There are kitchen surprises you don’t love–“Honey, the boss is in town and he’s coming over for dinner. We’ll be there in 45 minutes!”–and kitchen surprises you do love–dishes that taste like they cooked all day but, with a handful of healthy ingredients, really came together in a flash. This chicken falls into the latter category.
The recipe comes from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday and, as usual, is spot on in both flavor and the categorization of being an “everyday” recipe. What, at first glance, seemed like the kind of recipe best reserved for relaxed weekend cooking, was essentially chicken with a pan sauce. A beautifully developed, lip-licking pan sauce. While the chicken and vegetables are cooking, you can cook up some rice, roast some simple salt and pepper potatoes, or season and heat up some black beans. In just about 30 minutes, you’ll have a healthy, hearty, satisfying meal on the table–one you could serve surprise dinner guests, to boot.
Chicken in Tangy Escabeche
from Rick Bayless, Mexican Everyday
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
2 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
4 (2 lbs. total) chicken breast halves, bones and skin intact
2 TBSP vegetable or olive oil
1 large white onion, cut into 1/4-in. slices
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-in. thick on a diagonal
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 c. vinegar (apple cider vinegar is traditional)
2-4 canned pickled jalapeños, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced (I used sliced jalapeños with the seeds)
1 c. chicken broth
1. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine pepper, allspice, oregano and 1
tsp. salt. Sprinkle half of mixture over chicken breasts.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a very large (12-in.) skillet over medium heat. When oil reached temperature, lay in
the chicken, skin side down, and cook, turning once, until richly
browned, 3-4 minutes on each side (longer for large pieces). Remove chicken to a plate,
leaving behind as much oil as possible.
3. Add the onions and
carrots to the skillet. Sauté, stirring regularly, until the onion is
browned, abut 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir about 1 minute,
then add remaining seasoning mixture, vinegar, jalapeños, and
4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add chicken pieces back in, skin side up, tucking them into the onion
mixture. Cover the skillet (you can use a baking sheet if your skillet doesn’t
have a lid) and simmer gently until the
chicken is just cooked through, about 15 minutes (again, longer for large pieces).
5. Taste broth and adjust salt level, if desired. To serve, place a piece of chicken on each of four dinner plates and spoon one quarter of the vegetable mixture over the top. Generously drizzle with pan juices. Serves 4.