Panfried Chicken with Ancho Chiles and Mushrooms

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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8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-4 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 pound Oyster mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 pound white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup dry white wine
3-4 dried Ancho chiles, wiped clean, stemmed and seeded
2-1/2 cups chicken stock
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup olive oil
3 large whole boneless chicken breasts with skin, split


Melt 4 Tbsp. of the butter in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Saute the onions with 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and half of each of the mushrooms. Turn up the heat and cook the mushrooms, stirring frequently, until golden. Pour in the wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Meanwhile, place the Ancho chiles over a burner and toast them all over just until they are soft and the skin is slightly bubbling. Roughly chop half of the chiles and add them to the pot, reserving the rest.

Add the chicken stock to the pot and boil for about 12 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. (For a smoother sauce, pass through a sieve.) Return the sauce to the stove and bring to a boil. Stir in the remaining butter, 1 Tbsp. at a time, and remove from heat. (For a thinner, more rustic sauce you can eliminate this butter.) Stir in the lime juice, season with salt and pepper and reserve.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Season the chicken breasts well with salt and pepper. Heat a large dry skillet over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Pour in the olive oil and place the chicken in the pan, skin side down. Fry until the skin starts to brown and crisp, 5-10 minutes, and then turn and briefly sear the other side. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish (set the pan aside) and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, finish the sauce by thinly slicing the remaining toasted Ancho peppers. Reheat the pan used to brown the chicken and saute the remaining mushrooms over medium-high heat until the edges are brown. Then add the sliced anchos. Stir and toss for 1-2 minutes longer, then stir into the reserved sauce.

Coat the serving plates with the sauce and top each with a browned chicken breast and serve.

Recipe from the FoodNetwork.