Chipotle-Roasted Chicken with Mexican Mint Marigold, Tomato Bomba

Bomba is an ancient strain of slowly-maturing rice grown in fresh mountain water around the town of Calasparra in Murcia, using aqueducts first built by the Romans.

Bomba absorbs three to four times its volume in stock (rather than the normal two), yet the grains remain firm and delicious.

Plump, locally pastured chicken (Dewberry Hills) joints are brined for half a day in cold, filtered water with coarse sea salt, cracked cumin and coriander.  Blotted dry, then roasted at 500 degrees until the skin is good and crisp, then transferred to a hot skillet and finished in sauce of reduced chicken stock, chipotles en adobo and a touch of apple cider vinegar.  Served over stock-cooked rice with browned onions, garlic and fresh tomatoes.  Garnished with freshly chopped Mexican mint marigold..

Chipotle-Roasted Chicken with Tomato Bomba

For the Brine (5%)

2 litres filtered water
100 grams coarse sea salt
1-1/2 tablesponns cumin seed, cracked
2-1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds, cracked

Bring the water to a rapid boil, then remove from heat.  Add cumin, coriander and salt and stir to combine.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.  Place chicken pieces in a glass bowl and submerge in brine.  Cover bowl and refrigerate 6-8 hours.

For the Chipotle Sauce

2 cups rich, homemade chicken stock
2 tablespoons raw cider vinegar
2-3 chipotles en adobo, minced
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon piloncillo (substitute high-molasses raw can sugar)
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Combine chicken stock and vinegar in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring to a rapid boil.  Reduce heat to medium, add chipotles, tomato paste, oregano and piloncillo and simmer until reduced and thickened, about 1 hour.  Adjust seasoning with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

For the Rice

2 tablespoons cultured butter
1/2 cup bomba
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2-3 green onions, slivered, divided
1 tablespoon minced elephant garlic
1 cup fresh tomato, diced

Heat the butter in a heavy skillet and add yellow onion, garlic and  1/2 of the green onions and saute until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add bomba and stir to coat each grain with butter.  Add stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat simmer, stirring frequently until tender, about 30 minutes.

For the Chicken

Assorted chicken pieces, brined and air-dried
Smoked paprika

Arrange chicken pieces skin-side up, without crowding in a large skillet.  Lightly dust with smoked paprika and place into a pre-heated 500 degree oven, cooking until skin is nicely browned and crisp, about 25 minutes.  Chicken should be slightly underdone at this point.

Remove pan from oven and set on burner over medium heat.  Baste liberally with chipotle sauce and continue to cook, turning occasionally until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

To assemble

Spoon rice onto dinner plates and place chicken pieces over the top.  Dress with additional chipotle sauce and garnish with Mexican mint marigold.  Serve piping hot.

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