I haven’t written about a Rachael Ray recipe in a while, and I’m excited to finally be doing so now. I’ve really been impressed with some of her recipes lately. She still has some of the same problems for me that’s she’s always had (clearly, Rachael and I have drastically different definitions of what it means for a sauce to be “thick”), and I’m still not buying the whole thirty-minute thing (without a staff of people prewarming your pans and putting all your supplies in arm’s reach, thirty minutes is hard to do), but since adding less liquid is not a problem for me, and I don’t mind spending a bit longer than half an hour on dinner, I’ve really been happy with her dishes this season. I think Rachael’s are some of the most creative recipes on the Network, and I’ve frequently been surprised by some of the things she comes up with.
Take, for instance, her Chili Suizas Bake. This is a great and original idea. It’s pretty basic—chicken and poblano chili topped with tortillas and Swiss cheese (suiza means “Swiss”)—but the flavors are wonderful, and, despite the basic idea, this recipe uses some interesting techniques, such as roasting the peppers and making your own tomatillo salsa. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find tomatillos, so I used a bottled salsa verde by Goya (tomatillo-and-jalapeño-based). It was pretty spicy, I thought, so I only used half a cup, but, of course, that amount can easily be adjusted to suit individual tastes.
I did roast the poblanos though, something I’ve never done before. I was a bit afraid that it would be a pain removing the skins, but it really wasn’t hard at all. They cracked a bit during roasting, and all I had to do was look for the cracks and pull the skin away from the flesh. Actually, the original recipe doesn’t call for removing the skins, and I can’t remember whether Rachael did so on the show, but I removed mine and I think I did the right thing. I made Adam taste a strip of skin and he said it had a funny flavor. You can taste it and make your own call.
Besides using the bottled tomatillo salsa, I only made a couple of other changes. I used only one cup of chicken stock (two is definitely too much), and used sour cream instead of crème fraîche. I have nothing against crème fraîche—I just always have lots of sour cream on hand.
I served this dish with chips and avocado sour cream, which is, very simply, two avocados slightly mashed (I like mine chunky) with a juiced lime, salt and pepper, and about a quarter cup of sour cream. I made plenty of the avocado cream so that I could dollop some on top of the chili suizas. It was a fabulous, fabulous meal.
The original recipe is here, and my slightly modified version follows.
Chili Suizas Bake
Adapted from Chili Suizas Bake
3 poblano peppers
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds ground chicken
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup bottled salsa verde
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups lightly crushed tortilla chips
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 scallion, chopped, for garnish
Place the poblanos under a preheated broiler and char until blackened an all sides, 10 to 12 minutes, turning half-way through. Turn off broiler and set oven to 350 degrees. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to cool enough to handle.
While peppers char, heat extra-virgin olive oil in a high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and jalapeno and sauté until onions begin to soften, then add garlic and cook a minute more. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally and breaking up meat with a wooden spoon. Stir in salsa, then add chicken stock and honey. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer chili 10 minutes.
When poblano peppers are cool enough to handle, remove skins and seeds and chop. Stir into chili. Turn off heat and stir in lime juice. Transfer to a lightly greased casserole dish, and top with dollops of sour cream. Cover with a layer of crushed chips and top with Swiss and Monterey Jack cheeses. Cook in preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Scatter scallions over the top, if desired.
I will definitely be making this again, probably as soon as I see some tomatillos. And preferably on a Friday, served with some icy cold margaritas.