One of my favorite things in this whole wide world is a versatile, delicious sauce. I’ll throw some sauce on just about anything, and I am pretty freakin’ liberal with it. Like, I-always-request-my-own-gravy-boat-at- Thanksgiving kinda liberal with it. I’m an equal opportunity sauce consumer – I love everything from the aforementioned gravy, to salad dressing, to cream sauce to – you guessed it – salsa. When I make Mexican or Tex-Mex style food, I HAVE to have some salsa to go with it. Sometimes, I just buy a jar straight off the shelf at the store (Green Mountain Gringo makes the best grocery store salsa, IMO), but making my own is something I really enjoy, and the homemade taste of roasted peppers with earthy spices can turn an otherwise mediocre weeknight dinner into something sorta special.
The best part? Making your own salsa at home is VERY, VERY fast and simple. I promise, and if you take my advice and coat some shredded chicken in this gorgeous green stuff, you’ll be pretty darn happy.
If you’ve got a sheet pan, a blender and 15 minutes, you can make this meal. By using thin-cut chicken breasts, you’re able to cook the chicken and the veggies at the same time, and they only need a total of 10 minutes under the broiler. Once the veggies are charred and softened and the chicken is cooked through, all that’s left is to shred the chicken and give the veggies a quick whir in the blender with a few other ingredients. The result is a dish that looks and tastes like it took an hour – slow cooked, fall-apart chicken with a warm, roast pepper sauce – but actually requires minimal effort and a single pan.
I like to serve this over some white rice mixed with fresh lime juice and cilantro, but this exact preparation of chicken and salsa works amazingly well in enchiladas, quesadillas or chilaquiles with the addition of some pepper jack cheese, and the salsa on its own is great over a Mexican-inspired breakfast skillet or huevos rancheros. You can also use this salsa as a marinade for skirt steak, which is one of my fave ways to use it. Basically, use it anywhere and everywhere, you can’t go wrong. But first, you’ve gotta make it, so here’s how to do it.
Sheet Pan Shredded Chicken With Six-Ingredient Salsa Verde
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pack thin-cut chicken breasts
- 2 poblano pepper halved, stems and seeds removed
- 2 tomatillos husked, stems removed, quartered
- 1 jalapeno pepper halved, stems and seeds removed
- 4 garlic cloves peeled
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies in their juices/undrained
- 1 lime
Set your oven to broil. If your oven has a 'High' and 'Low' broil setting (like mine), use the higher setting.
While the oven preheats, arrange everything on a sheet pan: drizzle the 2 tbsp olive oil all over the pan. On one half of the pan, arrange the vegetables; on the other half of the pan, arrange the chicken. Use your hands and make sure the veggies and chicken are coated in the oil. Try your best to get as much of the veggies and chicken in a single layer as possible. If room on the pan is tight, the veggies can overlap a bit. The chicken should remain in a single layer.
Sprinkle half of the cumin, all of the chili powder, all of the oregano and half of the salt on the veggies.
Sprinkle the remaining cumin and salt, and all of the black pepper, on the chicken.
Pop under the broiler for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the chicken over, and broil for another 5 minutes.
While the chicken rests on the sheet pan, pop the poblanos, tomatillos, jalapeno and garlic in a blender, along with the cilantro and the juice from half of a lime (a whole lime if your lime isn't very juicy). Pulse until the mixture is pureed. Add the can of chilies with their juice, and stir them in by hand. Leave the salsa in the blender to stay warm.
Shred the chicken by taking two forks and pulling the chicken in opposite directions.
Pour half of the salsa over the shredded chicken and stir to coat the chicken. You can do this step right on the sheet pan, or in your serving bowl.
Serve the chicken piping hot over cilantro-lime rice with fresh tortillas and fresh crumbled Mexican cheese with the additional salsa verde on the side.