Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tapado de pollo (Chicken and Fruit Casserole)

Mexican summer continues, this time with a Chicken and Fruit Casserole from Diana Kennedy (The Essential Cuisines of Mexico). This one was beyond words. Why don’t they have this sort of dish at any of the so-called Mexican restaurants in this country? The cinnamon and the fruit gave it a warm aroma and a lovely, but not cloying, sweetness, while the olives cut through the sweetness.

A few substitutions and omissions: I did not have the right chicken (word to Safeway: one should not have to travel to a specialty store just to get chicken with bones and skins on it, thank you very much), I substituted chicken broth for sherry, and I left out the capers, since I don’t much care for them. Even with the wrong ingredients, it still rocked. I'm just going to write out the recipe as it appears in the book.

4½ pounds large chicken parts
6 peppercorns
1 whole clove
½-inch piece of cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ cup dry sherry
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ cup mild vinegar
2 cups thinly sliced white onion
12 ounces tomatoes, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 small apple, peeled, cored, and cut into thick slices
1 small pear, peeled, cored, and cut into thick slices
2 Mexican bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
1/8 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

To serve
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large, very ripe plantain, peeled and cut into lengthwise slices
2 tablespoons large capers, drained
15 green olives, pitted and halved

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt. Crush the peppercorns, clove, and cinnamon together and mix with the sugar, sherry, garlic, vinegar, and about 1½ teaspoons salt.

Spread one third of the onion on the bottom of a deep ovenproof casserole; cover with one third of the tomato slices and the fruits. Add the bay leaves and sprinkle with a little of the herbs, then put half of the chicken pieces on top of the fruits and vegetables and pour on half the vinegar-spice mixture. Repeat the layers, finishing up with a topping of onion, tomatoes, and fruit.

Cover the casserole and bake for about 1 hour, then uncover the casserole for 30 minutes longer, or until the chicken is tender and some of the juices have been reduced.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and fry the plantain pieces until a deep golden brown. Remove and drain. To serve, cover the top of the stew with the capers, olives, and fried plantain.

1 comment:

Reenie's World said...

Mmm, yeah... it sucks that you live so far away! :)