Ancho Rubbed Chicken

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

Suggested Use:
Anchos are great in salsa, soups, enchilada and any sauce needing mild heat and chile flavor. Chopped, pureed or ground, they can be added directly to your recipes.

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For the rub:
6 dried Ancho chiles
6 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

For the seasoned coating:
1/2 cup fine corn meal
1/2 cup coarse corn meal
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp chile powder

2 whole chicken breasts, boned, skinned, and split
white flour (for dusting)


To make the rub: Toast dried peppers on a hot iron skillet. Remove stems and seeds. Place peppers in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and let stand 1 hour. Place all rub ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Run mixture through a fine food mill if possible. This should yield a thick paste.

To make the seasoned coating: Mix coating ingredients thoroughly.

Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. Separate tenderloins from each breast (you will now have 8 pieces of chicken). Pound chicken flat, so that they will about 50% larger in diameter. Score meat with a sharp knife in a 1/2 inch criss cross pattern. Lightly dust chicken on all sides with flour and allow to dry 5 minutes. With a butter knife, spread ancho paste evenly on one side of the chicken pieces. Rub into the scored pattern (there should be enough paste to “hide” the chicken meat). Sprinkle liberally with seasoned coating. Pat it into the paste. Allow to dry 5 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and repeat the process on the other side.

Pour 1 cup of olive oil into a hot iron skillet. Add 1/4 stick of butter, reduce heat to medium. Don’t crowd the chicken in the pan (cook breasts first, followed by tenderloins). For each batch, cook covered for 5 minutes. Turn the meat and cook another 5 minutes. Remove the meat, place on a warming rack in a 300° oven. Continue cooking remaining meat.

Makes 4 servings.

By Jim Maslanka.