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Mexican chicken with roast squash rice and smoky tomato relish

  • Serves 6
  • Prep 45 mins
  • Total time 2 hrs 15 mins, plus marinating
2.6/5 rating (8 votes)
Mexican chicken with roast squash rice and smoky tomato relish
Mexican chicken with roast squash rice and smoky tomato relish

step by step

  • 1Start by making the marinade; set a dry frying pan over a medium-high heat and add both types of chilli flakes and the cumin seeds. Toast for just a minute or two; as soon as you smell their aroma wafting up from the pan, tip into a bowl and set aside. Lower the heat to a minimum, add the oil, and fry the onions for a good 15-20 minutes until soft and sweet. Stir in the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes. Turn up the heat then add the tomatoes and the toasted spices. Cook until soft and lightly caramelised, stirring frequently so that the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom, about 8-10 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar, and season well with salt and pepper. Tip into a mini food processor (or use a stick blender in a deep jug) and puree until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and set aside to go cold.
  • 2Take each chicken leg and use a sharp knife to make a few deep slashes through the meat where it is thickest to allow the marinade to soak in deeply, putting in a large shallow dish as you go. Spoon over the cold marinade, rubbing all over each leg (use gloves if you have sensitive skin) then cover with clingfilm and chill for a minimum of a few hours, or overnight.
  • Adobo is a spicy Mexican marinade – it’s best to allow the meat to marinate overnight for maximum flavour.
  • 3When you are ready to cook, add the rice to a large saucepan and cover well with plenty of cold water. Set aside to soak for an hour while you get on with the other elements. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6.
  • 4Scatter the squash in a single layer in a large roasting tin, tossing through 2 tablespoons of oil, along with the oregano and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then arrange the chicken legs on top and roast in the hot oven for 50-55 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the squash is tender. Stir the squash once or twice during cooking and turn the chicken legs over a couple of times too, just to make sure everything is roasting evenly.
  • 5Meanwhile, make the relish by adding the oil to a large pan and setting over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and starting to caramelise – about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and chipotle flakes and fry for another minute or two before adding the tinned tomatoes, sugar and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Allow to simmer uncovered until really thick and jammy, about 20 minutes. Keep warm until you are ready to serve.
  • 6Once the rice has soaked, drain really well and dry out the pan. Add another tablespoon of oil to the dry pan, and set over a high heat. Tip in the rice and stir well to coat and separate each grain. Pour in the chicken stock and bring up to the boil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and boil for just 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to rest undisturbed (don’t open the lid!) for another 13 minutes. Remove the lid and fork through the grains.
  • 7Once the chicken and squash are cooked, remove the chicken to a plate and set aside loosely covered in foil to keep warm. Tip the drained kidney beans into the roasting tin, along with the cooked rice and coriander and stir well until everything is mixed. Return to the oven for 5 minutes or so, just long enough to heat the beans through.
  • 8To serve, spoon the roast squash rice over a large serving platter and top with the chicken. Scatter with the spring onions, and serve with the tomato relish alongside.
  • Recipe Genevieve Taylor

    Photograph Toby Scott

Get ahead

Marinate the chicken overnight. Any leftover relish keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days.

You will need

  • 6 large chicken legs, about 250g each
  • 450g long-grain rice
  • 1 butternut squash, seeds removed but skin left on (about 1kg), chopped into 3cm cubes
  • 3 tbsp corn oil
  • about 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, or 2 tsp dried
  • 600ml fresh chicken stock
  • 400g kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • a generous handful of coriander, chopped
  • ½ bunch spring onions, finely sliced, to garnish

For the marinade

  • 1 tbsp ancho chilli flakes
  • 1-2 tsp chipotle chilli flakes, to taste
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp corn oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, chopped
  • 200g small vine tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar

For the smoky tomato relish

  • 1 tbsp corn oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes
  • 800g chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar

+ Nutritional Information