Chicken in Escabeche of Caramelized Onions, Carrots, and Jalapeños

My main contribution for this dish was eating it.  Yes, that’s right, Joseph did all the work and I came along, snapped some photos, ate it up, and now I’m writing it up here like I have some ownership of it.  That’s what marriage is for, right?

The recipe comes from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday.  We fell in love with Rick on Season One of Top Chef Masters. My love wavered briefly when Joseph, who was reading The United States of Arugula, told me that that Bayless had received lots of criticism for selling out to Burger King by appearing in a commercial endorsing the low-calorie Santa Fe Fire Grilled Chicken Baguette Sandwich.  I was back to being a fan when Jessica and Adam, my sister and brother-in-law, went to one of his Chicago restaurants and Jessica got an awesome photo of Adam with Rick.  Well, It’s a picture of Adam and Rick is in the background, but it’s a really nice photo and they said the food was amazing.  And I believe it because I’ve loved every recipe of his that we’ve made. I’ll have to tell you about his chilaquiles recipe some time….

carrots onion garlic

My favorite part of the chicken in escabeche were the big chunks of garlic that are sweetened from the simmering and get a kick from the jalapeños.  The carrots and onions are also nicely transformed by the sauce and the chicken was juicy and perfectly seasoned.  Serve over some rice and you’ve got a tangy, deeply satisfying meal.  Be forewarned that leftovers are delicious (and surprisingly moist because of all the broth you’ll put in with it) but pack more of a wallop since the jalapenos have had more time to infuse the food.  According to Rick, it can be served cold or hot, but so far we’ve only had it hot.

We served it with a crisp, bright Spanish Albariño from Burgans Winery.


chicken and albarino

Chicken in Tangy Escabeche of Caramelized Onions, Carrots, and Jalapeños
Adapted from Rick Bayless

Serves 4

1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt
4 (2 lbs total) chicken breast halves, bones and skin intact
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 large white onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 large leftover carrots, sliced 1/4 inch on a diagonal
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 to 4 canned pickled jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth

  1. Combine pepper, allspice, oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Sprinkle half of the mixture over the chicken reserving the rest for step #4.
  2. Heat the oil in a large (at least 12 inch) skillet over medium heat.  Place the chicken, skin side down, and cook, turning once, until browned (3-4 minutes on each side).  Remove from heat and place the chicken on a plate, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan.  Don’t worry, you’ll finish cooking it in step #4.
  3. Add the onions and carrots to the skillet and cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is browned (about 7  minutes). Add the garlic and stir for another minute. Add the remaining seasoning mixture, the vinegar, jalapenos, and broth. Place the chicken  into the mixture skin side up, nestling it into the sauce and veggies. Cover the skillet and simmer over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through (about 15 minutes).
  4. Season with additional salt if necessary and serve the chicken with a generous portion of the veggies and broth over rice.
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