I heard that summer is supposed to be the best version of everyone, but it’s the opposite for us. Winter is the time to break routine and stay busy, while our summer selves are likely to end up sitting chest-deep in a creek, cider in hand, and not a worry in the world. Winter is the time to pick up, shake off, and get going with life. I’ve got the sweaters and down vests out, the dog doesn’t want to go outside, and Greg parked his motorbikes for the season (then moped for days). We drove home in an epic rain/snow storm last night, but it’s alright, let’s get it over with already. Hearty meals like this Sweet Chili and Jalapeno Chicken sure help, though.
Right now I’m best at putting on layers, sitting in front of the fire and stirring stews. If you can’t have it any other way, you make the best of things. We make lists and swear off bad habits. Leave the computer/ipad/quit fidgeting with the phone, turn off the TV, call friends, get out. But eat first.
This Sweet Chili and Jalapeno Chicken is a warm blanket and a pantry staple that’s not fussy. You need it in your life now. Serve it with a side of rice and sour cream and you’ve got yourself dinner. Then quit moping and get out of the house.
Tip: The amount of water is approximate – we want to cover the drumsticks and end up with nice sauce, not soup. I used a 5qt dutch oven, and completely covered the chicken in liquid before cooking. If you find that it’s still watery at finish, keep baking, uncovered, until thickened to desired consistency.
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 12 chicken drumsticks, skin on
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 sweet red bell peppers, cored and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 4 cups of water, or more for desired consistency (edit: use chicken stock if you have it on hand, it will produce richer flavour. I happened to be out. If you use water, it will taste great, too - you'll basically make stock when cooking anyway.)
- 1 5½ oz can tomato paste
- 2 tbs honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- handful of fresh cilantro to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the chicken on all sides, then remove and set aside. In the same dutch oven, add the onion and saute until just translucent, then add the garlic and red bell peppers. Cook until lightly browned, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Place the chicken back in the dutch oven. Add the jalapenos, cumin, chili powder, and stir to coat all sides. Turn the heat to low.
- Add water and use the wooden spoon to scrape off any browned pieces from the bottom. Add the tomato paste and honey, mixing to incorporate. Season lightly with salt and pepper (you'll do a taste test and adjust at the end).
- Cover and place in the oven. Bake at 375F for one hour, then reduce the heat to 350F and continue baking, uncovered, for another 30-45 mins, or until the sauce is reduced and thickened.
- Serve with rice, sour cream and garnished with chopped cilantro.