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Spiced Chicken with Chocolate Pasilla Sauce

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 20 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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One 5-pound whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried, crumbled Mexican oregano

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

1/4 cup olive oil

2 1/2 cups chopped white onion (from 1 large or 2 small onions)

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

One 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 1/2 cups chicken broth (homemade or store-bought low sodium)

5 pasilla chiles, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained

One 3.2-ounce disk Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped

Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. In a medium bowl, mix the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  3. Set a cooling or baking rack into a baking sheet. Place the chicken pieces on the rack and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Rub the spice mixture all over. Rub some of the mixture in between the skin and the breast meat. Transfer to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees F and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the chicken from the oven and cover with some aluminum foil. Let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and chicken broth and cook over medium-high heat until the flavors incorporate, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Transfer the mixture to a blender with the soaked pasilla chiles and puree until smooth. Return to the same saucepan and add the chopped chocolate, stirring over medium heat until fully melted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Top with the chocolate pasilla sauce. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.