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Chicken In Cilantro Sauce For Dinner


What's for dinner tonight? I make a yummy dish called “Chicken in Cilantro Sauce” . I serve it with a side of seasoned white rice, smooth refried beans and a refreshing green cabbage and cucumber in lemon salad. On the table is a good supply of warm corn tortillas and salsa for those who need the spicy bite. It is a hit, my family gives me the “good cook ma” highest rating that I always aim for. If we happen to have dinner guests, I am happy that everyone is so satisfied. Every cook breathes easy with satisfied smiles and second helpings. The saucy meat scooped into the warm corn tortilla is a delicious blend. I started thinking that this chicken dish would make a great tamal filling. Yes, I am confident that chicken in cilantro sauce snugly embedded into a mound of flavorful masa  will steam into a deliciously successful savory tamal.

What exactly makes a successful tamale?

It’s very simple, or at least tamaleras make it look easy. Masa that is kneaded with meat broth and salt until it is smooth. This level of kneading might be considered a mini upper body workout. If the masa recipe calls for baking powder, it should be a minimal amount. “Just a pinch” or the masa will be too cakey and absorb the sauce in the filling during the steaming and produce dry tamales. Some fillings, like cheese and rajas or chile pepper strips do not have sauce so smooth moist masa is essential. The perfect ratio of masa to filling might be a tamaleras secret but  Texas Lone Star Tamales has unlocked it though, their authentic tamales have enough masa to compliment their savory or sweet fillings for moist yummy tamales.

A successful savory tamale will have  both smooth tasty masa and aromatic flavorful filling. I have a strong hunch that chicken in cilantro sauce will make a delicious filling. I’ve made arrangements with my sister in law who is a tamalera in her own right, so that we can create some mouthwatering “chicken in cilantro sauce tamales” I’ll fill you in on my savory tamales on my next blog post. 
Until then, I’m going to share my recipe for “Chicken in Cilantro Sauce.” You will be glad you decided to make it for dinner. You’ll find it easy and economical to make and muy deliciouso!  

In spanish the word “tantealo” means, try it, guesstimate how much of an ingredient needs to be added in.  As a teenager my mother taught me to cook by “eyeballing” a dish and making experienced guesses as I stirred and added in different ingredients. It remains my M.O. in the kitchen while cooking. Even when I have attempted to follow  recipes exactly, it never fails that I alter it.  I found this recipe on the back of a Contadina tomato sauce can. Although I’m sure that the original Chicken in Cilantro sauce recipe was easy and tasty, I did find myself  guesstimating the simple ingredients. Now after  34 years, I have since tweaked the recipe to fit my preference. I prefer to use the juicier dark meat and make it much more saucier, plus as my family grew and appetites increased, I started adding potatoes. 

Chicken in Cilantro Sauce Recipe:

6-8 Boneless or bone in chicken thighs. (skin is optional, I like to leave it and brown it to a crispy texture)
1 tbsp. Canola oil
1 small can of Tomato sauce (8 oz.)
½ bundle of cilantro (chop and save a few springs for garnishing)
1/2  a bell pepper cut in large chunks- 6 pieces or so
1/2 Onion cut into quarters. 
2 Fresh Garlic cloves
1 tsp of powdered bouillon for sauce 
½ tsp of Salt for sauce
½ tsp black pepper for sauce

Season and brown chicken thighs in oil with 2 quarters of onion and ½ the bell pepper. Drain the excess fat.
In the blender add remaining ingredients, blend them well then pour sauce over chicken, use a small amount of water to clean out the blender and pour that also into the pan with chicken. There will be enough sauce for chicken to cook in. Add bouillon, salt and pepper to taste, Cook on high until it is boiling, then simmer for about 45 minutes. Taste it after it’s simmered to make sure it doesn’t need more salt. 

Optional: I like to add potatoes. I thoroughly wash 2 large potatoes and cut them into bite size chunks, sprinkle them with salt, pepper and bouillon then add the potato chunks into the sauce. You’ll have to taste it and add seasoning as needed. 

Serve chicken with rice, beans and salad, it will make a delicious dinner. Make sure to provide corn tortillas for the full “near tamal” experience and enjoy your dinner.

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