4 tablespoons Baklouti Agrumato or other spicy Olive Oil
5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breast tenders
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup dark chocolate balsamic
2 large yellow onions, sliced
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
6 large garlic cloves
3 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
3 ounces dried Pasilla chilies, stemmed, seeded, cut with scissors into 1″ inch pieces
2 ounces dried negro chiles stemmed, seeded, cut with scissors into 1″ pieces
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish and corn tortillas, warmed
Heat 2 tablespoon oil in heavy large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Wash and pat the chicken dry. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot and sauté until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side.
Return chicken, any juices, and the bay leaf to the pot. Add the broth and bring to a simmer – cook covered until chicken is tender, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons Baklouti Agrumato (or other spicy oil) in heavy LARGE saucepan (cast iron is ideal for this) over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown – about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add almonds, pumpkin seeds, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and coriander. Sauté until the nuts and seeds begin to toast lightly, about 2 minutes. Add dried cut chilies and stir until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
Add the caramelized onion and dried chili mixture to the pot with the chicken and stock. Add the chocolate balsamic and oregano to pot. Stir to incorporate and cover. Simmer gently until chilies are very soft, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool for about 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pot to a large bowl. It will be just about falling apart so don’t work if you leave a few bits and pieces in the sauce. Working in small batches, transfer sauce mixture to blender and puree until smooth; return to reserved pot. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Coarsely shred chicken and return to sauce, gently stir to incorporate.
This recipe can be served immediately, but gets better with time, and can be made up to three days in advance.
Chill until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over low heat before serving.
Serve over rice and/or with warm corn tortillas and a drizzle of Baklouti Agrumato or other spicy olive oil for more heat. Serve sprinkled with chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.
Serves 6-8 generously (with leftovers)
Chef: Rachel Bradley