Simmering chicken in chocolate milk sounds strange – turns out, it’s delicious! Tyler Kord’s description in his cookbook: “This chicken may just be one of the most interesting and weird-good things you will make from a cookbook.” As Kord noted: “Chicken and chile and chocolate have a long and beautiful history in the form of mole, from the state of Puebla, Mexico.” One caveat is to buy or make good-quality, full-fat chocolate milk for the cup used in the recipe. The better the chocolate, the better the sauce. The bone-in, skin-on thighs add richness to the sauce, as well, but you could use other pieces. Kord recommends serving the chicken with sauteed zucchini and a grain such as quinoa. Those two mild sides balance the rich, rich sauce. It could be good with boiled potatoes or with long-grain rice, as well. If you have chocolate chicken left over, Kord recommends stuffing some in a corn tortilla or using the chicken to fill out a savory pie. (Recipe adapted from “Food52 Dynamite Chicken: 60 Never-Boring Recipes for Your Favorite Bird” by Tyler Kord. Ten Speed Press, 2019.)
For the chicken:
1 cup whole chocolate milk
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 jalapenos, stemmed and split lengthwise
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
For the zucchini:
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 zucchinis (about 1 pound total), sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
Cooked grain, such as farro, quinoa or rice, for serving
Cilantro, for garish (optional)
In a saucepan, stir together the chocolate milk, chili powder, jalapenos and 2 teaspoons of the salt until combined. Add the chicken thighs bone side down. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the chicken is tender, for 35 to 40 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, in a large saute pan over high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the zucchini and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini begins to caramelize and soften but does not turn to mush, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and keep warm until ready to serve.
Serve the chicken and zucchini warm over cooked grains, garnished with cilantro, if using.
Yield: 4 servings