Sarah Sellers, one of the most-robbed "American Idol" contestants of Season 10 and a food blogger in her spare time, has been posting her "Idol" viewing-party snack recipes in Reality Rocks all season long, each night cooking up a feast that corresponds to that week's "Idol" theme. For instance Elton John Week, it was British pub grub; for Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Week, she fried up Elvis-inspired fritters; for Movie Week, nachos and pizza were the main attractions; for 21st Century Week, it was healthy nouveau cuisine; for the Carole King theme, she put her own twist on items from the restaurant named after Carole's song, "Hard Rock Cafe"; for "Now & Then" week, she served a modern crab tart appetizer as well as an old-fashioned meatball recipe; and for Leiber & Stoller week, Sarah looked to Leiber & Stoller's blues/New Orleans roots for culinary inspiration.
Now we are in "American Idol's" big finale week, so for her last hurrah, Sarah is pulling out all the stops with a feast fit for an Idol. When you're throwing your big finale viewing party this Wednesday, serve up Sarah's Southwest Chicken Pinwheels, Hatch Childe Boats with Avocado Puree, and Flautas with Adobo Chile Crema, and your guests will be delighted no matter who wins.
Southwest Chicken Pinwheels
Yields 18-20 Pinwheels
▪ 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (around 2), pounded thin
▪ kosher salt and pepper
▪ 1 tsp taco seasoning
▪ 4.5 oz pepper jack cheese, thinly sliced
▪ 2 tbsp canned chopped green chiles
▪ 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
▪ 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
▪ 1 yellow onion, diced
▪ 1 jalapeno, sliced
▪ 1.5 cups chicken stock, divided
▪ 1 tbsp corn starch
On a large cutting board lined with plastic wrap, pound the chicken breasts until nice and thin. On one side only, season with the salt (lightly), pepper, and taco seasoning. Layer with the sliced pepper jack, green chiles, then top with the cilantro. Gently roll up the chicken breast and secure with kitchen string or toothpicks.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown the chicken breast on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. Sauté the onions until translucent then add the jalapenos. Add a cup of the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and return the chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer until the chicken is completely cooked through (8-10 minutes).
Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil. Whisk the remaining half a cup of chicken stock and corn starch in a small bowl, then add to the sauce in the pan. Cook the sauce until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Slice the chicken breast into pinwheels and place on a serving platter covered with the sauce. Garnish with a few cilantro sprigs.
Hatch Chile Boats with Avocado Puree
Yields 6 chile boats
▪ olive oil
▪ 3 large, red hatch chiles, sliced lengthwise
▪ 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
▪ 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
▪ 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
▪ 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
▪ 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
▪ 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
▪ 1 jalapeno, minced
▪ 12 mushrooms, diced
▪ 1 garlic clove, minced
▪ 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
▪ kosher salt and pepper
▪ 1 lb lean ground sirloin
▪ 1 cup chicken stock
▪ 1/2 cup light sour cream
▪ 1 avocado
▪ 1 tbsp lime juice
▪ dash of kosher salt
▪ 1/2 tsp Mexican seasoning
▪ 1/2 cup pepper jack, shredded
▪ 1/2 cup cilantro, torn
Preheat oven to a high broil
Place the chile halves (6) on a large baking sheet and lightly brush with the olive oil. Set aside.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and next 5 ingredients, through the jalapeno, and sauté until veggies are tender. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and thyme and lightly season with salt and pepper. Sauté until mushrooms are tender.
Add the ground sirloin to the pot, breaking up with a wooden spatula. Sauté until meat is browned all the way through. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until liquid is almost completely evaporated.
While the meat is simmering, place the hatch chile halves (skin side up) in the oven and broil until slightly charred. Remove from the oven and place in a plastic bag for a few minutes until the skin is loose enough to be removed. Taste the meat mixture and adjust seasonings if needed.
In a food processor or blender, mix the sour cream and next 4 ingredients, through the Mexican seasoning, until smooth. Set aside.
Place the chile halves, skin side down, on the baking sheet and fill each chile with the beef mixture. Top with the cheese and broil until melted. Remove the chile boats from the oven. Top with a tablespoon of the avocado puree and the fresh cilantro.
Flautas w/Adobo Chile Crema
Yields 20 Flautas
▪ 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
▪ 1/2 yellow onion, diced
▪ 1 Serrano chile, minced
▪ 2 garlic cloves, minced
▪ 1/2 cup Sarah's Spicy Tomato Salsa
▪ 1/4 tsp kosher salt and pepper
▪ 1 tsp cumin
▪ 1 tsp chile powder
▪ 2 rotisserie chicken breasts (around 10-12 oz), skin removed, shredded
▪ 1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend
▪ 20 corn tortillas
▪ 1/4 cup canola oil
▪ 1/4 cup chiles in adobo
▪ 1 cup light sour cream
▪ 1 tbsp lime
▪ shredded lettuce
▪ 1 oz queso fresco, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until translucent. Add the Serrano and next 6 ingredients, through the chicken, and sauté until ingredients are well combined (around 4-6 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese.
Starting with 10 tortillas, wrap in a damp paper towel or place in a tortilla warmer, and microwave for 1 minute until tortillas are tender. Fill the center of each tortilla with a heaping tablespoon of the chicken mixture and gently roll into the shape of a cigar. Secure with a toothpick (2 Flautas per toothpick).
Heat the canola oil in the Dutch oven (wiped clean) until the oil sizzles when tested with the end of a Flauta. Working in batches, place the Flautas in the oil and pan fry until golden brown on each side. To keep them warm while you're cooking the rest, place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels in the oven to keep warm and soak up any access oil.
**WARNING: This sauce is VERY HOT!!! If you love the heat, then add the full 1/4 cup of chiles. If you are sensitive to heat I would start with 1 chile (seeds removed) and a teaspoon of adobo sauce. Taste and adjust the heat according to your liking.
Put the chiles in adobo, sour cream, and lime in a blender or food processor and blend until well combined. Place the sauce in a ramekin and serve on a serving platter covered with shredded lettuce, topped with the Flautas, and sprinkled with the crumbled Queso Fresco.
Check out Sarah's food and music blogs at http://sarahsmusicalkitchen.com/