Did you ever fall in love with something on the menu at a restaurant, and then never really ventured away from your choice? Has that option then been ripped from the pages of the menu, never to return? Well, that is what happened to me with Milanesa de Pollo, at a Mexican restaurant called Los Cucos (which has awesome happy hour margaritas, btw). Now… let me tell you what is so great about this dish. Regular Milanesa de Pollo is merely a lightly breaded and fried chicken cutlet. Nothing wrong with that. But the one I had my food love affair with, was then smothered in ranchero sauce, and topped with Monterrey Jack cheese, melted under the broiler. Think of it as a Mexican version of Chicken Parmigiana. In case you’re not in the know, Ranchero sauce is a spicy tomato sauce flavored with peppers, onion, garlic, and spices. It is very versatile, and worth making homemade, but can probably be easily found in the grocery store.
Let’s get this party started. Can I get a frozen margarita with salt, please?
Milanesa De Pollo Ingredients
- About 1/2 cup of flour for dredging
- Breadcrumbs (use whatever pre-seasoned kind you like)
- 2 eggs
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (Or however many you want, you’ll just have to increase the egg mixture.)
- Enough oil to coat the bottom of your skillet
- Salt and Pepper
Butterfly your chicken breasts, and beat them til flat. A rolling pin works great for this, or a meat tenderizer, or the bottom of a heavy pan… your fists? Not so much… If you wrap your chicken in plastic wrap before beating it, there is less mess. This is a great stress reliever.
Now that you have your chicken pounded out, I hope you didn’t get carried away, season with salt and pepper. After you’ve seasoned your chicken, dredge it in flour. This step will help with keeping your breading on the chicken.
Take your eggs, and mix them with about a teaspoon of cool water, and beat lightly. Dip the flour-dredged chicken in the egg mixture, and then into your breadcrumbs. This process is best done in an assembly line. Set up your plate of flour, bowl of egg, then plate of breadcrumbs, and the assembly line should end at your stove top.
In a large skillet, pour enough oil (vegetable oil, olive oil, whatever you have) to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil on Medium-High for a few minutes. You want the oil to be hot before you start cooking your chicken. Cook the chicken on both sides until golden brown. (2-3 minutes on each side)
Now you’re ready to smother with your homemade ranchero sauce. Place your Milanesa De Pollo in the bottom of a baking dish. Pour Ranchero sauce on top, much like you would pour tomato sauce on Chicken Parmigiana. Sprinkle with Monterrey Jack, and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly. This should not take long at all. Please don’t ruin all your hard work by walking away from the oven. This only takes a minute or two.
Ranchero Sauce Ingredients:
- 2 TBSP oil
- One large (28 oz) can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained and rough chop, or just squeeze in your hands
- 1 tsp tomato paste (I honestly added this because I had some leftover in the fridge, but it does make a richer tasting sauce).re
- 1 or 2 Jalapenos, I leave the seeds in, because I like spice, but you could seed it.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, chopped or minced
- As much cilantro as you like (optional). I just tore off a hand full.
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp of cumin (optional)
Add the oil to the bottom of a sauce pan and heat on medium low. Sweat your onion and garlic in the pan. This means, you don’t want any color on your veggies. Cook until transparent. You will be able to smell the onion and garlic when they’re getting close to being done. Then, add your jalapeno, tomato, tomato paste, and cilantro. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Let this sauce simmer for at least 20 minutes. Like any tomato sauce, the longer you allow the flavors to marry in the pot, the better it tastes. Once you’ve cooked the sauce to your liking, you’re going to puree it in the blender or food processor. That’s it. Easy, right?
This is my first time making Ranchero sauce, so I’m sure I will tweak this recipe in the future. If you have a tried and true recipe for your Ranchero sauce, by all means, use it. That’s the great thing about cooking. You can change recipes to adapt your own tastes.