How to Make It
In a medium heatproof bowl, toss the onion slices with 2 teaspoons of salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes longer. Transfer to a colander and drain. Rinse under cold water and drain well; pat dry.
Dry the bowl and return the onion to it. Stir in the tomato, jalapeño, lime juice and cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
In a food processor, coarsely puree the canned tomatoes with the garlic, chopped red onion, cumin, 1/2 cup of the cilantro and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Heat the Annatto Oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook the chicken over moderate heat, turning once, until golden, about 7 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil in the casserole.
Add the tomato puree to the casserole and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Return the chicken and its juices to the casserole and add the beer. Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. Cook the sauce over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Return the chicken to the sauce and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the chicken onto a platter or plates and garnish with the remaining 1/4 cup of cilantro. Pass the ají at the table.
Beer A rich but thirst-quenching Mexican beer will highlight the beer in this stew. Look for an ale with good body, a subtly sweet maltiness and a bright finish, such as Casta Dorada, or opt for a lager, such as Bohemia by Cervecería Cuauhtémoc.