One of the first things author Rick Bayless learned to cook in Mexico was chicken marinated in red chiles. They call the marinade adobo, a Spanish word that signifies, plain and simply, "flavoring." A mixture of rehydrated dried red chiles, garlic, spices, and vinegar, it is an essential condiment in the Mexican kitchen. Once the seasoning mixture has done its work, resulting in a light, flavorful, and satisfying dish, the chicken is said to be adobado, or marinated (loosely translated). Store leftover marinade in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for a month. Then use on fish, pork, or lamb chops before grilling.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 dried ancho chiles, seeded and torn (about 3 ounces)
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 garlic cloves
1 (3 1/2-pound) whole chicken
1/3 cup water
10 small red potatoes, halved (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (1/4-inch-thick) sliced onion
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
4 watercress sprigs (optional)
How to Make It
To prepare the adobo, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add anchos; sauté 2 minutes or until anchos are blistered. Combine anchos and 2 cups water in a small bowl. Cover and let stand 20 minutes or until tender. Combine ancho mixture, 1/4 cup vinegar, and next 7 ingredients (1/4 cup vinegar through garlic) in a blender; process until smooth. Strain marinade through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl; discard solids. (Adobo will have the consistency of steak sauce.)
To prepare remaining ingredients, remove and discard giblets, neck, and skin from chicken. Rinse chicken with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Place the chicken, breast side down, on a cutting surface. Cut in half lengthwise along the backbone. Combine 1 cup marinade and chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Place chicken on a broiler pan or rack of roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer into meaty part of thigh, making sure not to touch the bone. Pour 1/3 cup water into pan. Combine potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Arrange potatoes around chicken. Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until thermometer registers 160°. Brush the reserved marinade over chicken and potatoes, and bake an additional 10 minutes. Place chicken and potatoes on a platter. Combine onion and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a bowl; arrange around chicken and potatoes. Garnish with watercress sprigs, if desired.
This is a great recipe, although I do cheat and buy prepared adobo sauce in the mexican foods aisle! It's easy to prep, then you just throw it in the oven or on the gril and forget about it for an hour! it's a little spicy for our kids, but we just pull the skin off and they eat the meat.
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