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el diablo for me

Recipe: chicken diablo sandwich

I feel like I’m in pole position, revving my engine, ready to bolt across the starting line. I began to sense a slight increase in energy this afternoon and endeavored to take a short 2-mile jaunt on one of our backyard hikes. The smells of pine forests and damp earth (the snow is melting out in earnest) trigger the urge to run for me. I like the soft feel of the pine litter under my feet as my eyes search for what is around the next turn. That’s the beauty of trail running for me – I don’t get bored. But my body wasn’t ready for that today, so we hiked and had time to spy the very earliest of our local high-elevation wildflowers like the lavender-colored pasque, violet astragalus, and pretty white draba. I have a hard time running with my camera (unless I want to take out several ribs in the process), so it was just as well :)

who wants a treat?

her favorite boulder


new growth



I just dug up another recipe from my photo archives that I hadn’t blogged yet. Hard to call a sandwich a recipe because sandwiches are so free form and flexible. I tried to replicate a favorite from my grad school days. My girlfriend and I used to frequent a tiny hole-in-the-wall bakery in Collegetown, across the gorge from the geology department. I don’t remember its name and it closed down only a couple of years after I had been there, but they served up excellent sandwiches. The best one: The Chicken Diablo.

bread, chicken, onions, guacamole, cheese, peppers

The sandwich I loved had chunks of juicy, grilled, marinated chicken breast on a roll with grilled onions, roasted peppers, jack cheese, guacamole, and perhaps salsa. I can’t really remember if there was salsa on it or not – I think so. Then the whole business was set in a sandwich press and served hot. Deliciously hot.

my twist – fried breaded chicken breast

The marinade might have been lemon-based because the chicken had a nice tanginess to it. When I made these sandwiches, I decided to lightly bread and fry the chicken breasts because I didn’t want to bother waiting to marinate. The bread was always that perfect crusty outside with the soft and fluffy inside. I found some decent crusty grinder rolls.

layering jack cheese

I melted the jack cheese by chucking the sandwiches in the oven for a few minutes. If I had a sandwich press, I would have done that instead.

top with guac

My worry about slapping salsa on top was that the sandwich would become an uncontrollable mess. What I found was that while the sandwich was wonderful in its own right, it wasn’t quite the Chicken Diablo. It lacked the tang that I loved so much and I think that is in large part due to the chicken – which I probably should have marinated – and the salsa omission. So I’ll have to try it again, properly. However, the combination of ingredients is definitely worth a try if you want a sandwich that satisfies.

the almost chicken diablo

Chicken Diablo Sandwich
[print recipe]

fresh sandwich rolls
grilled marinated chicken (try lemon juice, salt, pepper, oil, and maybe garlic)
roasted peppers
grilled red onions
jack cheese

Layering chicken, onions, peppers, and cheese on one half of the bread. Melt the cheese by placing the sandwich (open) in the oven for a few minutes. Top with guacamole and salsa, then press the sandwich until the outside is crisp or if you don’t have a press, serve as is.

23 nibbles at “el diablo for me”

  1. peabody says:

    I like the twist with the fried chicken much better…of course I love fried everything.

  2. Laura @ HungryAndFrozen says:

    I have to say I love it when your dog features in the posts! What a gorgeous creature :) Those reflection photos are stunning. Sometimes I try and recreate food I’ve eaten at cafes or takeout but there’s always *something* missing. The sandwich looks delicious anyhow :)

  3. Mrs Ergül says:

    This looks good enough for me! I now have something for sandwiches cuz if done well, they make great weekday meals, don’t they ;)

  4. manggy says:

    Hey, if postponing your running gives us these fabulous pics, it’ll do for now, heh– maybe next week you’ll come out to an even more flourishing environment :) Kaweah’s such a queen!

    Gorgeous sandwich. I wish I knew where to even start with “sandwich rolls.” It seems the closest bakery approximation we can come up with is a hotdog bun. Which, uh, not quite :P I’m tempted to just buy bread from Subway, but I’m really not good with strange requests and I don’t think I can live after the humiliation of being charged sandwich prices for just the bun. I could maybe bake my own, but until I find the perfect recipe, I’ll assume my dumb bread skills will make a failure.

    Hmm, I actually like fried chicken in sandwiches :D Maybe the tanginess is something that can be addressed with mayo? Gasp! Did I just put mayo forward as an answer?!

  5. Gretchen Noelle says:

    Man alive do these look tasty!!

  6. ZenTummy says:

    I just showed my hubby the picture of the sandwich and he said that is what he wants for lunch today! Thanks for the inspiration:)

  7. natalie says:

    ohhhh that sanwhich looks delish! i’ll def be making that for lunch/dinner one day!!

  8. mimi says:

    oh my goodness, those sandwiches look teriffic!! look at that guac, and red onions, and jack!! ahh, this is a perfect sandwich!

  9. PaniniKathy says:

    That looks and sounds absolutely delicious! I’ll go for almost anything with guac :-)

  10. djstates says:

    Innovative delis are one of the ture joys of living in a college town. Great combination!

  11. We Are Never Full says:

    adorable dog! but that sandwich looks fierce! almost sinful but not quite… yum

  12. jenyu says:

    Peabody – me too on the fried chicken :)

    Laura – thank you!

    Mrs. Ergul – I love sandwiches for ANY meal!

    Mark – actually, Kaweah is mostly nuts. You mean to tell me you guys can’t find grinder rolls or anything? One option is to take a baguette and just cut off sections as big as a sandwich. Those are delicious. I can’t believe you just said maybe mayo would work! :)

    Gretchen – :)

    ZenTummy – ha ha, I hope he liked it!

    Natalie – great, I don’t think it will disappoint.

    Mimi – I have a hard time hating anything with guacamole in it ;)

    PaniniKathy – me too.

    Djstates – it’s a winner.

    We Are Never Full – not *quite* so it should be perfectly fine for consumption! :)

  13. Meeta says:

    You you are a naughty one!! Fried chicken is so good – why is that everything good is so bad for you. This is my kind of sandwich and I have two avocados in the fridge begging me to use them! You are the best!

  14. Amy says:

    Top anything with guac and you have a winner! My husband would LOVE this sandwich: I must make it. Mmm!

  15. Tartelette says:

    You are the only one I know who can make a sandwich look sexy!! I love it, and I can see how a tangy marinade and a little salsa would work great!

  16. Christine says:

    Jen – The photo of the reeds – really – just awesome. I love it.

    Your sandwiches are always so dang good Give me guac and fried chicken on bread any day :)

  17. jenyu says:

    Meeta – ha ha ha! It IS naughty, isn’t it? :) We sandwich lovers must stick together!

    Amy – hope you like it!

    Tartelette – oh, I think sandwiches are inherently sexy, aren’t they? :) Maybe they’re less shy in front of my camera? ha ha ha!

    Christine – I think it’s easy for me to make sandwiches look good because I pile fat on top of them while your salads are so refreshing without the heart attack ;)

  18. White On Rice Couple says:

    Kaweah!! We love you, you’re such a good girl! Dante & Sierra are jealous now because they’re confined to a back yard instead of being able to get out on the trail. We’ve been too busy to take them out!
    I love the reed photo’s, haven’t seen those in a while too. I could go on about reeds too, but I’ll just enjoy the beautiful views here. Love it! More wildflowers, please!!!!

  19. Ginny says:

    Reflection is a beautiful shot! Wonderful!

  20. Psychgrad says:

    Wow. Just wow. Great recipe and the pictures are amazing. What type of camera do you use (not that you aren’t the talent behind the photos).

    Good to hear that you’re feeling better.

  21. Francesco says:

    Wonderful photos!!!!

  22. Lisa says:

    I love your blog. The pictures are gorgeous and make me homesick for Colorado. And your dog is adorable. I can’t wait to try out your recipes.

  23. jenyu says:

    WoRC – not to worry, dear! I’ll have more wildflowers in a month or so when they go gangbusters in the high country :) huggles to my Dante and Sierra pups!

    Ginny – thanks!

    Psychgrad – you can read about my photog equipment in the “about” link, but in short I shoot with a Nikon D200. Thanks!

    Francesco – thank you :)

    Lisa – oh, Colorado misses you! The dog is adorable in photos – she can make you insane in real life at times :)

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