Easier Than Pie Chicken

The phrase “easy as pie” sometimes bothers me. I don’t think pie is super difficult to prepare. It does take some time, however, to make, chill, and roll out a pie crust. So I don’t think pie should be the standard for ease.
And I do love ease. As readers who follow other my blog, Pulling Taffy, know, most of my time these days is taken up with care for my elderly mother, who suffers from dementia.
One of Taffy’s quirks at this point in her life is that she really HATES to be alone, even for a few minutes. So my dinner-prep time is limited.
This chicken casserole suits me perfectly. I can chop the onion while chatting with her. The only time I have to be in the kitchen is the five minutes or so it takes to brown the chicken, a task I try to accomplish while my mother naps.
The recipe was suggested by a vendor I met at the farmer’s market near mein Alexandria, Virginia, last week. Lily Castaño is the creator of Salsa Las Glorias, a range of salsas that are in indeed glorious. I bought way too many of them!
Perhaps I should feel guilty about cooking with a pre-made product. When tomatillos come into season, I can always make my own salsa verde as I did in a previous recipe for Salsa Verde Pie.
Meanwhile, Lily’s super-fresh salsa is a far cry from a can of soup. And her chicken idea (roughly translated by me) is delicately flavored yet satisfying. The sour cream adds just a little extra smoothness.
The dish is highly flexible. Use leftover chicken if you like, and/or make it with unboned unskinned chicken for extra moisture. (Just make sure you cook the chicken through!) I seem to remember Lily sometimes used herbes de Provence; I might try a little cumin next time. And when I heated up leftovers the other day I threw in some ripe olives, which added color (yes, black is a color!) and flavor.
Please note that although this recipe served my mother and me plus our dog you may want to add more chicken. Only you know whether your family members routinely eat a whole or a half chicken breast for dinner.
Lily’s Salsa Verde Chicken
1 boned, skinned chicken breast
a small amount of olive oil for browning
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup salsa verde
1/2 medium onion (a sweet onion is particularly nice in this), chopped
sour cream as needed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the chicken breast in half along the vertical edge so that you have two thin cutlets with the same shape as the original breast.
In a medium pan over a medium-high flame heat the oil until it shimmers. Brown the cutlets briefly on both sides, adding a light amount of salt and pepper.
Transfer the cutlets to a baking dish. Cover with the salsa and then the onion pieces.
Cover the baking dish and bake for 45 minutes. Serve over rice and garnish with sour cream. 

Serves 1 to 2.

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17 Responses to “Easier Than Pie Chicken”

  1. Thanks for the recipe, Tinky. There are excellent panaderias, as well as a host of chi-chi markets in the San Francisco Bay Area, so finding excellent chile verde really is a piece of cake.

    We have been finding increasingly that my mother refuses to eat many things (with the exception of sweets). She will eat chicken if it is effectively hidden in a soup or a sauce. Otherwise, no way.

  2. tinkyweisblat says:

    I know the feeling, Paul. My mother still SOMETIMES eats chicken, but beef is very difficult. She did like this dish. (So did Truffle, of course!)

  3. I certainly understand the need for a few easy meals to get on the table quickly.

  4. Oops, hit submit before I finished. That salsa looks lovely. And I don’t think a farmer’s market product made by a producer you know has any relation to canned soup. If you find something good, make use of it!

  5. I love easy dinners, especially these days!! This sounds great! I hope you’re doing well!

  6. Jean says:

    Sounds and looks good, and I enjoyed the trip down Virginia memory lane by seeing where Lily sells her salsas, and where you go to the farmer’s market. Makes me homesick until I remember humidity. I am always on the lookout for some way to prepare a boneless skinless chicken breast that doesn’t end up chewing like cardboard. I will give this a try.

  7. tinkyweisblat says:

    Abigail, excellent point. EveryDay, I’m sure you can empathize; a baby is the ONLY thing comparable to my mom. And Jean, so glad to take you down memory lane. The chicken can still dry out if it gets overcooked, but at its best it’s dreamy……

  8. I like salsas and curries on the hot and spicy side, so a variation set aside for me and a milder one for everyone else works well.

    Soups and sauces are the repository of leftovers!

  9. tinkyweisblat says:

    So true, Paul……..

  10. Grad says:

    Tinky, this looks like a great dish to get ready on a weekend and have available to pop into the oven on a work night. I have some very nice individally frozen flounder filets that would also work very nicely, I think, in place of the chicken. And they can be put in the oven frozen so there would be almost no prep at all. Think I’ll try that this week!

  11. tinkyweisblat says:

    Sounds like fun, Grad! By the way, Lily also has a fabulous fish recipe on her site if you want to try it.

  12. Sue Haas says:

    Just put your chicken & salsa into the oven. Can’t wait. BTW, I called the “The Splendid Table” radio show last Sat. and recommended that they check out your food blog. — Hope all’s well. Unusually cool spring here. Tulips and rhododendrons are blooming about a month and a half late! So, your chicken dish will warm us up nicely. Thanks.

  13. tinkyweisblat says:

    Thank you for the referral, Sue. I hope you enjoyed it–and that your spring gets a little springier soon!

  14. Alisa says:

    I love quick meals.Thank you for this recipe. I’ll make this soon.

  15. tinkyweisblat says:

    You’re more than welcome, Alisa!

  16. Adelaide says:

    Hi Tinky,

    Such good ideas you have. I like Grad’s variation with flounder. I think I’ll try it with frozen tilapia filets.


  17. tinkyweisblat says:

    I love the whole fish trend you all are starting. Thank you, Adelaide……

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