Are you familiar with Mexican mole sauces? Well, this is not it. It goes in that direction, but it is much, much simpler. Moles are notoriously complex to make, requiring hours of simmering and a long list of ingredients. This sauce is very simple by comparison. I was inspired by a few recipes from Pati Jinich of PBS fame, and cooked it under pressure. You can use an Instant Pot or simply braise it for a longer time.

(inspired by Pati Jinich)

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup pecans
4 prunes
2 pasilla dried chilis, stemmed and seeds removed
1 medium shallot, peeled, cut in half
1 cup strained tomatoes (I used Pomi)
salt and pepper to taste

Start by making the sauce. Add the dried pasillas to a super hot skillet and dry cook them on both sides until they get soft and fragrant. Reserve. Broil the shallot or dry roast it in the pan together with the pepper.

Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan, add the pasillas, broiled shallots, pecans, and prunes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the contents of the pan to a high-power blender (I used a Vitamix), and process until full smooth.

Heat the oil in your pressure cooker or instant pot, season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and brown them on both sides, four pieces at a time. Remove to a bowl as they are done. When they are all browned, remove the excess oil from the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon behind. Add the chicken back to the pressure cooker, pour 1 cup strained tomatoes and 1 cup of the pasilla sauce. Close the pan, bring to full pressure and cook for 20 minutes. Release the pressure (quickly is ok), and if needed, simmer down the sauce. Adjust seasoning, and serve with your side dishes of choice, or shred the meat and wrap in tortillas.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: We both loved this take on chicken thighs. You can serve this with rice and beans, you can serve it with tortillas and some salsa, but I opted for a simple sweet potato puree and broccoli. The sauce is super flavorful, so it will go well with pretty much any side dish you want: couscous, rice pilaf, even pasta or polenta. Don’t worry, call it fusion cuisine. The pasilla-pecan sauce will make more than you need for this recipe, so you can freeze it for later.

If you don’t own a pressure cooker, just brown the meat, add the sauce, cover tightly and simmer gently until cooked through, probably 50 minutes or so, depending on how tender you like it. I have not tried it with chicken thighs on the bone and with the skin on, but if you brown the skin well, I don’t see any problems. It will have a lot more fat in the end, though.

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Mix a few ingredients, marinate the chicken. Grill. Done. It will go into our rotation, which tells you how much we loved it. Spicy to the right level. Sweet to the right level. Tender and moist.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons Gochujang sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste

Mix all ingredients for the marinade, whisking them well. Add the pieces of chicken and move them around to coat each piece with the marinade. Leave it in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

Sprinkle a little more salt on the pieces of meat and grill until done, about 7 minutes per side, depending on how hot your grill gets.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Two of my best buddies are Gochujang and Sriracha. I like to drizzle Sriracha over turkey burgers or other things ready to eat, but Gochujang I prefer to cook with. I find it a bit too strong on its own. In this marinade it is the dominant flavor, but unless you really dislike spicy food, it is not overpowering. I was quite amazed by how tasty leftovers turned out even when tortured fora couple of minutes in the microwave. We had them with air-fried zucchini (which I did not do a good job, over-crowded the basket and they turned out mushy), and British-style roasted potatoes (Sally pats herself on the back, they were perfect).

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This is a pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) recipe. I am afraid that to get the texture of the meat and depth of flavor in the sauce just right, you’ll need to use it. Also, don’t be tempted to keep the skin on the chicken thighs, because they will make the sauce very fatty and heavy. So take a deep breath and remove it.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium shallots, minced
4 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tsp kashmiri chili
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
5 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup yogurt, full-fat
1 tsp cornstarch
fresh cilantro, to serve

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker (or your Instant Pot using the sauté function), add the shallots, cardamon pods, cinnamon stick and salt. Cook until the shallots are soft and fragrant. Add the ginger, tomato paste, chili, cumin, and paprika. Cook for about 1 minute, add 1 cup of water, gently stir, then add the chicken pieces.

Close the pan and cook in full pressure for 12 minutes, then let the pressure reduce naturally for 15 minutes. Release any pressure left (running water over the lid or doing whatever method is called for in the Instant Pot), open the pan and remove the chicken pieces to a serving bowl, keeping it tented with foil. Remove the cinnamon stick and cardamon pods, then reduce the sauce by simmering for 10 to 15 minutes. Mix the yogurt with cornstarch, add to the simmering sauce, return the chicken to the pan, and simmer it all together for a few minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Sprinkle fresh cilantro. Serve over rice or with your favorite side dish.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Kashmiri chili is a great spice, with subtle heat and unique flavor. The pressure cooker does a wonderful job tenderizing the meat and allowing the sauce to develop that complex taste usually reserved for things cooked for hours and hours. Adding a little amount of cornstarch to the yogurt prevents it from separating during simmering, and gives a velvety texture I am quite fond of. If you rather not use it, whisk the yogurt as you pour it into the pan, and avoid cooking for very long. The sauce will be obviously a lot thinner, but still taste wonderful.

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Sometimes a recipe intrigues me. I am not sure I will like it, or might have issues with the method of preparation, but something tells me I must give it a try. I saw this one at chinasichuanfood, placed an order for the fermented black beans (featured in my latest In My Kitchen post), took a deep breath and went to work. We simply loved it! Plus, it gave me a totally new use for the pressure cooker, exploring the steam setting. Do you need a pressure cooker to make it? No, you don’t. But it gave a delicious, velvet texture to the meat. We ate like kings. Or maybe I should say emperors.

(adapted from chinasichuanfood)

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in small pieces
1 Tablespoon sherry wine (or Chinese cooking wine)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce sauce
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 spring onions
5 slices of ginger
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons fermented black beans, finely minced
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
shiitake mushrooms, amount to taste, or a mixture of mushrooms
sesame oil and soy sauce to finish

Make a marinade with the sherry, soy sauce, hoisin, salt and black pepper. Add the chicken pieces, mix well, add the spring onions and ginger pieces. Place in the fridge for several hours.

Discard the spring onion and pieces of ginger. Add the cornstarch to the meat and gently mix. Place the mushrooms in the bottom of a steamer, then add the chicken on top. Spread the fermented black beans all over the chicken pieces. Heat the oil until it is starting to smoke. Pour immediately over the fermented beans, it will sizzle.

Steam the whole mixture of mushroom and meat for 15 minutes. If using a pressure cooker, add enough water (a little over 1 cup) in the pan to make sure it will have enough to steam for the required time.

Remove the meat from the steamer and serve, drizzling a bit of sesame oil and soy sauce.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I used 6 pieces of chicken and that was the maximum amount my steamer would hold. It was enough for our dinner and we had leftovers that I claimed for my lunch next day. The texture of the meat is perfect for my taste. I normally prefer to stir-fry breast meat, saving the thighs for the grill, but steaming is a real game-changer. Once again, not the type of recipe that will win beauty contests, but the flavor was fantastic. It will definitely go into our regular rotation. You can go into the original website and watch a nice video of the whole preparation.

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Two types of citric fruits, loads of herbs, fingerling potatoes, all slow-roasting together… Great dinner, fit for company if you so desire…

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

8 chicken things, bone-in, skin-on
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 whole lemons, one juiced and one sliced
2 whole oranges, one juiced and one sliced
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1 to 2 tsp salt
fingerling potatoes, cut in half

In a small bowl, make the marinade by whisking the oil with sugar, juice of lemon and orange, herbs, and 1 tsp of salt. Place the chicken thighs in a large bag or shallow dish, and pour the marinade all over. Leave it in the fridge for several hours.

Heat oven to 350F. Place chicken pieces in a large baking dish, skin side down. Pour the whole marinade over the pieces. Season the chicken with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Add pieces of fingerling potatoes all around the chicken, and the thin slices of orange and lemon all over them.

Bake covered with aluminum foil for about 1 hour. Remove foil, flip the pieces and increase the temperature to 425F. Roast for another 20 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. If desired, run it under the broiler for a couple of minutes, I did not have to do that.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Sometimes it is not easy to get intense flavor on roast chicken when you use a marinade, but this one did a very good job. I am partial to a two-stage roasting, first being gentle and then finalizing with high heat, because to me that produces the best possible texture in the meat and at the same time crispy skin. The fingerling potatoes turn it into a pretty complete meal, although if you are super hungry, couscous could go pretty well as a side dish.

These days, with temperatures getting higher and higher – just the way I love – I am partial to a simple refreshing salad. In this case, lettuce, grape tomatoes, and hard-boiled eggs. A lemony vinaigrette, and that was all…

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