Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables

Southwestern Braised Chicken thighs


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 peppers and no tomatoes.  Because of that, this dish 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


Kitchen Notes

The tomatoes – The other day I 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 was no tinny taste. Even though they have no added salt, they did have a perfect 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) were sweet and tomato-y which was very complementary with the spicy red chile powder. The consistency of these tomatoes was instrumental in creating a thick, smooth sauce – exactly what I wanted.   Now I can’t wait to use the chopped tomatoes. I might actually use those for a pasta 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 for this review of Pomi tomatoes.  The opinion expressed here is my own.

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 tomato.

The 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. It adds too much fat to the braise if you leave it on and, in my opinion, 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.

The 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, or a mix of several different chile powders, including a little cayenne. I use a mild to medium heat chile powder and with 2 Tbsp. – that is plenty of heat.  The type(s) of chile powder you use will dictate the overall flavor of the dish, so make sure you really the like the pepper.

The 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!

As far as what works best as the carbohydrate component, that’s a personal preference. Any of the ones I mentioned earlier – rice, grits, polenta or tortilla – 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.

This Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables recipe has been shared with Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Hearth and Soul, Michelle’s Tasty Creations, Made with Love Mondays   .


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75 Responses to “Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables”

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

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

  2. 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…

  3. 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! :-D

    • 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!

  4. 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. :)

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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. :D 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. :)

  8. 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

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

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

  10. 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.

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

    MJ, this looks fabulous!


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