I’m really excited about this post for two reasons. Because – Mexican food?! And secondly, it’s the first recipe in a series of mouthwatering dishes that showcase the versatility of molasses sugars in savoury foods – Mexican chipotle chicken casserole. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be partnering with Cape Town based company Natura Sugars, who’s extensive range of unrefined sugars are completely special.
While we’re all comfortable using sugar in baking, it’s also a mainstay to some of the world’s most popular meat dishes. Think succulent Karoo lamb with tartly-sweet stewed Cape peaches or the distinctive partnership of an authentic Durban curry with a spoonful of fruity mango chutney. Asian cuisine hinges on a fiery heat counter-balanced with a sugary tempering, while sweet and sticky pomegranate molasses adds a fruity depth to many Middle Eastern salads and roast meats. The pairing of sweet and savoury is a literal mouth party.
With that said, it’s time to dive into a trend that has foodsters around the world queuing for dinner reservations – Mexican. The good news is with this recipe up your sleeve, the party’s coming to your kitchen. First up we have a spectacular Mexican chipotle chicken casserole with peppers and dark chocolate sauce. Hold on to your sombreros people. This is going to be epic!
The most important consideration when combining savoury and sweet is the subtle balance of flavours. This Mexican casserole has it covered. Here’s what you can except:
- Earthy spices – coriander, cumin and paprika
- Heat – chipotle paste, red chilli flakes and fresh chillies on top for sock-blowing heat seekers!
- 80% chocolate – adding dark, smouldering cocoa notes
- Natura Sugars muscovado sugar – our all-important ‘sweet balance’
I assume that if you’re reading this post, you’re a keen food follower. Someone who’s aware of what’s trending in the world of food and eager to experiment with the rapidly expanding foodstuffs available locally. I love seeing new products on South African shelves. Bringing the world into your kitchen is an easy and affordable way to explore global eating. It’s also a sure-fire way to liven up the daily drudge of what’s for supper?
My latest discovery is this range of Natura Sugars . I’m hugely impressed by both the treacly flavour and sandy texture of these unbleached sugars. Over the past several weeks I’ve baked trays of cookies, confectionery and cakes using Natura’s Sugars and I cannot wait to share a couple of them with you – like this chocolate chunk banana bread with peanut butter frosting. Gaspingly good! To be certain, if a product appears on this site, it’s because I use it in my kitchen and it works!
Back to the chicken. Serving suggestions – For sides I’d opt for patatas bravas and chunky guacamole. I decided to go the tacos route this time, so I shred the chicken and piled it into some corn-shells with crisp cos lettuce, grated cheddar cheese and fresh avo wedges. Plenty of lime cheeks and napkins are essential. It was one of those plate-licking casual suppers that I can’t wait to repeat.
Mexican chipotle chicken casserole
- Mexican chipotle chicken casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 free-range skin-on, bone-in chicken thigh pieces
- 1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- One large red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons chipotle paste
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
- 3 pieces of orange peel
- 2 tablespoons Natura Sugars Light Muscovado sugar
- 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 squares Lindt 80% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- lime wedges and fresh coriander, to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a wide based pan. Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Brown the chicken on both sides in the hot oil, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the onions to the pan and sauté until softened. Now add the garlic and chopped peppers to the onions and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Add all the spices, chipotle paste, chilli and orange peel. Toast all the aromatics for a about a minute to intensify the flavours.
- Stir through the Natura Sugar, chopped tomatoes and chicken stock. Return the chicken to the pan and press down to submerge in the sauce.
- Cover partially with a lid and simmer for about 45 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
- Press the chocolate into the sauce and allow it to melt completely. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Finally, if you love chicken skin, place the pan under a grill until the skin is blistered and crispy. Serve with extra chilli (optional), coriander and lime wedges.