Green Chile Chicken Pan-salada

by Sarah on August 22, 2011 · 3 comments

Have leftover Hatch chiles on hand after making some Hatch Chile Hummus?*

*Might I remind you, if you haven’t, that this was described as “the best hummus [my coworker has] ever had.” So if you’re questioning whether to make it…well, you should. :) Or perhaps you bought a “meal deal” at your place of employment because you couldn’t pass up getting a whole rotisserie chicken, giant family-sized salad, and whole baguette for $10.00 ($8.50 with your discount)?

But you don’t really eat a lot of bread.

Well, how about you follow my lead and make this lightened-up hybrid of Italian panzanella (bread salad) and (New?) Mexican Green Chile Stew.

And because a hybrid recipe needs a hybrid name, I call it Green Chile Chicken Pan-salada.*

*And actually that’s a pretty literal translation to the Spanish for “bread salad.” Although true Spanish would be “ensalada de pan” because the adjectives (whether true adjectives or nouns acting as such) are general after the noun which they describe. But I digress.
To start, take about half of a 10 oz. baguette that has been sitting out for a day (or two…) and slice and quarter it into chunks.Lay out the bread on a rimmed baking sheet, and spray it with cooking spray. Then, sprinkle on a bit of cumin. [Not too much, but just enough. I don't know what "just enough" is, but hopefully you do.]Bake that for about 5-10 minutes at 350 degrees, until it’s just starting to get toasty. If you are like me, and have left your bread out for more than a day, you probably don’t need to do this, but I felt like it was an important step in the process. So I did it anyway.While your bread is toasting, you are going to remove the kernels from an ear or two of corn. [Or thaw some frozen corn.] Although I learned in one of my Central Market interviews that there are actually fancy gadgets that will do this for you, I stand by my claim (as I did in my interview) that that is just ridiculous, when the only corn kernel remover contraption you need is a knife and a small bowl inside of a large one.As I was aiming to evoke the flavors of a Green Chile Stew, I substituted the traditional Italian panzanella addition of ripe red tomatoes for the Mexican cousin, tomatillos.

After the bread has come out of the oven, set it aside and use the same baking sheet to spread out 1 cup of corn and about 1 cup diced tomatillo.

While that’s in the oven, prep your Hatch chiles (or open some cans of chopped green chiles if you don’t have the fresh roasted ones on hand).

Seed and chop those babies, removing as many seeds as you like. [Remember: the more seeds you keep, the more heat you reap.] Chop them up and wait.

After about 12-15 minutes, your corn should be starting to brown and the tomatillos should be softened up a little bit more than they were before.Put them into a mixing bowl. (Please.)Add in your roasted Hatch (or other) green chiles, and mix ‘em up well.Toss in the bread and continue to stir![This might be about the time you start to wonder, yet again, if I ever tire of taking so many photos of the process. Nah, not really. It just means it takes me 4 times as long to cook things as it will for you. :) ]Panzanella is traditionally made with day-old bread that is tossed with vegetables and softened up after soaking in oil. If you think I’m about to soak anything in a huge amount of oil, you obviously don’t know me.*

*Or my dog.^

^5 points if you recognized that as a butchered allusion to Best In Show.
Instead, I chose to use the leg met from the rotisserie chicken you saw above in this recipe. I personally find it a little bit more oily than the breast meat, as it doesn’t try out as easily (or something?), and therefore it adds enough moisture, with the chiles and other veggies, to soften the bread up enough.Finally, you need some cilantro!

[Unless you are one of those people who thinks it tastes like chalk. Then I suggest you just say "no."]

And voila! You’re finished.*

*Not finished in a”I’m going to come after you with a gun” kind of way, but finished, as in, “Time to eat!”

In efforts of full disclosure, I have to admit that the only panzanella I’ve ever had was made by Michelle at an Austin Food Blogger potluck.Her bread was crispier and it was probably more “authentic”…but I love Mexican hybrid just the same. [I even ate it for breakfast yesterday. Seriously.]
Green Chile Chicken Pan-salada
(Makes about 6 cups)

5 oz. day-old French baguette, chopped (about 4 cups)

2 cups shredded chicken

2 roasted mild Hatch chiles,* chopped

2 medium tomatillos, diced (about 1 cup)

1 cup fresh corn kernels

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

salt, pepper, and ground cumin

*may substitute 1 cup chopped canned green chiles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread out bread pieces in a single layer. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle on ground cumin. Bake at 350 degrees for about 5-10 minutes, just until lightly toasted.

3. Put bread into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

4. On same baking sheet, spread out corn and chopped tomatillos. Roast in 350 degree oven for about 12 minutes, until corn is starting to brown and tomatillos are softened.

5. Add corn and tomatillos to bread in mixing bowl, along with chiles and chicken.

6. Stir well to combine and soften bread.

7. Just before serving, stir in cilantro.

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Note: Because I used darker meat, the oiliness of the chicken caused the bread to soften perfectly (for my taste). If you would like to add even more zing–or soften up the bread even more–you may drizzle in some canola oil OR salsa verde. [I love D.L. Jardine's Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with this, if you can find it!]
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean August 24, 2011 at 7:24 am

this looks SO good. i've been thinking about making panzanella for a while now but i feel like the hubby won't like it. maybe sometime while he's out of town :)

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lovesweatandbeers August 24, 2011 at 9:17 am

Okay – I visited. I commented. It's pretty. Happy? :) (Joking aside though, it is quite pretty.)

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iheartvegetables August 24, 2011 at 10:10 am

This looks really good! I can totally see why you demanded more comments on this ;) haha

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