Jacques Pépin's take on chicken and rice is made with sweet, pungent and richly flavored dried mulato chiles. He uses the chile soaking liquid to braise the seared chicken with chayote, chorizo and ultrafragrant Mexican oregano. Then he serves the dish over ruddy red rice that's colored and flavored with achiote paste.
More Recipes From Jacques Pépin
2 large dried mulato or ancho chiles
3 cups hot water
4 chicken drumsticks
4 chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large scallions, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 ounce firm chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 large tomato, cut into 1-inch dice (1 1/4 cups)
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
2 small chayote—peeled, quartered lengthwise and pitted
Put the mulato chiles in a medium bowl and cover with the hot water; cover them with an inverted small plate to keep them submerged. Let the chiles soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain the chiles, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid. Stem, seed and coarsely chop the chiles.
Heat a large nonstick skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add the pieces to the skillet, skin side down. Cover partially and cook over moderately high heat until well browned on both sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet and reserve for cooking the rice (optional).
Add the scallions, garlic, onion and chorizo to the remaining fat in the skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the chopped chiles, wine, tomato, oregano and the reserved 1/2 cup of chile soaking liquid and simmer for 1 minute. Arrange the chicken in the skillet, skin side up. Tuck the chayote in between the pieces of chicken. Cover and cook over low heat until the chayote is tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the chicken and chayote to plates. Boil the sauce over high heat until reduced, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce around the chicken and serve with Achiote Rice.
The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight.
The mulato chiles in this dish have a smoky-sweet aromatic quality that makes them terrific with Beaujolais, which is produced from the light, fragrant Gamay grape.
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