Sunday, July 8, 2012

Recipe: Mexican Chicken Panela

Tonight I made what I am calling Mexican Chicken Panela. For anyone not familiar with it, Panela is a type of cheese. I could not find it at my grocery store, but I'm still calling it Mexican Chicken Panela because I like that name better than Mexican Chicken Jack - the Jack cheese that I got is actually "Golden Jack" it's from the fancy cheese area. The recipe also calls for Cotija which I finally found in the "processed/shredded cheese" area instead of the fancy cheese area.

This recipe is adapted from Mexican Style Chicken Parmesan. I kept the ingredients mostly the same. I did change the directions to match how I make Chicken Parmesan in a skillet; I didn't want to turn the oven on.

2 to 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into two thin pieces
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cups picante sauce
1/4 lb panela (or jack) cheese sliced thin
1/4 cup cotija crumbled
1 teaspoon oil

Mix the cornmeal, salt, cumin and chile powder together. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip chicken in the cornmeal, then egg, then cornmeal again to coat. Brown the chicken on both sides, approx 6 minutes.

Remove chicken from skillet and drain oil. Return chicken to skillet, place one slice of Panela cheese over each piece of chicken, then pour chile sauce over chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked through (about 10 minutes).

Serve with cotija crumbled on top of each piece of chicken.

The Verdict:
I think we all liked it. Claire ate her entire piece of chicken without me having to prompt her to eat it. Justin would like to try it with flour instead of cornmeal. We also weren't entirely sure about the Cotija cheese - it was good when fresh, but once it got wet from the picante it had a funny texture, almost rubbery. I liked it with jack cheese, if I ever see Panela cheese and I'll have to try it that way too. Overall, it will definitely be on the menu again.

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