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Red Chili Chicken

Serves: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 2 ounces whole dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • ⅔ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, Mexican if available
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat


Procedures:

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs become especially tender when simmered in this red chili adobo sauce. After a brief time on the stovetop, the Durotherm’s insulated base allows the chicken to finish cooking off heat. For a make-ahead option, the chicken stays hot in its sauce for up to two hours. We liked this served as tacos with corn tortillas, cilantro, scallions and lime wedges.

Don’t let the chicken and chili sauce boil while cooking on the stovetop. This will lead to scorching and tough meat.


In a Durotherm over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering (if using gas, don’t let the flames reach the sides of the pot). Add the chilies and toast until lightly browned, about 20 seconds per side. Transfer the chilies to a food processor and the oil to a small bowl; set aside. Process the chilies until coarsely chopped, about 30 seconds.

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the chilies, oregano and garlic, then cover, remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes.

In the food processor, add the sugar, vinegar, 2½ teaspoons salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, the cumin, cinnamon and reserved chili oil. Add the chili-water mixture and process until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl as needed.

Pour the mixture into the Durotherm, add the chicken and stir to coat with the sauce. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium. Reduce to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, adjusting the temperature as needed to maintain a simmer. Leave the lid slightly ajar at first to ensure you see that a proper simmer is reached, then cover the pot and don’t open again.

Remove the pot from the heat and place on the heat-retaining base; do not remove the lid. Let sit, covered, at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.

When ready to serve, use 2 forks to shred the chicken in the pot, tossing to combine with the sauce. Return the Durotherm to the stove and cook, uncovered, over medium until the meat is coated in the chili mixture and a spoon dragged through the sauce leaves a trail, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

by Christopher Kimball

 
 
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