Monterey Chicken

I’ve made this a couple of times; I love eating it in my local Mexican grill, El pollo gyro. The secret to it is a basic building block of Mexican cuisine, the rajas, which means “strips.”

In the case of Monterey chicken, we use a poblano y cebolla rajas con crema and add carefully grilled chicken to it. Or the chicken can be cooked with the polanos and onions, then finished in the cream sauce the way my local grill does it. But you have to be careful not to over cook the rest of the fixings while you try to get the chicken done. For this reason, this dish is probably best done with chicken breast meat.

You can justifiably add julienned or shaved strips of carrot, zucchini and/or other vegetables as desired. Add the carrots at the beginning with the onions and softer vegetables like zucchini nearer the end with the cream or even later.

You might be tempted to call this a Mexican chicken à la king.


  poblano chilis
white onion
salt, pepper
ground cumin (optional)
cream (liquid or even sour cream diluted with milk)
chicken breast meat
1 can chicken stock (14 oz)
soft, corn tortillas, heated


1. Brine the chicken breast for 30 minutes, then cut into 1" cubes.

2. Toast a small amount of cumin in a sauté pan over a hot flame until it begins to turn brown. Cool and grind. Set aside.

3. Burn the skin off the poblanos over an open flame. When the chili gets real black, set it in a bowl of water to cool until it can be handled. Scrape the blackened skin off under a faucet, open and remove seeds, then cut into ¼" strips.

4. Cut the onion in half down its “length” and peel. Then cut half-circles ¼" wide perpendicular to the first cut to produce strips.

5. Mince the garlic by knife or through a press.

6. Heat a skillet to medium hot with olive oil. Sauté the chicken with salt, pepper and cumin until browning on all sides. Remove chicken to a plate.

7. Clean and heat skillet very hot with olive oil. Toss in the onions, season with salt and sauté until browning on the outside, but still raw (crisp and fresh) on the inside.

8. Add in the strips of poblano for a couple of minutes more. Finally, add in the minced garlic. Cook shuffling and tossing it for another minute.

9. Add cream to the pan and get it bubbling. Add the chicken back in and cook until chicken is done, a few minutes.

10. Serve hot with fresh, warmed corn tortillas. Garnish with lime-cilantro rice and refried beans.