now, however, i adore mexican food. i admit it, give into it, and cook it often. i miss that about Los Angeles, because my sons and i had our favorites -- still have our favorites -- and spent our fair share of time hanging at Olvera Street downing mexican food. tonight, we decided to try a cookbook i've had for a fair amount of time, but have yet to cook from. i have Diana Kennedy's mexican cookbook and i use it a ton, so i had never cracked open this one. it is also by a well-known and accomplished mexican food cook, RICK BAYLESS and is called MEXICAN EVERYDAY. as i read through it, it reminded me of my Let's Eat Japanese cookbook with its great stories and accessibility with the recipes. i chose CHICKEN IN TANGY ESCABECHE OF CARAMELIZED ONIONS, CARROTS AND JALAPENOS, or Pollo en Escabeche de Cebollas Caramelizadas, Zanahorias y Jalapenos. whatever you like.
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsps dried oregano, preferably Mexican
4 (2 pounds total) chicken breast halves, bones and skin intact
2 tbs vegetable or olive oil
1 large white onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 large carrots, peeled if you wish and sliced 1/4 inch thick on a diagonal
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider vinegar is traditional)
2 to 4 pickled jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth
what to do:
1. combine the spices, including 1 tsp salt, in a small bowl. sprinkle half the mixture over the chicken.
2. heat the oil in a very large (12") skillet over medium. lay in the chicken, skin side down, and cook, turning once, until richly browned (about 3-4 minutes per side). remove the chicken to a plate, leaving behind as much oil as possible.
3. add the onions and carrots and stir frequently, cooking until the onions are browned, about 7 minutes. add the garlic and stir for about 1 minute, then add the remaining seasoning mixture, the vinegar, jalapenos and broth. nestle the chix pieces, skin side up, in the onion mixture, cover the skillet (a cookie sheet or pizza pan work well here) and simmer gently over medium low until the chix is cooked just through, about 15 minutes.
4. taste the broth and salt as necessary. transfer a piece of chix to a dinner plate, spoon over the juicy veggies, then serve.
here's what we did:
first off, we used skinless and boneless chix thighs and chicken legs, skin on. we didn't use carrots, because, as i've said before, I HATE COOKED CARROTS. SO, since carrots are root vegetables, i used potatoes, yukon gold, which are also root vegetables (i'm SO agriculturally proficient). i also didn't have jalapenos -- oddly enough, i had a HUGE jar of these guys from one of my old catering jobs way back when and i just got rid of it before we moved here. go figure. i added a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes to add heat and was REALLY excited about the brown bits that came up with this adding of the broth and vinegar. when i saw those guys get all saucey, floaty in the broth, i was in heaven and the smell was DELICIOUS. but would it be as good as it smelled?
yes. simple yes. the flavors were simple and good, the semi-soupyness just right for the chilly night and nicholas and brandon completely chowed down. i added some nice, cooling celery sticks to the whole thing as a side -- just fresh, raw and chilled -- and it topped off the heat really well. even the broth had the boys happy.
i think i love rick bayless as much as i love tyler florence.
what's a girl to do?