Creamy Cilantro Poblano Chicken

As we promised, our summer continues with a guest blogger! Our series of summer blog dinners begins with one of our very own, Hunter Moore. Hunter has been with us for several years, but he isn’t only a great employee and friend, he’s an excellent chef! Surrounded by a lot of siblings and family members, he grew to love cooking for them and in large portions! He claims he doesn’t know how to cook for just one, so if you’re lucky to dine with him, there are always plenty of leftovers! Sunday night, I had the privilege of indulging in one of his favorite meals: Creamy Cilantro Poblano Chicken with Mexican Rice. Between the smells and the taste I was on sensory overload and my stomach was stuffed! Hunter says if you’re cooking for a big group, this is the meal to cook. It’s easy, delicious and now you can cook it yourself!

IMG_1968

Ingredients

  • 3-4 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 8oz cream cheese
  • 3 poblano pepper
  • 1 1/2 head of cilantro
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock (more or less depending on how thick you like the sauce)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups of white rice
  • 2 tomatoes
  •  1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp granulated chicken base
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Directions

Roast the poblano peppers on high broil in the oven. Rotating them until all sides are charred. Take them out of the oven, de-seed and peel off the skin.

IMG_1977

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Season the chicken breasts with cumin, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees.

IMG_1972

While the chicken cooks, place the poblanos, cilantro, chicken stock, butter, salt and pepper, and cream cheese in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Once the chicken has cooked, take out the pan and our the poblano sauce over the chicken. Place back in the oven and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 10.54.42 AM

Begin prepping the sauce for the rice. Quarter the tomatoes and place them into the blender with the garlic, granulated chicken base, salt, pepper, and one cup of water. Blend until smooth.

Make sure you have a pan with a nice tight lid for cooking the rice. Clear lids work well so you can see into the the pan while you’re cooking.

Brown the rice in vegetable oil on medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until the rice begins to slightly change color. Add in de-seeded and diced bell pepper and onion.

Drain excess oil in the rice and pour in the tomato sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes to rid of the raw tomato taste.

Screen shot 2013-07-11 at 10.55.02 AM

Add one cup of HOT water and lower the heat to low. Put on the lid and cook for 20 minutes. You’ll know the rice is done when the liquid is gone in the pan. Do not open the lid or the rice will not cook properly! Add a little water to the rice after 20 minutes if it’s still a little bite-y.

And you’re done! “I love cooking this meal, but I love eating it even more.” — Hunter

IMG_1988

Good luck and we hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did! Stay tuned for our next guest blogger!

Advertisements

We’ve Caught the Cooking Bug!

After working with Leah for a few years, you begin to enjoy the art of cooking. As she shares her recipes with the staff, and teaches her techniques in the kitchen, the cooking bug spreads around like wildfire! Many of our staff have special recipes they enjoy cooking and treat us to every now and then.

This summer we’re going to do something a little different and start guest blogging. But here’s the catch: our staff will be the guest bloggers and post their recipes! We can’t wait to see what they’ll be coming up with. Maybe you can take some of these recipes and cook them for your friends and family at a summer backyard party! Stay tuned!

Goodbye, Garlic

garlic

Garlic is one of the most commonly used flavors in food, so it’s hard to get away from if you aren’t a fan or have an allergy to it. Recently we were asked if there were any substitutes for the allium, and we have some answers for you!

Most of the time garlic is used, commonly with onion, early on in cooking to add aroma and flavor. If you can’t find a good substitute, you may be able to avoid using them in the recipe. But, consider a substitute if:

  • Garlic is the only flavor in the recipe
  • Garlic is the main part of the recipe
  • Garlic is used raw or lightly cooked

So you’re thinking, these rules apply to almost every recipe. Don’t worry, we have a quick fix for you! Since garlic is an aromatic, here are some that will still add a mouth-watering scent and flavor to your favorite dishes!

  • Fennel – its licorice-like taste goes well with chicken or fish.
  • Celery – this is surprisingly one of the most popular aromatics!
  • Bell Pepper – often used in Cajun cooking, this veggie makes a good base for rice or stew and goes well with celery!
  • Carrots – these can also be used with celery and are very popular with French foods.

In addition, you can try out these spices and herbs that will add flavor to any meal:

  • Peppercorn
  • Cumin
  • Horseradish
  • Ginger
  • Shallots

Hopefully this will help you the next time you’re looking for a garlic-free recipe. We love answering your tough cooking questions. Ask away any time on our Facebook page or right here on Leah’s Table!

Culinary Trends that are Shaping the Olive Branch

Here at the Olive Branch we like to try cooking trends and experiment with new flavors and recipes. Last month Leah explored the world of southern cousine and whipped up some chicken and waffles. It was a true success and you can make it yourself, just find the recipe here. This month Leah’s looking a little further into cooking fads that are taking over the culinary world. Nation’s Restaurant News recently posted the Top 10 Culinary Trends of 2013. Leah’s excited to experiment with these trends so stayed tuned for recipes featuring these fads! For now, read on to see how you can get creative in the kitchen and impress your friends with the trendiest cook techniques of 2013.

DIY chocolate

This one caught our eye: Healthy Kid’s Meals. With new food regulations, we’ve seen schools improve on their lunch options. At the Olive Branch Leah makes sure our menu includes healthy and delicious meals for kids. Our grilled cheese is served with fruit so your little ones get all the nutrients they need!

Greek yogurt can be found at any grocery store these days; there are so many brands it’s hard to know which one to choose! But Greek yogurt is more for just eating by itself, now it can be used as a substitute for many traditional ingredients. Anything consisting of mayonaise or sour cream can be substituted with plain Greek yogurt. We don’t currently have any recipes with Greek yogurt, but we’re excited to try using it in our homemade mac & cheese or even putting it on top of a baked potato!

It can be challenging to find gluten free items in Central Texas, but due to the increase in demand and popularity, gluten free foods can be found almost anywhere these days! Most manufacturers have started developing not only GF bread, but also GF sauces, desserts and snacks. Leah has been working on creating items that are gluten free and enjoyable for everyone! For those that have celiac or gluten sensitivities, we’re hoping on board with this trend so you can eat at the Olive Branch too! Many of our salads are made with our homemade gluten free dressing. Items like our quiche and chicken salad are free of the protein composite as well. Although our whole menu is not gluten free, we continue to think of ways to accommodate our customers!

Glutenfree

For a chef, new culinary trends are an exciting thing. Leah’s mind is constantly turning with new ideas for ingredients and recipes. This month, we’ve even added an appetizer menu! Our Italian queso,  garlic bread, chips, hummus, and salsa are available for you to snack on before you enjoy your dinner. And they’re all homemade recipes by Leah! Stay tuned for more recipes to come, but until then, stop by the cafe to see how we’re putting these culinary trends to use!

(Photo’s curtsey of Nation’s Restaurant News)

Murder Mystery Dinner

Have you heard? The Olive Branch is hosting a Murder Mystery Dinner and tickets are selling out fast. Our Friday dinner is completely sold out, but don’t worry, we’ve added another show! Saturday June 1, join us for a night of fun, food and mystery mayhem! This is just a sneak preview of what’s to come!

Murder Mystery

The Brazos Theatre Group will be performing “Murder: Stage Right” in a thrilling show to find out who killed Hamlet. Before the performance, enjoy a four-course meal prepared by the one and only, Leah Stewart! Choose from beef tenderloin or seafood stuffed salmon for your main course. Our mouths are watering just looking at the menu!

Menu

Tickets are $5o per person — gratuity for our servers is not included. The dinner will also be BYOB. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the performance begins at 7. Reservations are required, please call the Brazos Theatre Group at 254-313-8920 to get your tickets today! We’re looking forward to seeing you there!