When I make chicken, I tend to be roasting it whole. Roasted chicken is easy to prepare and (unless you really screw it up) always delicious. But occasionally, boys and girls, I need my chicken to pack a bigger punch. More ingredients. More flavor. More heat. All of it. This particular recipe is for those occasions.
The star of this recipe is chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Here is what those bad boys look like straight out of the can. If you've never used them before, prepare to be wowed. They are not just hot, but vinegary and tangy and chipotle-y. Amazing combination, if you ask me. If you are sensitive to hot peppers, maybe just use one or two peppers and try to pick out the seeds. That said, I use the whole can.
I've made this chicken a couple times now, and one of the reasons I so readily turn to this particular recipe is the simple list of ingredients. I always have all of it on hand. This amazingly fantastical sauce is bold and flavorful. I've doubled the sauce just so I have extra to smother the chicken in at the end. It's a good plan. I recommend it.
After making the sauce, you cover the chicken in it, bake it, and then remove the chicken half way through and add more sauce, you know, just to be thorough.
By the time the chicken is all done, the sugars in the sauce produce the most amazing caramelization ever.
Try this recipe. You know you want to.
Caramelized Chipotle Chicken
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo (from a 7-ounce can)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 whole chickens (about 3 1/2 lb each), each cut into 8 pieces
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook garlic, stirring constantly, until golden, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, about 15 minutes. (NOTE: I cook the onions and then add garlic and it's fine. The garlic ends up being softer and less crunchy, but I'm fine with that.)
Add garlic and remaining ingredients, except chicken, to skillet with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.
Coat chicken with half of sauce, then roast, skin side up, in a 17- by 11-inch heavy 4-sided sheet pan 25 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with remaining sauce, then continue roasting until chicken is cooked through and well browned in spots, 20 to 25 minutes more.