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From the Kitchens of Pancho Villa has been awarded the honor of "WINNER" in the "Cookbooks: International" category of the 2014 International Book Awards!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Azteca Style Chicken or Mexican Style Chicken

This is one of my friend Laraina's favorite recipes. Azteca Style chicken looks complicated at first sight but happily once you assemble your ingredients mise en place (a French phrase which means "everything in place") it goes together and cooks quickly. It will take more time to assemble the ingredients than to actually prepare this delicious chicken.

Azteca Style is a broad category and is just another way to say Mexican Style. But it does sound more exotic, doesn't it?
More about mise en place: most of the Mexican cooks that I know have small to tiny kitchens with almost no workable counter space and ingredients are stored in many locations. So, they need to arrange all of their ingredients prior to actually cooking the dish. This method is also used in the culinary world by professional chefs. Once the meal begins to cook, there is no time to seek out the ingredient, measure it or find out you are missing one of the vital parts of the recipe. These Mexican cooks taught me this technique early on and I use it every time I either cook or bake something and it has saved 'my bacon' on more than one occasion!


(don't let this list scare you!) I have divided the list into sections that you will prepare individually.  (this should make it less daunting)

6 Tablespoons chilled butter, divided usage (2 Tbls; 4 Tbls)
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil or mild olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1-1/2 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar or good quality red wine vinegar, divided usage (1/2 cup; 1/4 cup)

1 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided usage (1/2 tsp; 1-1/2 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 boneless chicken breast halves with skin
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided usage

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, diced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted oil-cured black olives
1/4 cup drained capers, rinsed
1/4 cup dry Sherry
1/3 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 Teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, or 1/3 teaspoon dried
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with the vegetable (or olive) oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions; cook until deep brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add the sugar and stir until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Pour in 1/2 cup vinegar; cook until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Transfer these caramelized onions to small bowl.

Preheat oven to warm - about 200°F (95°C). Mix salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and pepper in small bowl. Rub the chicken breasts all over with this spice mixture. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat; add chicken breasts, skin side down. Sauté until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to baking sheet. Keep warm in oven.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 20 seconds. Add the caramelized onions (from step 1), 1/4 cup vinegar, tomato, olives, capers, and Sherry. Cook until liquid reduces slightly, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons cumin, chicken broth, lime juice, sage, thyme, and rosemary. Add avocado and cook until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add 4 tablespoons butter and stir until blended into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Place 1 chicken breast on each of 6 plates; spoon sauce over.

Serve this delicious Azteca Style Chicken with rice or mashed potatoes and your favorite fresh vegetable salad.

As seen on:

As seen on: