Chicken Drumsticks Braised in a Chile Pasilla Sauce

As kids, I remember my siblings and I eating many Mexican chicken recipes. And as kids we were always served the drumsticks. I think after having so many of them, as an adult learning to cooking in my own kitchen, I decided one day that chicken drumsticks were forbidden, LOL! Just a few years ago, I connected with quite a few people who loved to cook and eat, real “foodies.” When chicken recipes were discussed, I was always surprised at how many of them would prepare their favorite chicken recipe with drumsticks. I finally caved two years ago and begin incorporating more drumsticks and thighs into my favorite chicken dishes. Searing and then braising, for me, is the best way to prepare a fall-off-the-bone chicken drumstick.

Yields 4 servings


12 pasilla chile peppers
3 chile ancho peppers, optional (I added a few since I had them)
4 to 6 chile de arbol
1 small white or sweet onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 bay leaves, crushed
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder, plus more to season chicken
1 teaspoon pepper, plus more to season chicken
Salt to taste
5 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
8 drumsticks
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup diced sweet onions
1 orange or red bell pepper, diced
1 to 2 serrano chiles, minced
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Chicken Braised in a Chile Pasilla Sauce


1. Remove the stems and seeds from the pasilla, ancho and arbol chiles. Transfer them to a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes.

2. Drain the chiles and transfer to the blender. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, 2½ cups chicken broth and tomato paste. Blend on high for 30 to 40 seconds until smooth. Taste for salt and set aside.

3. In a large, deep skillet, preheat the olive oil to medium heat for 5 minutes. Season the chicken lightly with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Brown the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove chicken onto a plate. In that same pan, add the sweet onions, serranos and bell peppers, cook for 5 minutes.

4. Add the sauce form the blender along with the remaining chicken broth. Stir well to combine, add the chicken back in, reduce heat and cook for 1½ hours until the meat is falling off the bone. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Serve with rice, beans and warm tortillas.

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