Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables

Southwestern Braised Chicken thighs

[Jump to recipe]

This braised red chile chicken recipe might remind you somewhat of the Hungarian dish – Paprika Chicken. The paprika pepper that creates a rather spicy and rich tasting Paprika Chicken is similar to that produced by the red chile powder used in this dish.  However, that’s about as far as the similarities between the two dishes go. Paprika chicken uses cream or sour cream and is usually served over pasta, neither of which is the case here.

Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables is actually more of a southwestern dish with some Mexican components as toppings.  Instead of paprika I use New Mexico red chile powder and other traditional southwestern seasonings.  The base or sauce is created using strained or crushed tomatoes which, once cooked down, create a rich sweet and spicy sauce. Because of this rich sauce, this dish can be served over rice, grits or polenta, or with flour tortillas that can be used to scoop it up so that nothing goes to waste.

As you’ll see, the sauce is different from my normal red chile sauce that uses dried chile  and no tomatoes.  Because of that, braised red chile chicken is relatively easy to make with no prior preparations required.  It can be made in less that an hour, making it a nice dish for the middle of the week. Serve with a side salad and you have a delicious and healthy meal.


Braised Red Chile and Tomato Chicken thighs

Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables Recipe
20 mins
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins

Chicken and vegetables braised in a spicy New Mexico red chile sauce, served over rice or polenta.

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Chicken, Main Course, Meat Entree, Red Chile
Cuisine: New Mexico, Southwestern
Yields: 6 servings
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
  • 6 to 8 chicken thighs*
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil or canola oil
  • ½ large onion, minced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. mild to medium red chile powder*
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. liquid to deglaze (vermouth, brandy, tequila, water, stock)
  • 2 to 3 cups strained tomatoes* (6 or 8 thighs, respectively)
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper*, finely diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Green olive with pimentos, chopped
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Coarsely chopped Cilantro or Parsley
Cooked rice
  • 2 cups water or stock or a combination
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Start the rice
  1. Bring the water or stock to a boil.
  2. Add the rice, cover and bring back to a simmer.
  3. Reduce heat for a low simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is done.
Braised Chicken
  1. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs, rinse the thighs and pat dry.
  2. In a large skillet heat the oil over a medium heat. Once hot, add the thighs to the skillet. (You might need to cook the thighs in 2 batches depending on the size of your skillet.) Your oil should be hot enough for the chicken to sizzle when placed in the skillet. This helps to keep the chicken from sticking. I like to the use a spatula or tongs and move the chicken around a bit to keep it from sticking which can easily happen since the skin has been removed.

  3. Cook the chicken for 2 minutes per side and transfer to a plate.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the onion and garlic, and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the cumin and cook, stirring for another minute.
  5. Add the oregano and red chile powder. Stir for about 5 to 10 seconds then add the deglazing liquid. (Be sure not to go too long before adding the liquid before the chile powder can burn quite quickly.)
  6. Deglaze the pan, scraping up anything stuck to the bottom of the skillet.
  7. Add the tomatoes and red bell peppers.
  8. Return the chicken to the skillet. Pour all of the juice that has accumulated on the plate into the pan and stir.

  9. Bring to a low simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over, add the corn, cover and cook another 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from the heat and let sit covered, for about 5 minutes while you prepare the toppings.
  11. Chop the green olives and crumble the feta.
To plate,
  1. add a scoop of rice to the plate, top with a piece of chicken. Pour a little sauce over the chicken and rice and top with olives and feta. Enjoy!

Kitchen Notes

Amount of tomatoes for the sauce – When I make this with 6 pieces of chicken I only use 2 cups of strained or crushed tomatoes.  When using 8 pieces, 3 cups is needed in order to have enough sauce.  In both cases, the sauce is relatively thick, but I like it that way because it sticks to the chicken rather than runs off.  If you like a thinner sauce, you could always add a little more tomato.


Chicken – This recipe could be made with both dark and white meat.  I personally think that dark meat is better for braising, but that may just be my personal taste. As far as removing the skin, I always remove the skin when braising. The skin adds too much fat to the braise if you leave it on and, IMO, braised chicken skin is inedible. I need chicken skin to be really crispy with all of its fat rendered in order for me to eat it.


Chile powder – If you’ve been reading my blog at all, you know what I’m going to say here – there’s no substitute for New Mexico red chile powder. 🙂  Actually, if you don’t have any you can substitute other chile pepper powders such as paprika, a mix of paprikas (smoked and sweet), ancho powder, Serrano, or a mix of several different chile powders, including a little cayenne. I use a mild to medium heat chile powder which is plenty of heat for this dish.  The type(s) of chile powder you use does dictate the overall flavor of the dish, so make sure you really the like the chile powder.


Vegetables – If you don’t have a roasted red bell pepper, you could use a raw one.  Just minced it like you do the onion and add it at the beginning with the onion and garlic. If you don’t have corn, then do what a friend of mine did – add peas or add both corn and peas.


Rice or polenta - As far as what works best as the carbohydrate component, that's a personal preference. Rice, grits, polenta or flour tortilla all work great.  The main thing is that you need something to capture all of the sauce because you won't want a bit of it to be left on the plate.



Braised Red Chile Chicken


If you love braised, smothered chicken, then you should check out this other delicious meals.

Chicken Mole (Chicken Smothered in a New Mexico Red Mole)

Chicken Smothered in Chile de Arbol Pipián Sauce


Pomi Tomatoes

This first time I made this dish I had just received these two boxes of Pomi tomatoes – chopped and strained.Pomi tomatoes - chopped and strained I had never tried Pomi so I was excited to see how they compared to the organic canned tomatoes that I’ve been buying for years.  I was pleasantly surprised. Pomi is a 100% natural product with no additives and because they are packaged in a BPA-free recyclable box, there is no tinny taste. Even though they have no added salt, they still have a nice balance of sweet and salty which, I’ll have to assume, comes from the Italian tomatoes that are used.  The strained tomatoes (used for this dish) are sweet and tomato-y which is very complementary with the spicy red chile powder. The consistency of these tomatoes is instrumental in creating a thick, smooth sauce which is what you want with this dish.

Because the container is a box with no punch or pour spout, opening the box was a little tricky. I used scissors and just cut off the two flaps that folded down onto the side of the box, then cut along the top seam. This worked great and the tomatoes were easy to pour.


Disclaimer I received no compensation other than 4 boxes of tomatoes for this review of Pomi tomatoes.  The opinion expressed here is my own.



Tags: , ,

81 Responses to “Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables”

  1. Gabriella August 24, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

    I blog often and I seriously thank you for your information. Your article has really peaked my
    interest. I will book mark your website and keep checking for new information about
    once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  2. Daphne May 2, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    Good Evening MJ, Now here’s the thing, I have 6 chicken thighs in my freezer, and I was wondering how to cook them and you have solved the problem for me. I am going to be trying your recipe tomorrow as I just know my husband will love it. It will be slightly different as I cannot buy Mexican oregano, but I feel cooking is all about being adaptable and using what is available.
    Enjoy your weekend.
    Best Wishes

    • mj May 2, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

      Daphne – thank you SO much for your comment. I hope you and your husband enjoy this chicken dish! We love it! You are so right about cooking being all about adaptability. Bobby gets frustrated sometimes because I NEVER follow a recipe to a tee. Ha Ha Please let me know how you like the chicken. Thanks again!

  3. Jodee Weiland May 1, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    MJ, this recipe looks so delicious! I’ve never used Mexican oregano before, but I’ll be sure to look into it. I love the combination of flavors you’ve used here…thanks for sharing!

    • mj May 1, 2014 at 10:29 am #

      Thanks Jodee! Mexican oregano has a completely different taste from the regular oregano, probably because it’s a verbena and not really oregano. 🙂 It works great with chile flavors.

  4. Chris September 24, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    That looks very delicous and lovely. I want some of it.

  5. Javelin Warrior September 17, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Now this is a one-pot meal, MJ! Nothing boring or predictable about this chicken and I love the use of the red chile with the tomatoes and corn. This sounds perfect for cool fall evenings…

  6. Gomo | cHow Divine April 14, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    Oh my, this looks amazing! I LOVE chicken braised in thick, spicy sauces. And I have to agree with you on POMI. That’s the only brand of tomato products I use. I love that their products are BPA-free. Great recipe MJ! 😀

    • mj April 16, 2013 at 10:34 am #

      Thanks Gomo! I’m with you girl – the spicier the braise, the better! After this, I’m switching to Pomi. Loved them!

  7. Amber @ The Cook's Sister April 14, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    I wish I could get red chile here! I used to be able to get dried red chiles, but those seem to have disappeared from the stores. This chicken dish looks so amazing!

    • mj April 16, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      Thanks Amber! Bummer that you can’t get dried chiles! You can always order them online. I couldn’t live without them. 🙂

  8. April @ The 21st Century Housewife April 11, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    Your Braised Red Chile Chicken sounds wonderful – such a lot of warming and delicious flavours! I like the idea of using tomatoes instead of sour cream. I’ve never tried the Pomi tomatoes as I haven’t seen them here, but I do like using chopped and strained tomatoes rather than the chunky ones as my husband prefers them. I may have to tone the spice down for him (unless it’s curry, he doesn’t like it spicy!) but I know we’ll enjoy this dish 🙂

    • mj April 16, 2013 at 10:31 am #

      Thanks April! Now that I’ve use Pomi tomatoes, I doubt I will use another brand. I loved them. It’s easy to tone down this recipe. Just choose a mild chile powder of your choice. The flavor will be there without too much of the heat.

  9. Terra April 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    This is truly a recipe hubby and I would love! We love finding recipes that are fun to taste, and fun to make! I personally love that you used red chili powder, I like that spice more than paprika. Thank you for the fantastic recipe! Hugs, Terra

    • mj April 16, 2013 at 10:32 am #

      Thanks Terra! I love NM chile powder over paprika as well, but they both have their recipes. 🙂 Since you love spice, you will definitely love this!

  10. Nami | Just One Cookbook April 8, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    I first thought Paprika Chicken too, until you mentioned how different it is. I love that it’s simple to make! Your recipe is always so detailed and I even enjoy reading your notes section. 😀 I’ve never tried that Pomi brand tomato sauce but loved the package and now I remember to try when I see it.

    • mj April 8, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

      Thanks Nami! This really is a simple recipe and oh so tasty. I’m glad you benefit from the kitchen notes. Being an educator it’s kind of a natural for me to keep given instructions even when the class is over. 🙂

  11. Carole April 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Mj, I was actually trying to comment on your bell pepper dip but no comment form was showing up for some reason. I am glad you did the dip – fantastic that you are making your own – I get a bit lazy and buy them but then you worry about what preservatives etc they are using! That cheese sounds super. Cheers

  12. Kate@Diethood April 7, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    Ohmahgah! That would be the perfect Sunday dinner!! Beautiful job, MJ…as always!

  13. LinsFood April 7, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    Just my kind of dish MJ! Absolutely agree with you on the chicken, I love the taste of chicken thighs in any stew type dish.

  14. Viviane Bauquet Farre- Food and Style April 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    MJ, this looks fabulous!

  15. Adora's Box April 6, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Yummy! Lovely vibrant dish, MJ. Love the toppings for that extra level of flavour.

  16. Hotly Spiced April 5, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    This looks like a very yummy dish. It is very cold in Sydney today and we’ve had non-stop rain for over a week so a dish like this would be very welcome as this looks like great comfort food. I love how it includes olives and coriander xx

    • mj April 7, 2013 at 8:34 am #

      This is definitely one of those dishes that is perfect for your weather because it warms from the inside out. Thanks!

  17. David Scott April 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    Great recipe! Thanks for sharing; I am definitely going to try this. One thing though, I think is is preferable to add real powdered Chili from Hatch, New Mexico. Red Chili Enchiladas are my favorite! Here is a link to my favorite recipe for them:
    If you aren’t using real New Mexico Chili, you won’t get the best flavor.

    • mj April 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      Thanks David! Thanks for the link to the red chile enchiladas. I’ve never made a red chile sauce with powder until now and it turned out delicious. I usually use the dried chile pods. Totally agree with your last comment! 🙂 Enjoyed talking to you today.

  18. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles April 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    I think I may have to take a little trip to New Mexico just to get that red chile powder, don’t you think? ;-). Would I ever love to some day…

    So I’ve been admiring this gorgeous chicken for days – the picture is *so* fantastic – it can be a tricky thing capturing the spirit of a chicken 😉 and when you nail it, it’s just a thing of beauty is it not? Bien réussi. The braising method sounds very worthwhile – I took careful note of the method and I am going to give it a whirl. Thanks MJ!

    • mj April 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

      Kelly – you are welcome any time! You can order it online but the shipping costs might be as high as the cost of the chile. Thanks for your sweet comments as always! I hope you get to try this – maybe with a smoked paprika if you can find chile powder. It’s really good! 🙂

  19. Jennie @themessybakerblog April 4, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    This looks like some finger lickin’ good chicken. I love the spicy sauce.

  20. Soni April 3, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    Ooh I love dishes that are cooked in this manner!I find them super comforting and tasty with hot steaming rice or potatoes!Need to look out for Pomi tomatoes locally :)They sound like a great alternative to the canned version!

    • mj April 5, 2013 at 11:03 am #

      Thanks Soni! The Pomi are a great alternative to canned. I loved them!

  21. Dara April 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Yum. MJ this looks seriously delicious – I think i can smell this through my screen.

  22. Nancy/SpicieFoodie April 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    MJ I love how you took inspiration from Hungry, and made the dish into an international one with Mexican tones. The recipe sounds mouthwatering! Thanks for sharing and getting my tummy grumbling.:)

    • mj April 3, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

      Thanks Nancy! I do love fusion recipes. 🙂

  23. Sissi April 3, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    Frankly, MJ, if I were given a choice between your Chicle Chicken and Paprikas Chicken I have no idea what I would choose… I would have a big problem. This recipe looks fantastic! And I could use tequila to cook for the first time in my life!
    Is there anything special about Mexican oregano? I won’t find it here, but I’m curious.

    • mj April 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      Thanks Sissi! You know me – I love spicy, so I would definitely opt for the chile chicken. 🙂 You really don’t taste the tequila in this recipe because it’s used deglaze the pan and evaporates very quickly. In reference to Mexican oregano, it is actually a relative to lemon verbena. It has the basic pungent flavor of Mediterranean oregano, but it also has notes of citrus and mild licorice. It’s great in Mexican and Spanish dishes, whereas Italian oregano is great in pasta and pizza sauces. You can always order it online. 🙂

  24. wok with ray April 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    I like the substitution and use of red chili powder instead of paprika because It adds more heat. I will try that brand of tomato sauce if I can find it here in our area. Thank you, MJ 🙂

    • mj April 3, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

      Thanks Ray! Oh yep – the NM chile powder definitely adds more heat, but we love heat! 🙂

  25. Treat and Trick April 3, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    That fiery red sauce looks inviting! I need to try it…..

  26. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies April 3, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    I will have to check out those tomatoes! I try to avoid the canned ones now because of the BPA issue. That chile sauce looks amazing!

    • mj April 3, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

      Kiersten – you really do need to check out the Pomi tomatoes. They are really good!

  27. Reem | Simply Reem April 3, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    This chicken is screaming comfort!
    I love chicken/meat dishes smothered in sauce… Yum!

  28. Rita Bose April 3, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Looks so delicious!! Perfectly made and I love the addition of Pomi tomatoes! 🙂

  29. Liz April 3, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Oooh, great chicken dish! Perfect for a busy weeknight! And I have recently started using Pomi tomatoes, too…so sweet and yummy!

  30. Giulietta | Alterkitchen April 3, 2013 at 4:57 am #

    Wow, this looks amazing 🙂
    Pomì here is a classic, but I haven’t buy it for years (’cause I use my canned tomatoes) 🙂

    • mj April 5, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

      Thanks Giulia! This was the first time I had tried Pomi! They are common here, but I’m seeking a local source. Have a great weekend my friend!

  31. Tania @ A Perfect Pantry April 3, 2013 at 12:03 am #

    This looks so good. Yum.

  32. Food Jaunts April 2, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    Great Pomi review! Lol, I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggled with opening the box 🙂 Your dish looks awesome! I love a good braise, perfect for make ahead since the flavors always deepen. Gorgeous dish MJ.

    • mj April 3, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

      Thanks FJ! I definitely had to take a pause and lay out my strategy for opening up the box. But once I figured it out, it was easy. I’m with you – I love a good braise!

  33. Tessa April 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    Looks fabulous! I love the rich color of the tomato sauce and the combination of ingredients. Delish!

  34. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen April 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    This looks fantastic for our family, they love chicken dishes and having them prepared this way will be a great change from my usual recipes!

  35. ChgoJohn April 2, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

    I’m with you when it comes to Pomi tomatoes. Love that they are 100% tomato with no additives. This sounds like a very flavorful chicken dish, MJ, and chopped green olives would really make a great garnish. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • mj April 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      Thanks John! This is my first time using Pomi tomatoes and I believe that I have been converted. Now I just need to find a good source here in New Mexico.

  36. Debra April 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    Wow–this sounds so good. I have been wanting to braise a pork roast with red chili sauce! (I hear POMI too.)

    • mj April 2, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks Debra! Oh – a pork roast braised in red chile is awesome! You need to do it!

  37. Sharon | Chinese Soup Pot April 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    This sounds like a really delicious meal! I’m really glad that food companies are using bpa-free packaging. I typically avoid using canned items or foods packaged in plastic because I am concerned about bpa. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • mj April 2, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

      Thanks Sharon! I agree about the canned goods. Food definitely taste tinny which makes it suspicious to me.

  38. Choc Chip Uru April 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    I can almost smell this from here, delicious 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  39. Renee @ Tortillas and Honey April 2, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    This looks absolutely delicious! I love how you incorporated the NM red chile. I’m going to have to give this a try!

    • mj April 2, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

      Thanks Renee! Being a New Mexican, I know you’ll love this!

  40. Ramona April 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Mmmm.. this looks deep, rich and amazing. I could eat that whole pan. 🙂

  41. Swathi April 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    That is delicious spicy chicken Mj.

  42. john@kitchenriffs April 2, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    You’re right that there’s no substitute for New Mexico chile powder – it’s the best and what I use exclusively (Hatch medium most often). Great dish – a nice, substantial dish with loads of flavor. Definitely something I should try! Thanks so much.

    • mj April 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

      Thanks John! It’s good to hear that you are a NM chile powder lover as well. There’s nothing like it. Hope you get to try this. I think you and the Mrs. would love it.

  43. Raymund April 2, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    This is a nice recipes and if I will make mine I will definitely opt for really hot chillies. So drooling now.

    • mj April 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

      Thanks Raymund! This recipe would definitely hold up to really hot chillies! I use to could handle it really hot but have had to cut back a little on the heat. I know go more for the flavor instead of the sweaty forehead. 🙂

  44. Nads April 2, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    Now this looks like something Jim would scarf-up on! I have a braised chicken thigh/leg dish that I make that is a quick and easy. It too goes over rice – it’s a Southern thing. This looks a lot better. I will definitely be making this one soon.

    • mj April 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

      Thanks Nads! yes – I think the rice is a southern thing. Bobby and I both like serving thing over rice and grits for that matter. Hope you get a chance to make it. I think you all would love it.

  45. Judy @Savoring Today April 2, 2013 at 7:50 am #

    This is a dish my husband would really love … wondering how it would work with the new aleppo chile powder I just bought. Hmm. YUM!

    • mj April 2, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

      Thanks Judy! I’m sure it would work great with Aleppo. I made a similar dish the other nigh with Aleppo flakes and paprika. It had a great flavor.

  46. Asmita April 2, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Hi MJ,
    This dish looks so comforting. I love the bright red color of the chicken. Never used Mexican oregano. Would love to try out this recipe. Looks fantastic!

    • mj April 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

      Thanks Asmita! Mexican oregano is quite different from Italian oregano. Hope you can find some so you can give it a try.

  47. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef April 2, 2013 at 7:29 am #

    Dishes like this of slow cooked meat smothered in a blanket of sauce just send me over the culinary edge. or nirvana. nirvana works too 🙂

    • mj April 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

      Thanks Maureen! I totally agree! The flavors just meld together. So good!

  48. Amy (Savory Moments) April 2, 2013 at 4:47 am #

    This chicken dish looks so flavorful and really quite delicious!

  49. Katerina April 2, 2013 at 4:07 am #

    That scooping of this delicious chicken with corn tortillas has suddenly stuck on mind and doesn’t leave. I love the idea and the meal!

    • mj April 2, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

      Thanks Katerina! I love scooping with a tortilla as well! We always have corn and flour tortillas in this house. 🙂


  1. Grilled Cheese with Urfa Biber Chile | MJ's Kitchen - September 20, 2014

    […] the heat for a medium hot chile flake.  I substituted these for red chile powder in my Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetable dish. It added a sweet smokiness which was […]

  2. Chicken and Vegetables Smothered in Chile de Arbol Pecan Sauce | MJ's Kitchen - March 23, 2014

    […] Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables […]

  3. Southwestern Pork Stir Fry | MJ's Kitchen - October 10, 2013

    […] Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables […]

  4. New Mexico Red Chile | MJ's Kitchen - July 31, 2013

    […] Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables […]

I love hearing from my visitors, so please leave a comment. Thanks for dropping by!