Someday I will live in New Mexico! Lol!! I say this to my husband and to anyone that will listen, all of the time. The southwest, New Mexico, in particular holds a special place in my heart. From the time I was born, until I was 14, my parents traveled cross country, from California to Monterrey, Mexico twice a year to visit family. My most vivid memories are passing through Arizona and New Mexico. During the winter, soooo cold, and during the summer, HOT!! I remember stopping at the market or gas station and running, with no shoes on, across the super hot pavement or sidewalk. Well, I was a kid, I know better now! And when I really think of it, I often wonder if it’s New Mexico that I love so much, or the experiences of my family bonding during these trips, that I love so much. Either way, it holds a special place in my heart, and yes, someday I will live there. This recipe for Chile New Mexico Chicken is fairly easy. You can substitute chile California or guajillos if the chile New Mexico is not available. Out of these three varieties, I find that the New Mexico pepper is the spiciest.
Yields 6 servings
3 large boneless chicken breast or thighs (2 pounds)
6 dried chile New Mexico peppers
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
1 teaspoon cumin
1. Remove seeds and stems from dried peppers. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with water and cook in microwave for 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from microwave, stir and let cool. Once slightly cooled, drain the liquid. Transfer to the blender, add chopped garlic, cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1½ cups water. Blend until smooth. Strain through a wire mesh strainer. Taste for salt. Set aside.
2. Butterfly the chicken breast, so you have 6 pieces and it’s nice and thin. Season with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic on both sides. Transfer to a glass baking dish, cover with chile sauce and lemon juice. Turn chicken so it is evenly coated. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 24 hours.
3. Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat a griddle pan or heavy skillet to medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Cook the chicken for 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove from heat, tent with foil paper and let the chicken rest for a few minutes. Garnish with Mexican oregano. Serve as-is, with a salad, or slice thin for tacos.