Pasilla de Oaxaca Chicken for Foodie Friday

Chicken with Pasilla de Oaxaca Rub (20 March 2003)

This is a recipe that resulted from sending a Canadian Friend a “care-package” that contained some chiles. He did not know much about using dried chiles, nor quite what to do with them, so I wrote and sent the following to him (although the first version omitted the lime and it didn’t have a title). His comments are at the end of the recipe.


1/2 cup almost boiling water
3 Oaxacan pasilla chiles (remove stems and seeds) *
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour very hot water over chiles in a little bowl. When chiles are very soft, put into a blender with remaining ingredients (and a little chile-soaking water, but only if required) and blend into a thick paste (you could substitute olive oil for the water when making the paste).

4 skinless/boneless chicken thighs (breast has no flavour for me, but you could use two of them instead)

Rub the thighs on all sides with the paste, pop into a plastic bag, and marinate for 2 or 3 hours. Then bake (or grill) as usual (I do so in a baking dish with a rack so excess fat drips away).

If you want to add a little more flavour, very slowly sauté a small onion for 20 to 30 minutes until completely caramelized. Spread on top of chicken 5 minutes before removing chicken from oven to heat thoroughly and let flavour infuse chicken.

* Pasilla – a medium spice red chile with a tangy flavour (3-5); Oaxacan pasilla – same, but smoked (4-6); numbers indicate heat on a scale of 1 (no heat) to 10 (extremely spicy)

“Yes, I got two limes and added their juice to the recipe you sent. The yield was certainly enough for three and possibly four breasts, easily four thighs. Anyway, I did two breasts. One’s frozen for a future meal and I really enjoyed the other. The smoky taste is wonderful. Using two limes gave it a bit of punch. One might have been enough. I broiled the breasts in my convection oven – the first time I’ve used it since moving to Gabriola. That, of course, kept ’em moist.” R. Southerland

Another brief comment: I told Ron afterward he could have frozen the leftover rub/marinade in a sealed container.

Richard Jehn

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