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Which Came First: The Chicken or the Eggs?


Last night I played with fire for dinner, and it was so good that I did it again today. I served boneless, skinless chicken breasts and rice with black beans and corn, topped generously with a more picante version of the Roasted Chile Verde Sauce from Isabel Cruz’s first cookbook, Isabel’s Cantina. The sauce is labor-intensive, but absolutely fabulous in terms of flavor, flexibility and healthiness. I made it blow-your-head-off hot, but the original recipe calls for the removal of most of the chiles’ seeds, so it could actually be quite a bit milder. I also had to use winter-pallid plum tomatoes, but I think this will be even better in the summer when I get fresh, locally grown produce.

There was sauce left over, so for lunch today I scrambled eggs with white Mexican cheese and poured the remaining Chile Verde over the top. Honestly, it was so damned good that for a minute I genuinely believed that I could whip up some mole, make some tortillas from scratch, and challenge Rick Bayless to a throw-down.

Restored to my senses, I offer you the recipe for the Chile Verde sauce. As Cruz notes in her book, it would also be good with pork, or simply served with tortilla chips. I’d also like it over burritos, I think. If you are serving it with chicken, try it over grilled or sauteed breasts, or even roast chicken parts. If eggs are your pleasure, try this over a creamy plate of scrambled specimens or atop two fried or over-easy on a heated tortilla.


Roasted Chile Verde Sauce

(Adapted from Isabels’ Cantina by Isabel Cruz)


  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  3. 5 garlic cloves, minced ( I used big garlic cloves; if you end up with the tiny ones I’d use 6 or 7)
  4. 4 Anaheim chiles, roasted and chopped
  5. 2 Poblano chiles, roasted and chopped
  6. 1 pound tomatillos, roasted and pureed
  7. 3 plum tomatoes, diced
  8. Kosher salt


  1. To roast chiles and tomatillos: cook over the flame of a gas grill or other fire source until skin turns black and begins to blister and peel. Place in a brown paper bag and leave for 15-20 minutes. Remove chiles and tomatillos from bag and remove skin with the bag or a paper towel or kitchen towel.
  2. To prepare chiles: Cut off stem ends and split in half lengthwise. (WEAR GLOVES and if you don’t wash hands very thoroughly before touching your eyes or other tender parts of your body). The heat is in the seeds, and Cruz’s original recipe calls for “removing and discarding the seeds,” easily done with a knife blade. If you remove the seeds, the sauce will be flavorful but quite mild. I left all of them in, which made the sauce extremely hot. You could also remove any other percentage of seeds and adjust the heat to your liking. Once you have removed the desired amount of seedage, roughly chop the chiles.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook onions and garlic for about 3 minutes. Add the chiles, tomatillo puree and tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 cup cold water and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes or until thickened, and season with salt. (Note: the original recipe calls for adding 1 cup of water, but I found that at the end of 30 minutes the sauce was still very watery and had to be cooked over higher heat to evaporate some of the excess liquid. In future, I’ll start with the half cup, watch the sauce and add a little more water if it seems to be too chunky).
  5. Serve hot; sauce will keep in the refrigerator for three days.


About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

10 responses »

  1. Annie, you must stay warm in the winter with spicy food! Looks good.

  2. Barbara, I know that hot chiles are probably off your family’s menu for the foreseeable future, but it is good stuff. Also, sorry about that basketball game Tuesday night. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. aww geeze! kind of an amplified huevos rancheros! yum!

    hi ho hi ho off to whole foods i go
    for anaheims
    and po-blon-o’s
    hi ho! hi ho!

  4. jayedee, let me know how it comes out. I am SO jealous that you have a Whole Foods. (By the way – do you take the rest of the dwarves and Snow White along when you shop?)

  5. jayedee (the old woman who lives in a shoe)

    girl, i have 12 kids…….there’s no room in the van for poor old snow white! LOL
    and just to make you feel better, i have to drive for an hour to whole foods. we live in a little bitty rural town with a feed store and a gas station. oh yeah, there is a convienience store up by the highway now and we finally got a traffic light a couple of years back *grins*

  6. jayedee, I a trying SO hard to imagine 12 kids. I only have one and he’s already burned his eyelashes off with a cold soldering tool before breakfast. I am not really glad you have to drive an hour for Whole Foods – I could get to one (or a Trader Joe’s) in an hour; I am just lazy. On the other hand, we have great health food stores here and a Farmer’s Market for 6-7 months a year. I’ll be in Florida early in March – look for me at Whole Foods. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. hahaha! the burning off of one’s eyelashes before breakfast was almost a requirement when my boys were little. we continue to be on a first name basis with the er staff and they’ve come to expect the unexpected from my crew! for example, the poop of a turkey buzzard is quite caustic and WILL burn the cornea if deposited in the eye. (john andrew was pretending to be dead so he could catch a buzzard–unfortunately, he did this with his eyes open), placing a jelly fish on your back is quite painful and does NOT make you look like a sci-fi quasimodo no matter what your sister says, and superglue will in fact, glue your lips together quite nicely when you try to glue vampire fangs to your eye teeth for halloween. oy!
    yes, i’m still sane. yes, i’m still sane. yes, i’m still sane. yes, i’m still sane

  8. jaydee, I have to tell you that on a VERY bad day, your comment made me laugh until I cried. I so needed that, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have to ask, though: did the turkey buzzard poop in his eye?!

  9. yup! it sure did! (how else would i know it burned?)
    just one of many bizarre mishaps here in the lost world LOL
    glad it brought a smile to your face……..the e.r. staff laughs at us alot too!

  10. I saw your website when I was searching for something unrelated, but this page was one of the first sites listed in Google, your blog must be enormously popular! Keep up the good work!


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