I’m not quite sure how this happened, but somehow I’ve found myself without a single green vegetable at home. No spinach, no lettuce, no baby spring mix. Not even a single green pea can be found in my refrigerator, and that is a very strange, evil thing for me. Over the years it’s gotten so that I don’t feel I’ve had a complete meal unless some green leafy vegetables on my plate. It’s not quite as bad as my tomato worship, but it does make me get a little anxious like I’m going to be missing something major in the way of nutrition if I skip a day of greens.
Faced with this dilemma and a hungry appetite last night – not to mention a pretty barren fridge – I decided I would have to get uber-creative, no matter how lazy I felt because of the 100-degree weather. I had some dried wild mushrooms from TJ’s that I was going to use in a pasta dish, but the near-perfect chicken breasts I had scored at last week were calling to me as well, so I figured I’d put the two together. Then my eyes fell upon the can of chipotle peppers in adobo that I had also gotten (for a phenomenal price) at La Superior. I started to think: could I? Could I make these two very different foods work together? Since I wasn’t cooking for guests or anything, I decided now was the time to take some major experimental action.
This turned out better than I expected it to. Truthfully, I haven’t cooked with whole chipotle peppers before (I’ve used their adobo but that’s about it), so I had to play around with the flavoring & heat scale before I was satisfied with the result. Fortunately, chipotles are right on the Hot Enough point of the KimberHeat scale, so I felt I’d be okay with a couple of the peppers’ seeds and veins here & there. Unless you’re a true spicy food aficionado, I recommend deveining as many of the peppers as possible, lest you overwhelm your tongue and palate with heat and miss the other flavors. Interestingly enough, the smokiness of the chipotle peppers combined with their tangy adobo goes really well with the woodsy flavors of the wild mushrooms. Though this might work just fine with regular white mushrooms, I’d recommend nothing more “normal” than a portabello or crimini mushroom for this dish; I think the chipotle peppers would be too much for a regular mushroom. If you’re using dried wild mushrooms, follow the hydrating instructions on the package as closely as possible to ensure that you have the most flavorful, tender mushrooms possible.
A couple of other things to note: Be sure not to overcook your chicken breasts so that they’re not tough and dry. Part of the beauty of this dish aside from it’s amazingly full, spicy flavors are the tenderness of the chicken. It’s easier to appreciate the sauce and mushrooms when you’re eating juicy chicken rather than a piece of cardboard. Lastly, don’t be intimidated by this recipe (someone at work told me it looked like it was “too restaurant-y”, ergo, too much work). It’s almost embarrassing how easy this is to prepare! Just arrange it nicely on your plates and it’ll look like you slaved for hours. 😉
PS – This is NOT for the faint of heart or palate! Definitely serve this with some rice to help with the heat of this dish. If you are sensitive to spicy foods, stay away from this one, or add more broth & cream to even out the heat. Otherwise, the spicier the better!