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Chipotle Chicken Pile-up

By February 24, 2019Recipes
Reading Time: 5 minutes
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What in the world is a chipotle chicken pile-up? Well, think: smashed purple sweet potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, and fresh spinach. Oh, and don’t forget the red pepper sauce and balsamic reduction.

In my opinion, this chipotle chicken pile-up is the perfect entree for yourself, your family, or company. The roasted red pepper and jalapeno sauce and the balsamic reduction make for a lovely contrast in flavors. This recipe gives you the opportunity to create a beautiful presentation as well.

Chipotle Chicken Pile-up

In another lifetime, I made this recipe using bottled sauces, but no more. Just make sure you use a quality balsamic vinegar that does not contain additives. 

While chipotle chicken pile-up is more work than some other dishes, it will prove well worth the effort. You’ll be glad you took the time when you’re rewarded with lots of flavor and a heavenly comfort meal. Not to mention a whole meal in one “pile.”

Chipotle Chicken Pile-up

You can easily substitute the chicken with a meaty fish like salmon, tuna, or sea bass. You can, of course, also use a slice of turkey tenderloin. Just remember, you may have to adjust the cooking time when substituting fish for chicken.

Pro Tip: If you take a couple of minutes to pound your boneless chicken, you will be pleasantly surprised at the tenderness of the chicken.

Chipotle Chicken Pile-up

A few more notes:

  • To save time, you can make the red pepper sauce ahead of time or put it together while your sweet potatoes are cooking.
  • To make clean-up easier, you can use one skillet to cook the onions, shiitake mushrooms, chicken, and spinach one item at a time.

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Chipotle Chicken Pile Up

This chipotle chicken is the perfect entree for yourself, your family, or company. The red pepper-and-jalapeno sauce and the balsamic reduction make for a lovely contrast in flavors.

Category Chicken, Dinner, Gluten Free
Compliance Level Kickstart, Lifestyle, Performance
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 4
Author Sandy McCall


Smashed Purple Potatoes

  • 4 purple sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Red Pepper Sauce

  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil divided
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup shallot or onion chopped

Caramelized Onions

  • 1/2 large onion sliced
  • 1 Tbsp butter, olive, or avocado oil

Shiitake Mushrooms

  • 1 large shiitake mushroom sliced for each chicken piece
  • 1 Tbsp butter, olive oil, or avocado oil

Chipotle Chicken

  • 3-4 boneless chicken thighs
  • Chipotle powder to taste
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter, olive oil, or avocado oil

Balsamic Reduction

  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar


  • 1 cup fresh spinach


Smashed Purple Potatoes

  1. Chop potatoes, leaving the skin on.
  2. Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with salted water.
  3. Simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Drain the potatoes and then add butter.
  5. Use an immersion blender to whip potatoes. You can mash them by hand if you don’t have an immersion blender.
  6. Add coconut milk and whip again until mixed.
  7. Set potatoes aside.

Red Pepper Sauce

  1. Heat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the peppers on a baking dish that has a lid, but leave the lid off while roasting.
  3. Roast peppers in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the skins are blackened. Watch carefully.
  4. Remove from the oven and cover the dish with the lid – this makes the peppers sweat and the skins will slip off more easily.
  5. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skins with your fingers.
  6. Slice the peppers open, take out and discard all the seeds and membrane, then roughly chop the flesh.
  7. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a frying pan. When hot, saute the garlic and onion or shallot for a few minutes.
  8. Add the chopped peppers and continue to saute for a few minutes, stirring to combine everything.
  9. Pour the contents of the pan into a blender or processor and process until smooth, adding remaining 1 Tbsp of oil at the end.
  10. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  11. Store extra in refrigerator.

Caramelized Onions

  1. Heat butter or oil in cast iron skillet.
  2. Add onions and cook slowly until tender and slightly browned.
  3. Remove and save on a plate.
  4. Shiitake Mushrooms

  5. In same skillet, add butter or oil.
  6. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms and saute until soft and slightly browned.
  7. Remove and save on a plate.
  8. Chipotle Chicken

  9. In the same skillet, add oil or butter and heat.
  10. Add chicken thighs.
  11. Add salt, pepper, and chipotle powder (only add amount to your liking) on the top side of each chicken piece.
  12. Cook until browned and turn.
  13. Cover pan and cook for about 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  14. Remove and save on plate.

Balsamic Reduction

  1. While chicken is cooking, heat another skillet and add balsamic vinegar.
  2. Simmer on low until vinegar starts to thicken and gets shiny and smokes slightly.
  3. Turn heat off. Set aside.


  1. Add spinach to hot skillet used for chicken and vegetables.
  2. Cook slightly until wilted. Typically, less than a minute.

How to Assemble

  1. Assemble on serving plate or directly on individual plates.
  2. Put a large scoop of potatoes on each plate and layer with spinach, then small amount of onions and mushrooms.
  3. Add chicken piece on top and finish with remaining onions and shiitake mushrooms.
  4. Put dollops of red pepper sauce on plate and drizzle each pile with balsamic reduction. Serve right away.


Sandy McCall on Facebook
Sandy McCall
Food and feeding people have been Sandy’s passion for many years. Her mother was a grand cook, yet didn’t often share her knowledge or techniques, so Sandy learned through osmosis. She then moved on to healthy cooking and feeding the many children in her family: birth daughters, adopted daughter, stepchildren, and foster children. Her focus has always been clean eating and healthy foods although the actual foods have changed over the years.

While never slowing in her passion to create by making real food, healthy personal care, and cleaning products, she also experienced being the food editor for a print and online publication called WNC Woman based in western North Carolina.

Currently, Sandy is a Food Writer at She runs a Facebook page called Sandy’s Food for Thought. You can also contact her with recipe requests or if you also love to talk food: