Tag Archives: Jalapeno Pepper

Hellbent Chicken – Chicken with Dried Chilies


ribs something

Part of my healthy eating habits is to eat high protein with vegetables and gluten-free carbs.  So this dish fits the bill perfectly.  I love Mexican food.  I like the spice and the flavors.  I like a burrito without the flour tortilla, all the rice, the cheese and the refried beans. Pretty much, it’s the chicken that has been braised in a flavorful, deep rich sauce that I love.  And that was my inspiration when I was looking for a way to cook chicken with vegetables, with good spice, deep flavoring, and be able to eat it with rice or tortillas.

entero chilis in bowl

Dried Calfiornia Entero chilies is the key ingredient in this dish.  I can get them in most supermarkets here in Northern California. If you cannot get them. you can use also known as Guaijillo chilies, which look very similar but are a bit spicier in flavor.  Or, you can find California Entero chilies online here.  The dried chilies are added whole – stem and all – and get reconstituted in the sauce which starts with peppers and onions and garlic sautéed in oil, then has chicken stock and canned tomatoes added with other seasoning.  I also add chili powder to the sauce. I use a red chili powder called California chili powder, also known as chili pequin molido, which is spicier than typical chili powder.

entero chilis

I use a mix of red bell peppers, Anaheim peppers and jalapeno peppers.  I like Anaheim peppers because they not as sweet as bell peppers and nit as spicy as the jalapenos, so they add a nice flavor.  The secret ingredient to this special sauce is cocoa powder. I add a little bit to smooth out the spiciness and of the chili peppers and balance the acidity from the tomatoes. This dish is petty spicy, if you prefer it less spicy, use fewer jalapeños and a darker (mild) chili powder.  You can also add a teaspoon of sour cream for serving.

HB chciekn inpot newWhen making chicken with dried chilies, pureeing the cooked chilies is the key to unleashing the flavor.  When the dish is about two-thirds done, I take out the peppers from the pot (often times they break into a couple of pieces), throw away the stems and puree them in a blender with a cup of the cooking liquid.  It becomes a nice thick sauce — almost like the consistency of tomatoe paste.  I then add this back to the main pot and stir it through. This turns the sauce into a rich deep hue with good flavor and consistency. I often eat it like a stoup, with tortillas on the side.

Hellbent Chicken

Serves 6.


12 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless

4 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced into ¼” strips

4 Anaheim peppers, cored, seeded and sliced into ¼” strips

3 jalapeno peppers, sliced, stem removed.  If you want to lessen the spice, seed them

1 large onion, halved and sliced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tablespoons oil (I use EVOO)

1 28oz oz can of San Marzano tomatoes, sliced, or crushed tomatoes

2 cups of chicken stock

1 teaspoon cayenne powder

1.5 tablespoons of Californial chili powder (or chili pequin molido powder ) – or  regular chili powder, to lessen the spice

4 dried California Entero chili peppers

½ tablespoon of cocoa powder

salt and pepper to taste

sour cream – optional

Add the oil to a Dutch oven or heavy pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken and add half of chichen to pot to sear, 2 minutes on each side.  Repeat with remaining chicken and set onto plate.  Add the peppers, garlic and onion to the pot and sautee until they are semi soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Lower heat to medium/low, and add chicken, chichen stock, tomatoes, cayenne powder, chili powder and the dried California entero peppers, whole, stems in tact.  Cover pot and cook 40 minutes on a simmer.  Uncover pot and take out the California entero peppers (they might be in pieces).  Discard stems.  Add the peppers with 1 cup of cooking liquid to a blender and puree.  The paste will be pretty thick.  Add it back into the pot and mix it through.  Add the cocoa powder.  Cover post and cook 20 more minutes.  Serve with rice or tortillas.


An All-Pepper Marinade With a Kick


I like a lot of flavor and a lot of spice in my food.  I typically believe the hotter, the better.  When it comes to marinades, it’s hard to find one that has big flavor without having a lot of sugar, salt and oil.  I kept thinking that there has to be a better way to make a marinade out of great fresh ingredients, that has spice but not all the sugar and fat. So I started to play around with peppers.  To me peppers are the perfect vegetable.  They are versatile: great in salads, as a side dish vegetable (roasted, or sautéed), an accompaniment to a protein and even as a main dish (stuffed).  And as flavoring agents: jalapeños which I love for spice and dried peppers make for wonderful sauces, braises and stews. And they are healthy: a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Folate, Magnesium and Copper, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6 and more.

I used a bunch of fresh peppers (jalapeños, pasillas, anaheims) and puree them in the food processor with other spices like cilantro, garlic, scallions, and a little olive oil and lime juice to provide the acidity needed to break down the proteins…which is basically how a marinade softens and flavors meats.  I added very little oil and no sugar.  The result was so flavorful.  I use it as both a marinade and a salsa in the same dish.  If you don’t like food as spicy as I do, you can temper the recipe by using fewer jalapeños.

green sauce in cuisinart

I have used this beautifully green marinade on chicken breasts, fish, and flank steak. My favorite is using it on flank steak. I usually serve it with corn tortillas. This recipe calls for 2 lbs of flank steak. It can serve 4-8 people depending on serving sizes. I portion out 4-5 oz for my serving so I do not overdo it with the calories. I use half the marinade to tenderize and flavor the meat before grilling. I serve the steak with grilled onions and red peppers and serve with corn tortillas and use the remaining marinade to top off the tortillas. If you want to make a big batch, this freezes well.

Pepper Lime Cilantro Marinade: (makes 3.5 cups of marinade)

4 poblano peppers – stem removed, cut into big chunks, seeds regarded

4 jalapeño peppers — stems removed, sliced.  I use the whole pepper with seeds for extra spice. If you want it more mild, discard seeds and white pith and perhaps only use 1-3 peppers, depending on your palate

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Juice of two limes

Half a bunch of cilantro

4 scallions

I teaspoon of coriander seeds

1 teaspoon of black peppercorns

1 clove of garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt

Mix all ingredients in a food processor.  Process for 2-3 minutes.  Marinade will be finely chopped.  It will not be  a puree.