This recipe is so easy, it’s surprising how good it is. You just line a baking dish with chicken breasts, pour over plenty of salsa verde, bake, sprinkle with some cheese, bake some more, and presto wham-o you’re there! Serve over rice to absorb the sauce. It’s a little late in the season for fresh tomatillos to make the salsa verde, but it’s easily available jarred (look for it in the salsa section, or Mexican food section, of your grocery store) and thankfully with our ginormous tomatillo harvest this summer, we have plenty home canned in the pantry. Many thanks to my dear friend Bruce Maxwell, who came up with this recipe and urged me to give it a try. It’s perfect for a midweek meal. Enjoy!
While the chicken is cooking, prepare some rice or quinoa to serve with the chicken. The recipe produces a lot of sauce which will go well with the sides. You could easily make this with boneless, skinless chicken thighs as well. You may need to cook them just a few minutes longer than the breasts.
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 3/4 cups (1 15-ounce jar) tomatillo salsa verde
- 4 ounces grated Monterey jack and/or pepper jack cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the tenders from the chicken breasts and cut the larger pieces in half. You should have 4 4-ounce chicken portions plus the tenders. Line a 8x8 casserole baking dish with the chicken pieces. Try to cover the bottom as completely as you can with the chicken.
2 Cover the chicken pieces with the salsa verde. Cover completely, there should be no exposed chicken or it will dry out. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, use it. The chicken should be removed from the oven when the internal temperature of the breast meat reaches 150°F.
3 Sprinkle cheese over the chicken, increase the oven heat to 400°F and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, enough time for the cheese to melt and the sauce to get bubbly.
Remove from oven. Serve immediately. Spoon over cooked rice or quinoa. Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips for crunch if you would like.