Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chicken in Jalapeño and Yellow Pepper Adobo

Hello earthlings, welcome to my first post. This is a time to rejoice and try my chicken in jalapeño and yellow pepper adobo. If you must know, an adobo is a loose term applied in Mexican cuisine to describe a sauce or marinade that usually involves chilli peppers and vinegar as a base. Not to be confused with an adobo from the Philippines. 
I first tried a version of this recipe after a short stint working for the infamous Chef Adrian Herrera ( in Monterrey, Mexico from whom I learnt a great deal.
I have made some mayor changes based on what I had in my fridge and my dire need to experiment. I pray Chef Herrera will not come find me in Montreal and hang me upside down for messing with his recipe.

Let me show you most of the ingredients you will need for this succulent feast:

Commence your evening by playing Timber Timbre's newest album Creep on Creepin' On. It will set the mood and enhance the flavour of the dish.
Buy yourself a beautiful free range organic chicken from your local supermarket. Cut it in six pieces: 2 breasts, 2 thighs with legs and two wings. If you haven't dismembered a bird before, don't sweat it. Go here:

You are now going to make a rich and flavourful broth from the wings, thighs, legs and the carcass. Store the chicken breasts in the fridge for now. 
In a pot add your newly dismembered chicken along with some roughly chopped onion, garlic, parsley and cilantro stems, peppercorns, fresh thyme and bay leaves. Feel free to add celery and carrots if you're feeling like it's a classic mirepoix kind of day. Add cold water, just enough to cover the chicken, simmer (never boil) and patiently skim any impurities and fat that may arise. Let it hang out for at least one hour, two if you really want to impress the Misses. 

While your broth is doing its thing chop up 1 large onion, 6 garlic cloves and a thumb-sized piece of ginger. (Did you know the easiest/quickest way to peel ginger is by scraping it with a spoon?)
In a pan over medium heat add some huile d'olive and toss in your onions, garlic and ginger until they soften and become translucent. DO NOT BURN YOUR GARLIC. If you are easily distracted, lower your heat and stir often. Once this is done, set aside.

Time to move forward and onwards. Make sure to have a sip of wine right about now. You should at this point be listening to track #6 of Timber Timbre and feeling all sexy inside. This newfound confidence will get you through the dish.
Core and seed 4 yellow peppers (use orange or red if that's what you have) along with about 6 jalapeños. Preheat your trusty wok over HIGH heat, once it's smoking add some grapeseed oil. This wonderful oil has a high smoke point which is ideal for sautéing your peppers and it also increases the level of antioxidants in your blood. Make sure to continuously toss your peppers for about 10 minutes until they look something like this:

Now it's time to ladle around 2 cups of that rich and aromatic broth you started over an hour ago to the wok. Simmer those feisty peppers in the broth for around 10 minutes.
Do not fret at this point, we're almost done. Surely all this work is a small price to pay for the upcoming party in your mouth.

In a food processor add your previously softened onions, garlic and ginger along with your peppers and chicken broth, keep in mind you might need to ladle some more broth if your adobo gets too thick. Add a handful of fresh mint, cilantro, the juice of half an orange, 2 to 3 tbsp of white wine vinegar, salt and, get this, 2 tsp of sesame seed oil. The addition of these 2 measly tsps of sesame seed oil simply take this adobo to another level.
Whiz and while it's going slowly pour in a quarter cup of olive oil so your adobo thickens and emulsifies.

Transfer to a pot and strain if you so desire a smoother adobo. I for one prefer the one-less-thing-to-wash-later method. Let's just call it an affinity for rustic dishes. Once transfered to a pot, simmer your adobo for about 20 minutes. You can gaze in amazement over another sip of wine as you observe the colours of your adobo darkening and intensifying along with its flavours.

As a side dish I used an acorn squash that was feeling left out of the fiesta. I could have roasted it in the oven for about 40 minutes but decided to cut it in slices, parboil it, and finish it off in a pan with some olive oil, unsalted butter (never buy salted butter), sambal oelek and a bit of honey.

Now the final step of this epic and mysterious meal! Grab the chicken breasts you so proudly butchered. Salt and pepper liberally on both sides. Kosher or sea salt please, none of that refined stuff from Windsor. Preheat your oven at 400F and preheat a pan over high heat. I prefer using a carbon steel pan for this as it is an excellent heat conductor but it ain't no thing it if you don't have one. As long as you use an ovenproof pan you're golden, just like how your chicken is about to turn out. 
Once your pan is smoking, add just a tiny bit of grapeseed oil and carefully place the chicken breast skin side down until it is golden brown. Turn around to sear for about a minute, turn around again skin side down and transfer to oven until it's cooked. Maybe 7 to 10 minutes. You should have a perfectly and sinfully juicy, crispy skinned and well-seasoned breast.

Grab yourself a couple of plates and ladle your rich adobo onto it. Place the chicken breast along with several pieces of your honey/butter/sambal squash. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and freshly chopped cilantro and mint. Pour yourself another glass of wine. I recommend a Californian Zinfandel from Sonoma County. 
You will find your adobo to taste fresh, fruity, nutty, with a moderate but lingering heat, and all around orgasmic inducing. Just another Sunday night I say and so will you.