Pollo en Chicha

     Welcome to this months Improv Cooking Challenge! This month we are cooking with Carrots and Cinnamon. I was super excited for this challenge because I knew I wanted to do something savory. I have made savory dishes before that included both of those elements. First it was Molha, a delicious and warming beef stew from the Azores. My second dish was Bo Kho, another beef stew, this time from Vietnam. This dish from El Salvador, via Bon Appetit magazine, is made with chicken. I am so happy to add it to my repertoire, my family all loved it, and my husband decided he has a new favorite food. Something he hasn't changed in almost a decade. 

     Chicha is a lightly fermented pineapple drink that is hard to find. The Chef in Bon Appetit has a sub for that that I loved. I generally don't cook with alcohol and it involved my favorite vinegar trick. Try it, you will love the sweet savory sauce that is slightly sticky and so amazing with rice or flatbread. And the cinnamon aspect, If you are looking for that, it's in the spice mix.

October Improv Cooking Challenge

Carrots & Cinnamon
Pollo en Chicha
12 chicken thighs
2 Tbsp. oil
3 large carrots, cut in half lengthwise
1 large onion
10 cloves garlic
1/4 c. relajo seasoning 
1/2 tsp. crush red pepper flakes
1 c. apple cider vinegar
2 c. pineapple juice
8 prunes, cut in half
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 chicken bouillon cubes

Fresh oregano leaves, green onions, sliced chilis, sesame seeds, pepitas

Preheat the oven to 375*F. 

Heat the oil in a large cast iron pot. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken on at least two sides and remove from the pan.

Add the onion to the pan and leave, without stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir slightly and add the carrots. Cook, moving slightly without stirring, until the onions start to brown. 

Add the garlic, relajo seasoning, and red pepper flakes to the pan and continue stirring for 1 minute. Turn the heat up to high and add the vinegar. Cook until reduced, and less acidic. this takes about 5 minute. Add the pineapple juice, brown sugar, and prunes and cook again until reduced slightly. Add the bouillon cubes. 

Nestle the chicken in to the pan, making sure the carrots are around the chicken but not under it. Ladle liquid over any chicken not submerged. Cover and place in the oven. Allow to cook for 1 hour. Serve topped with oregano, green onions, chilis, sesame seeds, and pepitas. 


  1. The flavors in this are something I would love, my DH, not so much. I may just have to make it for myself one night anyway.

  2. Looks so delicious, like the metho of cooking it in the oven.


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