Chicken in Peanut Sauce (Pollo Encacahuetado)
- SERVINGS: 4
When Mexicans want to say "I couldn't care less," they'll remark "Me importa un cacahuete"I couldn't care a peanut. The expression obviously does not refer to food, because peanuts are prized all over Mexico, especially in Veracruz.
- 2 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
- Boiling water
- 1 cup raw peanuts, shelled and skinned (4 ounces)
- 2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1 hard roll, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- One 3 1/2 -pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Soak the ancho chiles in boiling water until softened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, toast the peanuts over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- Drain the anchos and transfer to a blender. Add the peanuts, tomatoes, hard roll, onion, chipotles, garlic and sugar and puree until smooth.
- Combine the cinnamon and salt and sprinkle all over the chicken. Heat the oil in the large skillet until shimmering. Add half of the chicken and cook over moderately high heat until golden, about 6 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
- Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the skillet. Add the peanut sauce and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken stock, wine and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Nestle the pieces of chicken in the sauce and simmer over moderately low heat, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 25 minutes.
The spicy, earthy peanut sauce suggests a California Zinfandel to match.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.