Chicken and Three Chili Stew
Beans and rice or saffron rice complement this dish nicely. Serve with warm flour or corn tortillas and top with queso fresco or Jack cheese.
For the poached chicken:
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 3 pounds)
- 2 medium onions, root ends attached, quartered and peeled
- 1 large carrot, thickly sliced on an angle
- 2 ribs celery with leafy tops, thickly sliced on an angle
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 orange, zest reserved, sliced
- 2 large bay leaves
- A handful of cilantro or flat leaf parsley and a few stems of oregano, tied with kitchen twine
For the stew:
- 2 large or 3-4 small-medium poblano peppers
- 3-4 dried ancho chili peppers (a small package), stemmed and seeded
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Fresno red chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon cumin (1/3 palmful)
- 1 teaspoon coriander (1/3 palmful)
- 1 can diced tomatoes or chunky crushed tomatoes (15 ounces)
- 1 can or about 2 cups tomato sauce or puree (15 ounces)
- Gremolata: for garnish, combine reserved orange zest with finely chopped cilantro or parsley and a little fresh oregano
Place the chicken in a pot on a bed of root vegetables and herbs, such as the onions, carrot, celery, garlic, sliced orange and bundle of herbs (bay leaves, cilantro or parsley and oregano). Cover the meat with water by an inch or two and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to keep at a low, rolling simmer and poach the chicken for 40-45 minutes. Remove the meat to shallow dish; cool to handle, then strain and reserve the liquid.
Broil or char the poblano peppers on the stovetop to blacken the skins evenly. Place the poblanos in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool to handle, then seed and stem peppers and finely chop them.
Place the anchos in small pot and cover with some of the reserved poaching liquid, about 2 cups. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes to soften. Puree until smooth in a food processor or blender.
Return the poaching pot to the stove and add the EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan. Add the onion, garlic and Fresno chili pepper to the hot EVOO and season with salt and liberal amount of black pepper. Stir for a couple of minutes to soften. Add the cinnamon stick, cumin, coriander, tomatoes, ancho puree, and poblanos, then and add 2 cups more of the reserved stock. Pull and shred the chicken, discarding the skin and bones, then add the shredded chicken to the sauce. Simmer gently over medium-low heat for 30 minutes more; adjust the seasoning, then remove the cinnamon stick and serve.