Monday, September 7, 2009

Foodie Fights Battle #11 - Chipotle/Goat Cheese: Chicken Adobo Lettuce Wraps W/ Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa & Goat Cheese Queso

Ok. Chipotle & Goat Cheese. Two amazing ingredient on their own. But can they work together as one to be a powerhouse of flavor? The answer? Si.

This is my second battle, and after winning the first, I knew I had to bring my A plus plus game because yeah, winning one battle is pretty awesome, but what if it was just a fluke? So what if one judge gave me the win, but to get two wins in a row (and be the 1st to ever do so, I might add), now THAT would be incredible. Not to mention how huge my head would become after doing so, but I digress. Now to bring myself back to the present instead of dreamland.

Anyway, the immediate moment that I found out the ingredients, my brain was at work. Exploring flavor options and profiles. Thinking what would sound good and refreshing. And BAM! My pencil met the paper and I came up with this... Lettuce Wraps. Chicken ADOBO Lettuce Wraps. I've been looking for a reason to make chicken adobo for ages, considering my last bout pretty much sucked. A sad day for a Filipino when her adobo doesn't turn out well.

So for the adobo, I chose to do two different styles. The traditional Filipino adobo with chipotles. And then the Latin American Style adobo that chipotles are usually in when you buy them from a can. Out of them both, I don't know if it's because I'm Filipino and I'm kind of partial anyway, but I liked the flavors of that one better.

Marinated Chicken in Filipino Style Chipotle Adobo:

1/2 lb boneless and skinless chicken thighs
3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 big pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Marinated Chicken in Latin American Style Chipotle Adobo:

1/2 lb boneless and skinless chicken thighs
3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
juice from 1 lime
1/4 cup vinegar

For the marinades, combine all ingredients, except for the chicken and bay leaf from Filipino adobo, in a blender and puree until all ingredients are incorporated. Then in 2 separate plastic bags, combine chicken thighs, pureed marinades, and add bay leaf to Filipino adobo bag. Seal both bags, and make sure there is little or no air in each one. Fold bags as tightly together as possible, that way, the marinade has little surface area and can penetrate through the chicken easier. I let the marinades sit in the fridge for 2 days, mainly because I lost track of time and couldn't make time until today (Labor Day), but I'd suggest letting it marinate for AT LEAST 2 hours, but overnight is ideal.

So as I was brainstorming, I was trying to think of how I could incorporate the goat cheese in all of this. And keeping with a sort of Asian/Latin American fusion type deal, I decided to do a goat cheese queso to top the chicken. Which then led to the idea of a Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa. Cheese and salsa go together fantastically, so why not in this dish also??! The ball was rollin' and I was getting excited.

Goat Cheese Queso:

6 oz. Queso Fresco, chopped into cubes
1 Serrano Pepper, sliced
6 oz. Goat cheese, chopped into cubes
1/2 to 1 cup of heavy cream, depending on the consistency of how you like your cheese

In a small saucepan, combine cheeses and serrano peppers. Let melt, and then add cream in small batches until you get the texture of your liking.

I've never melted goat cheese before, so I didn't know how well it would interact in all of this, but it faired pretty well. It gave the cheese a texture, kind of gritty (but not like sandy, unbearable gritty, but the taste of goat cheese gritty (if that makes any sense at all?!?!)). It definitely packed a heated punch with the Serrano pepper in there though!

Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa

1 lb. of tomatillos, halved and quartered
3 gloves garlic, chopped
2 canned chipotles in adobo sauce

In a large fry pan, saute garlic until just fragrant, maybe a minute.
Add tomatillos and cook until soft.

Remove from heat for a few minutes and add to blender along with chipotles.
Pulse a few times until you get a desired consistency. Some like it chunky, but mine was pretty smooth.

So now I have all of my components, and individually tasting each one, they all tasted pretty damn good. But would they work together?!?!

Grill the chicken on a medium to high heat on a charcoal grill.

Cook until white throughout.
Let chicken rest on cutting board for about 5 minutes.

Then cut chicken in strips.

Get out some lettuce leaves, I used iceberg because they're crisp and I thought they would hold well. Layer some strips of chicken on top of lettuce.

Then add salsa.

And finally, top with queso.

Fold over and stuff your face! Andy enjoyed them, and I finally took this to work shortly after I made them, and all of my coworkers seemed to enjoy them also. So I'm pretty sure this was a home run with them, and hopefully it will be for you guys too!! Good luck to the competition!!!


  1. Oh, yum, yum, yum!! But goat cheese *scares* me! :) I may have to overcome my fears... ;) Good luck!

  2. hey looks delicious....I love chicken

  3. thanks guys! goat cheese shouldn't scare you! it's actually quite good!

  4. I love this recipe, but my hubby would veto it, the only ingredient he dislikes is goat cheese.

  5. could always just melt down the queso fresco and not the goat cheese to accommodate him! =)

  6. OH that looks so delicious! I love goat cheese. I'm going to have to try this myself, only on an indoor grill, hope it works as well!

  7. i hope it does too! let me know how it turns out for you!

  8. not many people like goat cheese but I'd eat food prepared the way you did it! awesome!

  9. I love it.. Is this a Filipino Cuisine?? :)

    I love Filipino Cuisine..
    Thanks for the recipe..



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