Monday, July 6, 2009

Spicy Pepita-crusted Chicken with Cilantro Dressing

For those of you with crawling babies, answer this question: HOW ON EARTH DO YOU COOK WITH YOUR BABY AROUND??? I normally can handle it, but with Van crawling around everywhere, I feel like I can't get anything done in the kitchen. Like, "Hurry quick and wash the raw chicken off my hands so I can grab Van before he climbs up the stairs." Or, "Finish chopping that green onion before Van digs into the house plants."

While I was cooking this, Van was all over the place and then Jack decided it would be awesome to fall down the stairs. So I have chicken in the oven, Van pulling apart the pots and pans drawer and Jack bawling his brains out like his limbs have been cut off. Boy I hate that kind of chaos. But I had kids by choice, so I have to figure out how to hack it.

Enough about my insane children, what about this recipe? I love it when I nail a recipe. This one was nail gunned to the wall. Even though I was going to cut off my own head when I was making this, it was quick on the prep, clean in the flavors and fresh in the ingredients. Big time pleaser in our house (after everyone stopped screaming, including me) and hopefully in yours as well.

2 cups raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/4 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 slice fresh bread
1 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
3 eggs
4 chicken breasts, halved horizontally, making 8 chicken portions

Set the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pepitas, oregano, cumin, chile powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and bread slice. Process until the pepitas are finely ground. Transfer mixture to a shallow dish. Rinse out the food processor bowl and set aside for the cilantro dressing.

In another shallow dish, combine the flour, salt and pepper. And then in another dish, add the eggs and whisk. Create an assembly line with the egg dish, flour dish and pepita dish. Dip the chicken in the eggs first, then the flour, back into the eggs and then into the pepitas mixture. Set the crusted chicken onto the baking sheet and repeat with other chicken pieces. Once all pieces are crusted, bake for 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a serving platter.

For the dressing:
1 bunch cilantro, stems cut off
3 garlic cloves
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a blender, combine the cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper. Process until smooth. While the machine is running, add the olive oil. Scrape the sides down and pour into a small jug or pitcher and serve with the chicken.

Yields 4-6 servings.


Tara said...

I have to ask...what the heck are pepitas? I've never heard of this! And, I totally understand your struggles in the kitchen with the baby. My baby is two now but with all three of mine I remember a point in time where I would scream "I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE!!" but it DOES get better!! Just hang in there!

Cafe Johnsonia said...

I've never really used pepitas before. It looks delicious. I want a pitcher of that dressing just for me to drink.

Cooking with kids sucks. There's no way around it. What normally would take 30 minutes takes about 2 hours for me. When 4 pm hits all hell breaks loose. And that's why we only eat dessert and mac n' cheese these days.... :)

Sara @ Our Best Bites said...

2 words: tupperware drawer! I plop my kiddo right in front of the tupperware drawer (strategically placed at his level) at let him make a complete disaster with all of the lids and containers. And if that doesn't work, I strap him into his chair and give him candy or a popsicle, haha.

Mike and Jill said...

I'm SO jonesing over this chicken!!
And when ours started crawling we bought 3 sets of gates. Uh huh, corraled them! It's still tough to this day. When my husband cooks, they both pull on his legs and ask for "Uppy" so they can see what he's doing. When I'm cooking they leave me alone.....

candace said...

I love the contrast between the chaos in your house/life and the simpleness and orderly fashion of your chicken dish! ha ha. that's delicious irony.

Ingrid said...

Oh, geez! Yup, I get ya! Even when they're older its a pain just a different type but my least fave part of the day is bedtime.I take it Jack didn't end up like Humpty dumpty and didn't need putting back together.

Thanks for sharing your recipe. I'm in agreement with Lindsey and think the dressing sounds (& looks) so good!

meg said...

I find that putting my kids in the broom closet (we call it the Chokey) and locking it until I'm not only done cooking but eating as well does the trick.

Sweet Pea Chef said...

I had a pepita crusted salmon once that was heavenly. I am putting this on my list. And with cilantro? Money.

Trying to cook with a little one crawling around can be frustrating at best. That's why I sadly use some of my "me" time during naps to prep dinner.

Anonymous said...

This sounds sooo good. I been looking for something unique to make and I found it. I will make it this weekend, can't wait!!