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.
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.