Is there such a thing as cilantro chicken crack? Because I think I just ate it. This recipe adapted from Grace Parisi's "Braised Chicken with Cilantro, Mint and Chiles" featured in the November 2012 Food & Wine is a beyond a tastebud pleaser. Granted, I think I could survive in life with a cilantro I.V. But seriously, this one pot classic dish of chicken thighs and drumsticks braised in a sauce of cilantro, mint, onion, poblano and jalapeno chiles with a touch of cream is absolutely delicious. I didn't know chicken could taste this good.
Please, think ahead better than me though. Make extra rice and make/buy some nan to sop up that sauce. If I had naan in my house you would have found me after everyone had been served standing in front of the pot just dipping and eating, dipping and eating, and so on and so on....until someone had to drag me away with the spoon still clinging to my little fingers.
Ms. Parisi's recipe called for rubbing the chicken with ground coriander. I thought I had this in my spice rack. I did not. So I rubbed the chicken with a combination of cumin, ground fennel seed, garlic powder and salt and pepper before browning them in olive oil (because I didn't have any canola). I thought my on the spot modification worked just fine. I did not modify the heart of the "cilantro crack chicken" one bit, however. It is a sauce of cilantro, mint, poblanos, jalepeno, onion, cream and water. Absolute yum!
I will admit that I bought chicken thighs that had the skin and bones on them. Next time, I would do as Ms. Parisi suggests and get the boneless, skinless variety of thighs because I am not a fan of chicken skin and the skin on the drumsticks is probably enough to give the sauce enough fat to make it utterly delectable. I am not sure you need the picked jalapeños, make that an optional component depending upon your taste.
Braised Chicken with Cilantro, Mint and Chiles
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Julie du Pont
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 55 mins
A one pot classic of braised chicken thighs and drumsticks in a cilantro, mint and chile sauce. Adapted from a recipe by Grace Parisi.
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- 4 skinless, boneless thighs
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground fennel seed
- 1 cup packed cilantro (plus leaves for garnish)
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
- 2 poblano chiles, seeded and stemmed
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and stemmed
- 1/2 cup light cream or half and half
- 1/2 cup water
- Sliced picked jalapeños
- Cooked white jasmin rice and warm nan for serving
- Make three slashes to the bone in each drumstick. Rub the chicken with the cumin, garlic powder and fennel seed and season with salt and pepper.
- In a large Dutch Oven or enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the chicken and cook over high what, turning occasionally until browned all over, about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in food processor, combine the cilantro, mint, poblanos, and jalapeño and blend until finely chopped. Add the cream and water and blend until smooth.
- Pour the green sauce over the chicken and blend until smooth.
- Cover partially and simmer until cooked through 30-40 minutes.
- Sprinkle chicken with cilantro and served with jalapeños, rice and naan.
Julie du Pont is a Darien resident, mom and lawyer. She blogs about food and entertaining. For more recipes and entertaining ideas, check out Weekend Table, her blog about food and entertaining.
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