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A Southwest Summer: Spicy Kahlua Braised Chicken with Bacon

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Full meaty chicken thighs! Freshly harvested jalapeno peppers! Applewood smoked bacon! A trinity of Southwest tastes and textures which make up this classic dish from Casa de Cuisine!

So what we have here is a wonderful addition to our menu and a perfect combination of Mexican and Southwest cuisines. If you're wondering about our braising sauce of Kahlua and spices, I think you will be wonderfully surprised at this marriage of flavors. The sauce will have a slight sweetness to it due to the Kahlua and this slight sweetness greatly enhances the nuances of the spices.

Due to the fact we use chicken thighs for this recipe, it was decided to braise this dish. Braising is simply cooking the meat in a liquid in the oven. What we do here is brown the chicken before we braise it. By browning the chicken first we are accomplishing two things: first, we are adding flavor by caramelizing the skin of the chicken and secondly, we are adding some texture to the dish by making the skin more adaptable to the palate.

If you are the rare person who does not like chicken thighs (dark meat), you can substitute with chicken breasts. If you do this you will need to adapt the cooking time.

Ingredients needed to make Spicy Kahlua Braised Chicken with Bacon (serves 2):

  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and sliced
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 6 sliced cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua

Steps:

  1. Remove all the fat from the chicken thighs (remember, there is a difference between fat and skin).
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. In a medium saute pan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the chicken and brown on both sides.
  5. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  6. In the pan add the onion, peppers and spices and saute 3 minutes.
  7. Add the bacon and Kahlua and cook 2 minutes.
  8. Place the chicken back into the pan.
  9. Place the pan into the oven and braise 35 minutes.
  10. Place each piece of chicken on a serving plate, spoon some sauce atop and serve.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."

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