Mexican chipotle chicken casserole

I’m really excited about this Mexican chipotle chicken casserole for two reasons. Because – Mexican food! And secondly, it’s the first recipe in a series of dishes that showcase the versatility of molasses sugars in savoury foods. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be partnering with Natura Sugars. Their range of unrefined sugars are completely special.

While we’re all familiar with sugar in baking, it’s also common to some of the world’s most popular meat dishes. Think succulent Karoo lamb with stewed Cape peaches or an authentic Durban curry with a spoonful of mango chutney. Asian cuisine hinges on a fiery heat counter-balanced with a sugary tempering, while pomegranate molasses adds a tart depth to many Middle Eastern salads and roast meats.

Mexican chipotle chicken casserole

Today we’re going Mexican. The flavours are bold and gutsy. 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 for heat seekers
  • 80% chocolate – adding dark, smouldering cocoa notes
  • Natura Sugars muscovado sugar – our all-important ‘sweet balance’

Mexican chipotle chicken casserole

My latest discovery is this range of Natura Sugars . I love 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.

Mexican chipotle chicken casserole

Back to the chicken. For sides, patatas bravas and chunky guacamole are excellent options. Tortillas are also a good vehicle here.  I shred the chicken, pile it into the warm tortillas or taco shells, if you like, add some cos lettuce, grated cheddar cheese and fresh avo wedges. It casual comfort food that’ll have everyone their fingers.

Mexican chipotle chicken casserole


Mexican chipotle chicken casserole
Serves 4-6
  • 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
  1. Heat the olive oil in a wide based pan. Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Brown the chicken on both sides in the hot oil, remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. Add all the spices, chipotle paste, chilli and orange peel. Toast all the aromatics for a about a minute to intensify the flavours.
  5. Stir through the Natura Sugar, chopped tomatoes and chicken stock. Return the chicken to the pan and press down to submerge in the sauce.
  6. Cover partially with a lid and simmer for about 45 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Press the chocolate into the sauce and allow it to melt completely. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  8. 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.











12 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Di. Where do you buy Chipotle paste? I’ve looked everywhere for it. Thanks!

  • Dianne Bibby
    20 June 2016 4:15 pm

    Hi Michelle. Pick n Pay stocks a really good chipotle paste. (In the pastes and condiment isle)

  • I always add some muscovado sugar to balance my tomato based sauces and casseroles too, Dianne. I do love a spicy chicken dish, this looks absolutely delicious, I can’t wait to try it! <3 x

  • Dianne Bibby
    22 June 2016 4:26 pm

    Same here. We love tomato based sauces and just a little sweetness rounds out the flavour. I’m really loving Mexican food right now and this chicken dish is one of our favourites.

  • Finally got the chipotle paste and made this recipe. It is super yum. Love the Mexican flavours! And so easy 😉

  • That tiny bottle of paste makes the world of difference. Quite addictive stuff…

  • Hi.Willmthis recipe work with mutton instead of chicken?

  • Absolutely. Just a long slow cook for several hours and the lamb will be succulent and tender.

  • Hi Bibby. I tried this last night with steak strips. It was delicious and the family loved it! I prepared it slightly differently though – I didn’t add the meat back into the sauce but kept them separate.

    I served it with home made tacos. Some sauce, a few steak strips and a sour cream layer. Kids even had the sauce on its own with nachos. Loved it!

    This morning I’m making more sauce to go with scrambled eggs for breakfast. Thank you for a great recipe!

  • I think maybe we can bottle the sauce! Love that you’re finding a host of alternative ways to serve it. I never thought of eggs. Sounds like a super delicious Mexican shakshuka. Thanks for the inspiration. Definitely going to give it a try.

  • Gosh dianne I can’t wait to try this dish. Look absolutely gorgeous. Where can I purchase your 1st book and is it available in soft cover? Thank you so much

  • Dianne Bibby
    13 August 2021 4:23 pm

    If you love bold flavours with a little heat, this is the one to make. Hope you like it. The printed cookbook is only available in hardcover. Takealot and Loot can deliver for you. Alternately, most Exclusive Books have stock. Please let me know if you come right. Happy to help. Have a lovely weekend.

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