Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Savory Chocolate Chicken

This is a chocolate mole inspired chicken enchilada pie. I developed this recipe to give as a birthday present to a friend of mine. I used it to enter him into the National Chicken Contest. He just might be able to win a grand prize of several thousand dollars. While the recipe complies with the contest rules, it is likely too complex for what the contest chooses as winning recipes. In addition, they seem to have gone to Asian Chic. However, I might note that this recipe freezes well, and tastes better the next day, and so on, and so on...

He has 12 more days to hope, but I don't think he won. In any case, he got to eat a lot of savory chocolate. It cured his penchant for sweet chocolate for at least 3 months. When he went back to sweet chocolate it was with balance. An example of how to re-calibrate "shot" or "renegade" taste buds, while putting cacao into those constitutions that need it.

Chicken Solano

Oven to 400 degrees.

1 pound chicken breast (de-boned, no skin)
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup bell pepper (all green, or ½ green ½ red optional), chopped
¼ of one tangy apple or ¼ cup seedless red grapes, chopped (optional)
4 oz frozen corn, just thawed
4 Tb garbanzo beans (canned) soaked in chicken broth
2 Tb tomato, seeded, chopped
1 tsp tomato paste
1 cup salsa (medium heat)
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 cup shredded jalapeno cheese

Sour Cream, cilantro and toasted ancho pepper powder (optional) to garnish

Herbs and spices:
1 Tb Basil
2 Tb Cumin
1 Tb Oregano
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Chile powder
2 Tb ancho Chili powder (reserve 1 Tb for topping)
Salt and Pepper to taste

2Tb balsamic vinegar
2 Tb soy Sauce (light)
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa
2 Tb orange juice
1 Tb dark brown sugar

Corn Bread Topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup cornmeal
3 Tb dark brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup milk
3 Tb melted butter
1 egg, beaten


Mix the marinade ingredients, coat the chicken breasts with it, then place in the refrigerator. On a low to medium heat, brown the onions, garlic for 2 minutes, then add herbs and spices stirring slowly for 5 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade. Dice (large) and place in a skillet on medium heat. As chicken begins to brown (no longer pink), add onion herb mixture and stir.
Drain and transfer chicken to a larger saucepan. On medium heat, add bell peppers, apple or grapes (optional), corn, garbanzo beans, salsa, chopped tomato, tomato paste, cilantro, most of jalapeno cheese (reserve 2Tb for topping). Stir well, and let cook for 5 minutes.

Spoon into an 9 by 11 greased pan, draining excess juices; pack down; sprinkle top with the 2 Tb cheese and ancho chile powder.

Prepare the corn bread topping by mixing the dry ingredients (sift flour, corn meal, baking powder then add sugar and mix well). Beat the egg and add to milk. Add to dry ingredients, then the butter. Stir until dry ingredients are just moistened.

Spoon corn bread mixture on top of chicken. Spread evenly with warm knife. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let stand for a few minutes. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro and (optional) toasted ancho pepper powder.

Serve with grapes or apple and if you like wine, a good Merlot.


1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
2 Tb spring onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tb fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded, diced
2 Tb fresh green bell peppers, seeded, diced
2 Tb balsamic vinegar
½ cup basil, chopped
1 Tb olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


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