Chicken with Tamarind, Apricots and Chipotle Sauce
People wonder about the existence of Jewish-Mexican cuisine; here is but one example. A Sephardic dish with Mexican influence, this chicken is a crowd pleaser that’s perfect for the winter holidays. It’s a bit spicy, a bit sweet, a bit tangy, crisp and moist. Just like that passed-down brisket recipe, it can be one of those safe cards to play.
- 1 whole chicken cut into pieces, plus two more pieces of your choice, with skin and bones
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
- ½ cup safflower or corn oil
- 4 cups water
- ½ pound dried apricots, about ¾ cup, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
- ¾ cup homemade or store-bought tamarind concentrate, or substitute with 2 tablespoons tamarind paste mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar and ¾ cup water
- 2 tablespoons chipotles in adobo sauce, or more to taste; add chiles if you please
- Thoroughly rinse chicken pieces with cold water and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a deep extended skillet, heat oil over medium heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add chicken pieces in one layer, bring heat to medium-low, and slowly brown the chicken pieces for 1 hour. Turn them over every once in a while, so they brown evenly on all sides.
- Pour water over the chicken, raise the heat to medium-high and bring it to a simmer. Add in the apricots, apricot preserves, tamarind concentrate, chipotle sauce and salt and stir, and keep it at a medium simmer for 35 to 40 minutes more. You may need to bring down the heat to medium. The sauce should have thickened considerably as to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Taste for salt and heat and add more salt or chipotle sauce to your liking.