Braised Ranchero Chicken

Total Time:
3 hr 10 min
15 min
15 min
2 hr 40 min

6 to 8 servings

  • Ranchero Sauce:
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 dried guajillo chile
  • 1 dried pasilla chile
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 medium Spanish onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Two 28-ounce cans chopped tomatoes
  • Two 6-ounce cans chopped green chiles
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Ranchero Chicken:
  • 4 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Tostada Shells:
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 6 to 8 corn tortillas
  • Avocado slices, for serving
  • Grated queso fresco, for serving
  • For the ranchero sauce: On a gas range or under a broiler, roast the green, red and poblano peppers until well charred. Let cool. Stem and seed the charred peppers. Coarsely chop and set aside.

  • In a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, finely grind the whole guajillo and pasilla chiles and set aside.

  • In a large saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, covered, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the guajillo and pasilla chiles, cumin, chili powder, oregano, thyme, black pepper, salt and garlic. Stir and cook until the spices become fragrant and are fully coated in oil, 3 to 5 minutes.

  • Add the tomatoes, green chiles and sugar. Stir and continue to cook until the sauce starts to simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the vegetables soften and the flavors come together, 30 to 40 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed.

  • For the ranchero chicken: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a small Dutch oven or medium sized roasting pan combine the chicken, stock, salt, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and lime juice with 2 cups of the ranchero sauce. (Reserve remaining ranchero sauce for another use.) Stir and top with the lid or seal well with aluminum foil and braise in the oven, 2 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool enough to handle the chicken.

  • Shred the chicken with two forks or your hands. Strain the braising liquid and add the strained solids back in with the shredded chicken. Reserve enough liquid to moisten the mixture. Return to the pan and keep warm in a low oven until ready to serve.

  • For the tostada shells: Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels. In a small frying pan, heat 1/2-inch oil until hot. Add 1 tortilla and cook, flipping once a minute, until crispy and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the paper towels and repeat with remaining tortillas.

  • Serve the chicken on the tostada shells and top with avocado and queso fresco.

Professional Recipe: This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and makes a large quantity. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe in the proportions indicated and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.

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