Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cilantro Pesto Roasted Chicken Thighs

I have been thinking about this dish for weeks. I just love cilantro. And I was looking at a basic pesto recipe a long time ago and thought about a mexican inspired pesto. And from that spurred this dish. Its very fresh and flavorful. The broth from the roasted chicken is amazing. The chicken was very moist. The pesto could be made a day or two ahead of time. Once the pesto is made, this dish couldn't be any easier. Try to marinade 24 hours, or at least several hours.

Cilantro Pesto Roasted Chicken Thighs

1 poblano pepper
1 bunch cilantro
1/3rd cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
zest and juice of 1/2 lime
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup cotija, manchego, queso blanco, or parmesan cheese. Grated or crumbled
1/2 cup olive oil

4 pounds bone in, skin on chicken thighs (about 8)
2 limes

Coat the poblano pepper in a bit of oil and pop under the broiler. Check on it every couple minutes (literally 2-3. It doesn't take long) and rotate it until all sides are equally browned and bubbled. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit 10 minutes. Remove outer skin. Take out the stems and seeds. Dice.

Meanwhile, in a small dry skillet, toast the seeds over medium for a couple minutes, watching constantly. They will burn fast. Let cool a few minutes

Add the seeds to a food processor. Pulse until they are ground pretty fine.

Rip the top half of the cilantro bunch off. You want mostly just the leaves. I didn't go crazy pulling off the stems though. Add to processor and pulse until chopped very fine.

Add the garlic, zest, juice, and cheese. Pulse until combined.

Pour in olive oil as the processor is running on low. Pour until pesto is smooth.

Add salt as needed (different cheese have different salt levels)

Stir in the diced poblano.

Mix in large ziplock with chicken until its well coated. Marinate several-24 hours in refrigerator

1 hour before cooking, slice limes and add limes to chicken bag and mix well again.

Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken in a baking dish and cover with tin foil. Cook 40 minutes. Remove tin foil, turn on broiler and cook until chicken is browned. Keep a close eye.

Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

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