It’s chilly. Time for an oven-stewed/roast chicken and stuffed pasillas.
Take a small chicken and pepper it well. Salt lightly. For a low-cholesterol diet I skin the bird first — I am not looking for crispies, but if you are fortunate enough to skip the step, feel free! Marinate it in about one cup of unflavored yoghurt (I use the Greek fat free type) mixed with a half cup of seasoned rice wine vinegar and a large onion sliced thin. Add about eight mashed pickled jalapenos, Mexican style. (I make my own and they should be sweet-hot for best effect.) Taste before you put the chicken in. This should be a sweet sour hot flavor between the vinegar and onions and jalapenos with the yoghurt having a balancing effect. I like the chicken to marinate in the fridge for about half a day, but if you’re in a rush it will taste good even assembled at the last. Before cooking it in a 325 Farenheit oven I turn the bird breast down, which helps the white meat stay succulent.
Most birds take about an hour and three quarters in a heavy enameled lidded pot. Here again it depends if you want the roasted effect or a stewed version. Lid on with the heavy pot will give you stewed and is the best method if you’ve skinned your chicken. Lid off is fine for a roasted effect.
Some like the meat just cooked through, I like it falling off the bones. At the end of cooking I will thicken the sauce that has formed and add perhaps another three or four pickled jalapenos. If I have plenty of time the best way to thicken the sauce is to reduce it — there will be quite a lot of juice in the pot, but if you take it down to about half or one third the original volume it will have great flavor. I find this dish salty enough because of the pickles but this is a good time to check and see if you want a dash more. This is fine with rice and a side dish of guacamole, accompanied by corn and goat cheese stuffed pasillas…
Oh, you wanted that recipie too? Take about six good sized fresh pasilla peppers, wash and dry, then scorch the skins over your gas burner. If you have a daughter like mine she will come into the kitchen and make faces about how it stinks. Sometimes the cats complain too — have you ever seen a cat cry? Well, I have. Tears. Really.
Scorch the peppers until well-blistered and blackening with the structure going tender, then wrap them fast in a hand towel so that they can steam for about fifteen minutes more. Unwrap and wash off all the black bits under running water. (Do not rub your eyes or lips of any sensitive part of your skin without washing thoroughly first with soap to remove the essential oils that carry the capsaicin.) Slit open the peppers and remove the seeds. Don’t worry if they tear — it will not matter. You can keep the little tops on them if you think they should be well-dressed.
Now I have heard rumors that you can roast the peppers in a very hot oven until they blister, but I have never tried it. I like the smoky taste this method gives.
Mix together about a half cup of soft white goat cheese with an egg and three cups of frozen corn (thaw the corn slightly first or your fingers will complain,) and use this to stuff the scorched peppers. If you like you can process the mix in a food processor. You will need to add about a quarter cup of milk if you do the processing and don’t overdo it– the kernels are best fairly intact. Place stuffed peppers in a greased baking dish and bake alongside your chicken for between forty minutes and an hour of the cooking time.
Let your cats have the gizzard and heart to pay for their tears.