Chicken Picadillo

First al fresco dining opportunity of the season!
I love cinnamon. It’s warm, rich and spicy; I’m absolutely obsessed with it when baked in sweets. Cinnamon and sugar is a natural, but the depth it adds to chocolate (or chocolate and dark coffee; mmm…) or mixed in with the fruity notes from cardamom — I just love it all.

But I rarely cook with it; that is, I don’t often add it to savory dishes. But it’s delicious here in Chicken Picadillo. The peppery spice from the salsa pairs beautifully with the cinnamon. The raisins in the dish hint at cinnamon’s sweet uses but those notes don’t overwhelm the other flavors but play off them nicely.

I paired this with rice and beans (sauteed some garlic and onions in a pan, added two cans of black beans and mixed it in with a cup or two of cooked rice) but you can use it with tortillas for a twist on tacos.

Chicken Picadillo (adapted)

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or 1 pound ground chicken)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup bottled salsa
1/3 cup raisins (regular or golden)

If using chicken thighs, place in a food processor and pulse until ground.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken, cumin, salt, cinnamon, and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring frequently. Stir in salsa and raisins, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer until thoroughly heated (about 5 minutes).

Serves 4.

Categories: Chicken, Entrees, Grade Range: A- to A+, Lighter Fare


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