Pollo rojo (Mexican red chicken)*
I’ve made this dish twice now. Once in the oven as per the original recipe; the second time, with my modifications and on the stove top. With the original recipe I found that the tomato paste retains its tomato-pastiness and doesn’t taste quite ‘cooked’. Perhaps it’s because I’ve grown up eating curries… When making an Indian curry, the tomato/paste – the base of the curry/gravy – is always ‘prepared’ first and doesn’t taste uncooked and like the cook was in a hurry! Tomatoes aside, the chargrilled capsicum adds a very nice flavour to the chicken and overall the dish is quite different from anything I've had in a while. It’s definitely going to become one of my go-to recipes in a busy week.
INGREDIENTS4 red capsicums
Cooking oil spray/ 2 TSP vegetable oil
500 gm chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
2 TBS plain flour
Salt and pepper, to season
1 TSP chilli flakes/ crushed red chillies
1 TSP ground cumin
2 TSP hot paprika
2 TSP dried oregano
1 TBS tomato ketchup
1-2 TSP hot chilli sauce
400g can diced tomatoes (I use Ardmona, I find other brands, particularly Italian ones are too acidic and add quite a sour taste)
2 cups chicken stock
Parsley leaves, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 200ºC. Spray/rub capsicums with 1 TSP cooking oil and roast on an oven rack for 45 minutes or until lightly blackened. Transfer to a bowl, cover (with plastic wrap or plate) and set aside to cool. One cooled, remove skin and seeds and slice flesh into 2 cm strips.
- Mix flour with salt and pepper in a bowl and toss the chicken pieces in it. Reserve two teaspoons oil and heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan (with lid). Fry chicken pieces until sealed and somewhat golden on all sides. Take the pieces out and set aside on a plate.
- Heat two teaspoons oil, add the can of tomatoes and cook till THRY dry up a little.
- Add spices, oregano, tomato ketchup and stock and fry another two minutes.
- Transfer chicken back to the dish and stir to coat it in the spice-tomato sauce. Quickly bring to a boil, then reduce heat to minimum, cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes or till chicken is tender.
- In the last five minutes or so, fold in the capsicum. Remove from heat, garnish with parsley and serve with rice.