Super Bowl XLVI madness has descended upon the city of Indianapolis. As a disheartened Colts fan and as someone who works downtown, I can’t say I’m all that enthusiastic about this year’s big showdown. Nevertheless, it is kind of cool to see how excited everyone else seems to be about the shenanigans. (I do wish I could see LMFAO – they crack me up!) While I won’t be watching the game come Sunday, I know that many of you will, and may be attending a party or hosting your own. This southwest chicken panini is a pretty spectacular sandwich that is also spectacularly simple. Though we enjoy it for a regular main dish on slices of sourdough, you can toss the chicken mixture onto some slider buns, top with cheese, and you’ve got yourself a pretty rockin’ football watching snack. The filling can be prepped in advanced and reheated when you are ready to serve to simplify mealtime. This sandwich isn’t particularly spicy, but feel free to adjust the level of heat to your liking.
My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!
Southwest Chicken Panini
For the filling:
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded thin
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
½ cup tomato sauce*
Juice of 1 lime
Sliced sourdough bread
Shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro
*I used some of the simplest tomato sauce.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Place the chicken breasts in the pan and cook, turning, until golden brown on both sides and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 160˚ F. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion, garlic, spices, and chipotle to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce. Shred the chicken into bite size pieces and return to the pan with the onion-spice mixture. Cook until warmed through and well blended. Off the heat, stir in the lime juice.
Heat a second skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat and coat lightly with oil. Lay out slices of bread for sandwiches, lightly oiling one side of each piece and facing that side outward from the filling. Assemble sandwiches with some of the chicken mixture, shredded cheese, and chopped cilantro as desired. Place sandwiches on the heated pan to cook briefly, turning once, until the outside is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Serve warm.