Cocoa-Orange Braised Chicken

"From a Sunset Magazine special edition, "Sunset Weeknight." I haven't made it yet, but the recipe description sounds like it is inspired by mole--but quicker and easier to make. My DH loves mole, so I want to try this out on him and see if he likes it!"
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  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 lb)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 12 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process cocoa)
  • 1 12 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 34 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 12 teaspoon ground cinnamon (preferably Ceylon)
  • 1 14 cups reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth, divided
  • 2 oranges, washed and patted dry (about 1 1/2 lbs total)
  • 14 cup orange muscat dessert wine (or use a sweet white wine, if you can't find the dessert wine)
  • salt
  • Italian parsley (sprigs for garnish, also called flat-leaf parsley)


  • Rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a rimmed plate.
  • Add onion, garlic, cocoa, chili powder, sugar, cumin, and cinnamon to pan. Cook, stirring often, until onions are limp and spices are fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup broth to pan and stir to loosen and bits stuck to bottom. Simmer until onion is limp, about 5 minutes.
  • Return chicken to pan. Using a zester or fine grater, grate enough peel (orange part only, no white) from one of the oranges to make 1 tsp zest. Juice the orange into a liquid measuring cup. Add zest and 1/2 cup juice to pan (save any remaining juice for another use). Cover and simmer over low heat until chicken is no longer pink in center, about 8 minutes (cut to test).
  • Meanwhile, cut and discard peel and membrane from remaining orange. Thinly slice crosswise into rounds; set aside.
  • When chicken is done, skim any fat from sauce and discard. Add wine and bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt to taste. Pour into a serving dish and garnish with orange slices and sprigs of parsley.

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  1. schzd
    This was nice, but I made a few changes. I don't use commercial stock, so I just used water, and we don't drink alcohol so I substituted grape juice. Also I only put half a teaspoon of chilli powder as 9yo DS can't handle too much chilli. It was fine for us, but still too hot for him. 1 and a half tablespoons might have been too hot for us, and we like spicy food!



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