scoop the rice into a clean casserole dish.  Pour EVERYTHING from the skillet that the chicken was in, into the rice and mix well.  This takes the flavor over the top! 
 
Cut the chicken in smaller strips or cubes and stir into the casserole.  Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top and if you can handle waiting 10 more minutes, place it in the oven until the bread crumbs are cooked / brown.  This is also a great time for the flavors to get to know each other. 
 
Remove from the oven and let it set for about 5 minutes then serve. 
 
Paradise!
 
I hope you enjoy.  Let me know if you cook it and how it turns out.  You'll be glad that you did.