Make Mexican Chicken the day before, the night before two hours before guests arrive…. This colorful (practically one-pot) dish is perfect for summer entertaining. Marinate it when you have the time; cook it for an hour. Serve out of the oven or at room temperature, and use leftovers for salad, soup, enchilada filling…. Our Three Brothers’ Guacamole is excellent on the side!
We like Green Olives a la Provencale from Arnaud for this (and pizza, antipasto platters, salads….) But your favorite olives, black or green, will work. Omit if olives are not in your wheel house.
Oven Stewed Mexican Chicken – Serves 8-12
4 pounds organic boneless chicken – combination of breasts and thighs
1/3 cup olive oil
zest of one lemon
juice of 2 lemons
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano (or 1 tablespoon dried)
2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
8 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes
1 red onion, sliced thinly, then slices halved
1 cup pitted green olives
1 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
1. Combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, herbs, spices, salt and pepper, and whisk to blend.
2. Add the tomatoes, olive, and onion. Stir to coat.
3. Add the chicken and toss to coat well. Marinate for up to 24 hours refrigerated, or for 1-2 hours at room temperature. In either case the chicken should be near room temperature before going in the oven. The chicken can be marinated in the pan you’ll use to bake it (see the photo gallery.)
4. Preheat the oven to 35oF. While the oven is heating, transfer the chicken, marinade and vegetables to a baking pan large enough to accommodate all the meat in one layer. Cook for 45-50 minutes, basting occasionally, and turning at least once.
5. Serve hot out of the oven, or later at room temperature. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and Queso Blanco (or a mild Feta if you want more flavor.)