Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chocolate Chicken

My son, like all 2-year-olds, is a carb fiend. If there's bread (even matzah) near the table, he will ignore everything else.

His meals lately have been toast with jam, challah dipped in lentil soup, and cheesy toast.

In an effort to expand his nutrients beyond sugar and fat, as well as to play in the kitchen a little bit, I made a sort of pseudo-chicken mole. We told him it was chocolate chicken. He ate a lot.

1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
spice mixture (see below)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
splash of riesling
1 small can stewed tomatoes
1 small (4 oz) can green chiles
2 small pieces good dark chocolate
juice of 1/2 lime
handful raisins

Spice Mixture
Mix a couple shakes of each of the following until you've got about 2 Tablespoons in a small bowl:
  • Ground cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Ginger
  • Cloves
  • Coriander
  • Oregano
(You can add more of any of these, if you want that flavor to stand out more. I think I went lighter on the cloves and coriander than the other spices, and heavier on oregano, cumin, and cinnamon.)

Grind up a 1-inch piece each of dried ancho and dried smoked jalapeno peppers (seeds and membranes removed) in a coffee grinder, add to spice mixture. (If you want it spicy, add more of this, or some cayenne, or leave in the membranes or seeds. Ours came out only very gently warm.)

Sprinkle salt and spice mixture over chicken, turning to coat.

Heat olive oil over medium to medium-high heat in a wide pot for a couple minutes. Dredge some of the chicken pieces in flour, and brown them in the oil. Remove cooked chicken and repeat until all the chicken pieces have been cooked, adding oil as necessary to keep from burning. (I gave up on dredging the last few pieces and just threw them in because I was getting impatient.)

Add a little water and the onions, cook a couple minutes, stirring frequently, using juices from the onions to loosen the bits of chicken stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic, cook another minute or two, then deglaze with the riesling.

Return chicken to pot, add a little water and the tomatoes and chiles.

Add the chocolate and stir. (You can add more if you want, I didn't want to over-caffeinate the child.) At this point it will start to get thick and REALLY smell good.

Add a little more water as necessary and the lime juice - I made mine a sort of thick stew consistency, but you can thin it out as you like. Throw in the handful of raisins. Cook for a few more minutes.

The whole thing took about 1/2 hour to make.

Serve warm with crusty bread or over seasoned rice. We followed ours with a dessert of homemade warm rice pudding and caramelized pineapple. Yum.


Blogger Samantha Wilde said...

I'm I just totally uncool or really un-Jewish? What am I missing here? What's a Cohen? Are you the girl who lived next door to me 28 years ago?


1/30/2009 11:23 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Actually, looks a lot like many Persian dishes - substitute vinegar for lime juice, and optionally replace the raisins with dried apricots.

If you did it with lamb, you would have 'zardalu boti'.

Samantha, a Cohen is a descendant of Aaron the priest, vi es shtait in Toreh, voz iz mesoreh mi Sinai. Kler, nu?

1/30/2009 4:31 PM  
Blogger Tzipporah said...


Sam - yes, just un-Jewish. You know you can write back to my comments on your blog...

BoTH - interesting. Even the chili powder and chilis?

2/02/2009 1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! That EVIL girl has quoted you.

Noodles are dangerous. Did you know that?

---Grant Patel

2/02/2009 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zardalu Boti is very Persian - in India.

Parsees, Bhoris, and Iranis (who run delightful coffeeshops in Bombai and Poona called 'Irani Hotels') all do versians of the dish. As did the Mughals.

The admixing of sweet, sour, hot (lal mirch!), is very appealing, and much beloved. Which is why there is sugar in so many dishes, as well as dried fruits (zardalu - golden plum, ergo appricot; I do not know why Urdu grasped the term alo to mean potatoes, that is just goofy).

Most koreshteh will have both sugar and vinegar, if more expensive souring agents and sweeteners are not available.

Tres, tres, Persian. Trust me.

---Grant Patel

2/02/2009 3:32 PM  

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