First off, I want to give special thanks to Kevin and Amanda over at kevinandamanda.com for this phenomenal recipe, originally posted on their site back in November 2012. If you aren’t familiar with Kevin and Amanda, be sure to check them out. Great pictures, interesting travel experiences, and step by step directions for terrific recipes that are always a success. To their original recipe, I made very little changes.
This dish is so sensational, I couldn’t wait to share it – literally – the kitchen is a small mess as we speak (but then that’s what Kiddo and Hubby are for – KP duty. Although, Kiddo was a huge help in the kitchen. We make a good team.) I just needed to write while this awesome one-skillet wonder is still so fresh in my mind.
The cornbread puffs don’t really “puff up” but rather are small, drop-style biscuits packed with flavor that are cooked in a thick, spicy salsa verde sauce. The original recipe called for 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped scallions (green onions to some folk) – as fans of green onions, we opted for the larger portion – about 1/2 cup or so. It really gave the puffs a lot of bright color.
The sauce is extra thick (a roux is made first), with incredible flavor. Kiddo and I decided to kick it up a notch by adding about 1/4 cup of chopped Jalapeno peppers from our garden. (Don’t have a garden? The nacho style jalapeno peppers will work just fine. The other change was that the sauce called for 4 tablespoons butter, the cornbread called for 3. That leaves 1 tablespoon “extra” in a stick of butter, so we went with 4 tablespoons in the cornbread to even it out. It seemed the practical thing to do, unless of course you use those big blocks of butter. Beyond that, the recipe is intact.
The recipe calls for about 4 1/2 cups of chopped cooked chicken. That’s actually a lot of cooked chicken, so leftover roasted chicken won’t be nearly enough. Which leaves you with one of three options – next time you plan to roast a chicken, roast two. Reserve one for later in the week to use in this recipe. Used canned chicken (boring – and expensive for this much chicken) or buy one of those roasted chickens in the market – you know the ones that are still hot, intended to be eaten that night for supper. Just take it home, let it cool and pick the bones clean. While it’s messier than buying a bag of roasted chicken meat from say Costco, it’s also a little cheaper since you’ve got to do a bit of the labor yourself rather than pay a butcher to pick the meat from the bones. Just be sure to keep Hubby and whoever else might wander through out of the kitchen so they don’t nibble on the meat before you get it packed away in the fridge.
One final note before we get to cooking – this recipe is simple to make, the prep work doesn’t take long and the cooking time is about 20 minutes, so it’s perfect for a weeknight meal. While this recipe is made in an oven-proof skillet, if you don’t have one simply transfer the saucy chicken into a baking dish, top with the cornbread buffs and bake accordingly.
Kicking Salsa Verde Chicken with Cornbread Puffs
For The Chicken
18 oz (about 4 1/2 cups) Cooked Chicken
Chop cooked chicken into cubes or shred into bite-size chunks. Set aside
For the Salsa Verde Sauce
4 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Flour
2 cups Chicken Stock
16 oz Salsa Verde Sauce
5 oz Evaporated Milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt butter over medium-high heat in a large oven-proof skillet. Whisk in the flour to make a paste.
Add broth, salsa verde, and evaporated milk and whisk vigorously until thick and bubbly.
Stir in chicken and turn heat to low to keep warm.
For the Scallion Cornbread Puffs
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
1/4 cup chopped Jalapeno Peppers (nacho style), optional
Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until melted and steamy.
Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and scallions in a separate bowl with a fork.
Pour in milk mixture and stir to form a dough.
Drop spoonfuls of dough into the skillet with chicken mixture.
Transfer skillet to oven and bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until cornbread is cooked through, and the edges are crisp and golden brown.
Remove from oven. When serving, drizzle a little of the sauce over the top and you might want to eat it with a spoon. It’s not “soupy” but a fork might be a little messy.
Oh, and if you added the jalapeno pepper, be sure to serve with plenty of ice-cold beverages!