Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hot Gringas' Sweet Chili Chicken

We've all done it. Make a chicken for dinner and you have plenty of leftovers. But the next night you think that it would be great to use the meat in a different way. But what? Sure, you could make chicken salad, but that sounds more like lunch than dinner. And the chicken is already cooked, so you don't want to cook it even longer in a casserole of some kind.

I know a few people who say they don't like leftovers, but that's usually because their mom reheated the same meal in the same way night after night until the meat was dry and the vegetables were mush. What might have been a wonderful meal on the first night was less than appealing on the third night.

That's one way to treat leftovers. The other way to treat them is to consider them as ingredients in a new dish. Instead of serving the same thing for three days straight, you can use the same ingredients to make three different meals.

In this case, I used a poached chicken breast that I had left over from another dish, you you could use roast chicken instead. Or even cooked pork. The point it that you add the meat at the very end of cooking, just long enough to heat it, and then you serve. Voila! New meal.

Of course, you could skip the whole "leftover" idea and cook the chicken specifically for this dish.

The Sweet Chili Sauce from Hot Gringas' packs a nice amount of heat, but it's also a little bit sweet, so it adds several dimensions of flavor to this dish. And since it's a condiment all on its own, you can hold back on the amount in the dish itself (in case you've got heat-squeamish diners) and pass more sauce at the table for those who want to amp up the flavor even more.

I served mine over rice, but this would be great as a filling for a taco, if that's your preference. And since this is loaded with vegetables, one chicken breast - with the rice - was more than enough to feed two people. Guess what I'm having for lunch?

Hot Gringas Sweet Chili Chicken

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, quartered and sliced
1 bell pepper*, cored, seeded and sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 chicken breast**, cooked, sliced into strips
2 tablespoons Hot Gringas' Sweet Chili Sauce

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan until it just begins to shimmer - you don't want it smoking hot. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften. Add the bell pepper, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the vegetables are your desired doneness.

Add the chicken breast and Hot Gringas' sauce and cook, stirring, until the chicken is heated through.

Serve over rice or as a filling for tacos. Make sure to bring the jar to the table, for those who want more sauce.

* I buy bell peppers when they're on sale and clean and freeze them, so I used green, yellow, and red bell peppers. You can use whatever color you like, or a mix. And if you really like peppers, add more.

** I used a poached chicken breast, but you can use any part you have on hand. Roasted or rotisserie chicken will work really well.

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