Saturday, February 7, 2009

Pollo En Ajo-Comino

Pollo En Ajo-Comino (Chicken in Garlic and Cumin)

Recipe is adapted from Diana Kennedys book "The Essential Cuisines of Mexico."

I used chicken thighs, and threw in a fried egg for good measures. I think I will cut the amount of oil next time, as well as cut the amount of cumin by a 1/3.

4 ancho chiles, veins and seeds removed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
12 black peppercorns
1 whole clove
1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
4 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 1/2-pound chicken, cut into serving pieces

  1. In a small skillet, cover the ancho chiles with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then soak for another 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. Using a molcajete or mortar, grind the cumin, black peppercorns, clove, salt, and garlic. Add about 1/4 cup of water to form a thin paste.
  3. Blend the soaked ancho chiles with 3/4 cup of water until smooth.
  4. Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt.
  5. In a heavy pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Fry the chicken pieces until pale gold, about 5-6 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  6. Immediately add the cumin and garlic mixture to the pot and cook for about 3 minutes while stirring constantly.
  7. Add the pureed ancho chiles and cook for another 3 minutes while scraping the bottom of the pot constantly.
  8. Add 2 1/2 cups of water and return the browned chicken pieces to the pot. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Braise while uncovered for about 45 minutes, turning the chicken occasionally.
  9. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
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