Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pulled-Chicken and Pepper Skillet with Red Chile Sauce

The three main components in this dish cook up separately, then come together in one skillet to take to the table for a warm, inviting, serve-yourself dinner. Tender, juicy slow-cooked chicken, an assortment of sweet and spicy colorful peppers, and a smoky, rich red chile sauce provide an array of wonderful flavors your guests will love.

And there are various ways to enjoy it—spoon it on top of rice or refried black beans, serve it with warm tortillas to make tacos, or enjoy it as is with a dollop of fresh guacamole on the side.

About the bird: I like to use a whole chicken for braising to get a mix of white and dark meat. If you prefer one or the other, substitute all leg quarters for dark meat only or all breast for white meat. (The latter won’t be as juicy, but use bone-in breasts, regardless, to give it the best chance.) To help the chicken braise evenly in only a couple hours, cut it in half lengthwise by removing the backbone with kitchen shears, then cut through the breast plate.

Remove the Backbone with Kitchen Shears
About the peppers: Choose a variety of colors as well as variation in heat levels. I like plenty of spice, and most of it comes from the chile sauce in this recipe. If you’re not keen on too many hot ingredients, use only one jalapeno, or simply larger poblanos.

Peppers and Scallions
And for the sauce: Red chile sauces provide the flavor—and fire—in many Mexican and southwestern U.S. dishes. Recipes are as varied as the chiles themselves. Here, I used relatively mild New Mexico chiles for their deep, smoky taste and pretty dark red color. (Incidentally, New Mexico chiles are also called “chiles de ristras,” or string chiles, because they’re used to make decorative strands of chiles and wreaths in many parts of New Mexico.)

For this dish, I included “chiles de arbol,” or tree chiles, in the sauce to give it extra heat. (These are the small, bright red chiles commonly used in ranchero sauces.) If you prefer to keep it mild, omit the chiles de arbol and add a couple more New Mexico.

Chiles de Arbol and New Mexico Chiles
Serves 6


For the Chicken and Peppers
  • 1 whole fryer chicken (about 3 lbs), cut lengthwise in half, backbone removed
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano (or regular dried oregano)
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium poblano peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, finely chopped
  • 1/2 large red or orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 large yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
Peppers and Scallions Ready to Cook
For the Red Chile Sauce
  • 10 chiles de arbol
  • 6 New Mexico chiles
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice lime
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano (or regular dried oregano)
  • sea salt

For the Chicken and Peppers
  1. Preheat the oven to 300° F. 
  2. Place the chicken halves cut-side down in a Dutch oven or large, ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid. Scatter the garlic and red onion around and on top of the chicken. Sprinkle with oregano, chile powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pour the broth into the pot and cover tightly. Braise until the meat is fork-tender, about 2 hours, turning once halfway through.
Chicken and Aromatics 
Chicken in Broth Ready to Braise 
Chicken after 1 Hour
Braised Chicken
  1. Remove the chicken to a large plate or cutting board and let rest until cool enough to handle. Remove the skin and pull the meat from the bones, shredding it into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Pulled Chicken
  1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the poblano peppers and remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Cook until almost tender, 7-8 minutes.
  2. Add the pulled chicken to the skillet and combine. Pour the red chile sauce (recipe follows) into the chicken mixture and stir well to combine. Bring to a light simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook 5 minutes.
Pepper Mixture 
Chicken Added
Pulled-Chicken-and-Pepper Skillet with Red Chile Sauce
To serve, stack 2-3 heavy potholders on the dining table and set the skillet on top. Serve warm tortillas, refried black beans, rice, or guacamole alongside, if desired.

For the Red Chile Sauce
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Scatter all the chiles in the skillet, stirring frequently to keep from burning. Toast until fragrant and just beginning to brown in places, about 2 minutes.
  2. Remove the chiles to a plate or cutting board. When cool enough to handle, remove the stem ends and tear the chiles into small pieces. (Discard some of the seeds, if desired.)
Toasted Dried Chiles 
Torn Chiles
  1. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté 3 minutes. Add the toasted chiles, broth, lime juice, cumin, and oregano and season with salt.
  2. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand 10 minutes longer.
Onion and Garlic
Remaining Ingredients Added
  1. Place the sauce ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. (Small flakes of chiles will remain. Strain the sauce through a sieve and discard the flakes, if desired.)
Sauce Ready to Process
Blended Chile Sauce
Red Chile Sauce

No comments:

Post a Comment