Southwest Chicken Paninis

    I think every home cook/blogger/person should have a one (or six) sandwich recipes up their sleeve. It’s one of those things whose importance you don’t realize till there comes a weeknight where all you’re left with is a zero-dinner-inspiration-rut. However, I must warn you that these sandwiches require a fair bit of work and I suppose they could be categorized as gourmet. Regardless, they’re a treat and that translates to “must make them!”
    The original recipe for called for chipotle in adobo and while I have seen it at Nature’s Basket here, I didn’t feel like making the trek. I used Jalapeños from a jar! The chipotle is essentially added to bring heat to the tangy tomato mixture and for me Jalapenos did it. You could add a sprinkle of smoked paprika for added heat but I was quite content with the peppers. The process is requires grilling the chicken, then sautéing it with some onions, roasted tomatoes and spices and finally adding it to a sandwich and grilling it for a Panini-like effect. I decided to just cook down the tomatoes with some garlic and onions and towards the end, added the chopped jalapenos and a little bit of their juice. Of course, you could use oven-roasted tomatoes if you like and I suppose sun dried tomatoes would also do the trick.
    P.S – feel free to adjust the spice level. Taste frequently and adapt as you please
    Southwest Chicken Panini
    Serves: 4
    Adapted from: Annie’s Eats
    2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
    4 medium tomatoes, quartered
    3 – 4 tbs chopped garlic, divided
    1 medium onion, sliced thinly, divided
    2 tbs (heaping) jalapeños (from a jar), with a little bit of their juice
    1 lime, halved
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 tsp chili powder
    Salt, to taste
    Black pepper, to taste
    2 tbs olive oil, divided
  1. In a medium non-stick skillet, add 1 tbs of olive oil. When it heats, add 1 tbs of garlic and sauté till fragrant. Add a handful of sliced onions and sauté till translucent. Finally, add the quartered tomatoes and continue to cook down on medium-high heat. Squash the tomatoes occasionally and let them cook for at least 30 to 40 minutes. Once they are almost done (about 30 minutes in), add chopped jalapeños and a little bit of their juice. Stir to combine. Turn off the flame and set aside.
  2. In another non-stick pan, cook the chicken breasts till they’re no longer pink in the centre. Set aside to cool and cut into strips. 
  3. In a medium non-stick skillet, add 1 tbs of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Next, add garlic and onions and sauté till fragrant. Add the roasted tomato mixture and stir to combine. Finally add the spices. Add the chicken and stir to coat the chicken with the tomato mixture. Cook for a few minutes before adding salt, pepper and the juice of a whole lime. Turn off the flame and set aside. The mixture can be a cooked a few hours before, reheating just before adding it to the sandwich.
  4. Finally, add chicken over bread, sprinkle some peppery cheese (now available in all supermarkets!) and grill on a hot grill for a few minutes till the cheese melts. Serve immediately!


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