Jalapeno Popper Braised Chicken with Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes.

It probably wont surprise you to learn that I’m not an avid sports fan. Can’t think of a time when I have ever, on my own, sought out to watch a “match” of any sport. I do however highly enjoy the camaraderie that surrounds a good game. It is a lot of fun to watch a football game with fanatics. I even find myself guffawing or shrieking with glee at moments that would otherwise escape my attention, if not for the excitement in the room. That spirit of fellowship and cheer is what makes it all worth while, oh and the food. You just can’t watch a game without some sort of indulgent treat.

I’m not sure if the beginnings of crisp autumn air, or the random bit of football news that have been floating into my ears lately, but I’ve been craving football food. Specifically jalapeno poppers. These little babies keep popping (pun intended) up all over pinterest, but have verred away from the traditional breaded and fried to a sophisticated stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon then grilled – and they are delicious this way. However, after eating ten of these or so I started regretting my choice of only poppers for dinner. So I thought, “hey, why not turn this into a full meal?” – and that’s where the chicken and mashed potatoes come in.

Now because I was cooking for my grandparents and not just me and Paul I made things a lot more mild and subbed a good portion of jalapenos for poblano chilis. It was really delicious, but if you want a more authentic popper flavor and a nice spicy dish use more/all jalapenos – I will be doing so next time around.

Jalapeno Popper Chicken with Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes: 

6 chicken thighs

salt

pepper

olive oil – a few tbsp’s per batch

 

12oz bacon – cut into smallish pieces (use scissors…trust me)

12 garlic cloves – roughly chopped

2 medium white onions – roughly chopped

2 poblano chilis – deseeded then roughly chopped

2 fresh jalapenos – remove seeds and white membrane then roughly chop

10oz frozen blackberries

½ cup chicken stock (or 6 chicken stock ice cubes)

1 ½ cups dry white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio)

 

You want to start with a heavy Dutch oven on the stove over med-high heat with a few tbsp’s of olive oil. Generously salt and pepper the oil. When it is hot – it should pop when you carefully flick a drop of water into it – add the chicken thighs, skin side down, in a single layer – I did three at a time, so two batches.

Don’t move them, don’t touch them, don’t get impatient and try to peek, don’t worry about burning. Just let them cook for 4 minutes.  You will be able to see the skin cooking around the outside edge of the chicken, once this starts to look cooked and not mushy it’s time to flip. Carefully, slowly pry each chicken thigh off the bottom – if there is a any resistance release it and let it keep going for a minute or two. This is a little tricky to describe, but the chicken will let you know when it’s done…you’ll get the hang of it. Flip each piece and cook on the other side for 5 minutes, then remove to a bowl/plate with a rim and set aside.

Next fry up the bacon until it’s just crispy and pour off ¾ of the grease. Add the onions and garlic and let them cook down a few minutes until they start to sweat. Now add the peppers and let them sweat for about five minutes – they will cook through in the oven so the exact time here doesn’t really matter.

Now pour in the blackberries and stir.

Time to add the chicken back into the pot. Place the chicken on top of the veggies in an even layer. Pour over the wine and the chicken stock (or place your stock cubes on top).

Cover the pot and put it in the oven at 385’ F for 50 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 35 minutes.

Ready to go into the oven 

Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes:

8 red potatoes – quartered to help them cook faster (I leave the skin on because I’m lazy, but it’s up to you if you want to peel them!)

4oz cream cheese

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup chicken stock

salt to taste

 

Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover an inch above the taters.  Place over med-high heat on the stove. Let it boil and check to see if the potatoes are tender after 20 minutes – you should be able to easily stick a fork into a piece and very easily slide it off the fork.

Once the potatoes are cooked through drain them and transfer back in the pot or into a large mixing bowl. Add the chicken stock and the cream cheese and mix it in with a potato masher or an electric mixer. Once that is all melted together add the sour cream and salt – start with about a tbsp of salt then add more to taste…I love super salt mashed potatoes.

Mix until all the lumps are gone, if they are two thick add some regular milk and mix again. Keep adjusting until you are satisfied!

I like to think of this meal as gourmet comfort food, it looks classy, but it’s got the fixings of superbowl party or a summer BBQ. You could say this is a meal that describes me pretty well…sort of like a mullet…I like a bit of sophistication, but when it comes down to it, I really am just a down and dirty country girl (mud dirty, not harlot dirty)…

Hope you Enjoy!

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