Recipe is adapted from Diana Kennedys book "The Essential Cuisines of Mexico."
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Blend the soaked ancho chiles with 3/4 cup of water until smooth.
- Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt.
- 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.
- Immediately add the cumin and garlic mixture to the pot and cook for about 3 minutes while stirring constantly.
- Add the pureed ancho chiles and cook for another 3 minutes while scraping the bottom of the pot constantly.
- 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.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.