Braised Chile Chicken

Jalapenos are the most popular chile peppers in the US. This is probably due to the availability and versatility of the chile. Jalapenos have a balanced combination of flavor and heat.

The demand for these have caused breeders to develop a broad range of varieties. You can now get jalapenos with various heat level and sizes. These can be used in salsas, stuffed, or eaten straight with cheeseburgers (my personal favorite).

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1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 chicken (4 to 5 lbs.), cut into 6 pieces, wings and back discarded or 2 bone-in breast halves, plus 2 bone-in thighs and 2 bone-in drumsticks
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 can (4 oz.) whole green chiles, cut into strips
1 fresh jalapeño chile, minced
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro


Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a pot just large enough to accommodate chicken in a single layer. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, whisk together cornmeal, chile powders, and salt. Dredge chicken in cornmeal mixture, turning to coat.

Add half the chicken pieces to pot and cook, turning once, until well browned on all sides and skin is very crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside. Brown remaining chicken the same way.

Add tomatoes, chicken stock, canned chiles, half the jalapeño, and the chipotle chile to pot. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and arrange chicken pieces, skin side up, on top of sauce, being careful not to let sauce completely cover crisp skin. Simmer, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. Remove chicken from sauce and transfer to a platter. Season with salt and pepper and add remaining jalapeño to taste. Spoon sauce around chicken and garnish with cilantro.

Mickey Strang, McKinleyville, CA,

Sunset Magazine
APRIL 2007