In the day-to-day operations of being a restaurant manager, I often find myself worrying about the business while awash in “busy-ness.” When I am afforded a moment of clarity in the midst of organized chaos, I sometimes find myself desiring a reprieve. It is in those moments that I desire comfort and simplicity, especially with my food. I have a few go-to dishes in my back pocket that I pull out for just such an occasion.
My newest favorite comfort dish is a lovely chicken enchilada dip. Braising the chicken breast imparts terrific savory notes of chili, onion, and herbs. With all the flavor and spice of a good Mexican entrée, aside the rich, creamy texture of cream cheese, this appetizer is sure to please.
• 1 large yellow onion, diced
• 3 cloves minced garlic
• 2 tbsp butter
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil
• 6-8 green onions, sliced thin
• 12 oz Mexican beer
• Chili powder
• Cayenne pepper
• Garlic powder
• 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
• 1 small bunch cilantro, rough chopped
• 2x 8oz packages cream cheese
Begin by sauteeing the first four ingredients on medium heat until the onion just becomes tender, about 4-5 min. While the onion is cooking, pat the chicken dry and season generously with 2 parts chili powder, 1 part cumin, 1 part paprika, and 1 part oregano. Add a pinch of salt and rub the spices into the chicken with a bit of oil. Once the onion is tender, brown the chicken on both sides (roughly 1 min. per side) and set aside. Carefully add all 12 oz of beer while whisking any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Place the chicken back in the braising liquid and add enough water to completely cover. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cooking the chicken until it’s completely done (approx. 20 min). Remove the chicken and pull apart with 2 forks, shredding completely. Allow the liquid to reduce for five more minutes, and then remove the onions with a slotted spoon.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, green onions, cilantro, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder, and 1 tbsp paprika. When fully mixed, add braised onions and shredded chicken. Adding enough cayenne pepper to suit your level of spiciness is the final touch. Chill for one hour before serving.