This was sooo good. I can’t remember the last time I had chicken this tender and lovely. I have recently become enamoured with this blog and have come up with about a hundred recipes I would like to try from there, but this one went to the top of the list based on how simple and accessible it was. I like big, complicated recipes with amazing results as much as the next person, but since becoming a mom, I just don’t always have the time. This took about 25 minutes of actual work and then it cooked on the stove top for an hour and a half while I cleaned up and folded laundry and mediated the debate on who made a better Snow White taking place between my children (I chose me, since everyone else is blond). Also, I think this will freeze beautifully, so it will make an even easier dinner next time.
Back to the recipe, I couldn’t find the dried ancho and guajillo chiles the recipe called for, but I did find dried mild New Mexican chiles, which are about the same heat level. However, in the future, for ease and flavour, I think if I can’t find the required dried chiles, I will use a can of chipotles in abodo sauce, as I found the New Mexican chiles to be a little bland compared to all the other flavours happening here. Also, I will remove the skin from the chicken before cooking, and drain off some of the fat after browning, as this ended up a little greasier than I would like. That said, I wouldn’t drain it all off, the chicken fat has lovely flavour, you just don’t want to be swimming in it. I’m also adding in a little ground cumin, only because that’s a neccessary flavour for me in tacos and increasing the number of chicken thighs, because there was room for more with the amount of sauce.
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 each, dried ancho and guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
1 can chipotle peppers in abodo sauce – UPDATE: 1 whole can is crazy spicy, opt for 1 or 2 chilies and a spoonful or two of the sauce
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1. Heat a bit of olive oil over medium high heat, in a large, heavy bottomed pan (with a lid). Generously salt and pepper the chicken on all sides and then, once the oil is hot, brown the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side, or until nice and golden. Do in batches if you need to, then remove to plate and drain off some, but not all of the chicken fat.
2. Reduce heat to medium low and add the onions and garlic. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and increase the heat. Cook off any accumulated liquid, then reduce the heat again and allow the onions to carmelize.
3. Meanwhile, if using dried chiles, preheat the oven to 350 and tear the chiles into chunks, then place them on a baking sheet. Toast in the heated oven until fragrant, being careful not to over cook (about 4-5 minutes worked for me). Then place the chiles in a bowl and cover with very hot water to soften.
4. Once the peppers are soft, or if using canned chiles, put them in the food processor or blender with 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid and the tomatoes. Process until a smooth sauce has been created. Add into the pan with the chicken, cumin, cinnamon, bay leaf and lemon juice.
6. Use two forks to shred it and serve in soft torillas with minimal toppings (this is really all about the meat); fresh cilantro, avacado and maybe a sprinkling of cheese would be perfect.