Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chocolate Chili Chicken

By southwestern standards this is a ridiculously mild dish, which makes it perfect for serving to younger children. It also highlights the bright, summery flavors of the orange zest and cilantro. Madman zinfandel made a wonderful accompaniment to this dish.

Our Lammas main dish is an adaptation from “Adventures with Chocolate”. While shopping for ingredients I met some challenges, the oranges at the store were scentless, thick skinned and hard, shallots were not to be found. So my many jars from Penzey’s came to the rescue.

This meal was such a joy to share. I don’t have any words to describe making this dish, enjoying it with the boys. Simply make the dish and taste the joy.

May the first bite be as delicious for you and yours!

Chocolate Chili Chicken

Adapted from Paul A. Young’s “Adventures with Chocolate”

8 chicken thighs

olive oil

4 shallots, minced or 2 tbsp Penzey's freeze dried shallots

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 tbsp orange zest or 2 tbsp Penzey's dried orange peel

2 c orange juice

4 red mini bell peppers, diced

6 arbol dried chiles

2 cascabel dried peppers

1 tbsp dark brown sugar

1 tbsp coriander

2 heritage tomatoes of a meaty variety, chopped

5.3 oz 72% dark chocolate, chopped, Sweet Earth Organic

Fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a large dutch oven brown the chicken in a slight amount of olive oil. Place aside.

Add shallots, garlic, zest to pan with a slight amount of orange juice. If using dried shallots, zest, and chiles, rehydrate in orange juice while browning chicken.

Add the diced bell pepper and the rest of the juice and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add coriander, dark brown sugar, the chicken thighs, simmer another 10 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, and put in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.

Remove chicken to serving platter. Reduce the sauce until thickened a bit. Remove the dried peppers and toss. Add the chopped chocolate to the pan ladle over chicken as chocolate begins to soften. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Next time I make this for my circle, towards Samhain, I'll use hotter chilies and perhaps a Chipotle to add a smoky flavor to reflect the descending darker season. With any dish that features chilies use what suits your mood, your guest's palates, and what you have on hand.

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