Cookware: A heavy, 12-inch, anodized or non-stick skillet add:

3 Tbsp. butter

2 onions chopped fine

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. all purpose flour

Cookware: The same skillet used for the chopped onions:

1/3 cup unsalted butter

6 skinless chicken thighs, bone in

1 shaker of kosher or sea salt

1/2 cup chili powder

Cookware:: A 4-quart Dutch oven with tight-fitting lid:

1 (16 oz) jar chunky salsa

3 cans Rotel tomatoes with chilies

1 large can chicken broth

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Zest of a fresh lime + juice

6 slices Pepper Jack or Baby Swiss cheese

1 bunch cilantro, minced

First, take a 12-inch anodized or non-stick skillet and place it on the stovetop over a medium-high fire. Then melt down the butter and just when it sizzles saute the onions and garlic sprinkled with the flour until the onions wilt and soften.

Next, remove the seasoning vegetables from the skillet and set them aside for a while. But then in the same skillet prepare to thoroughly brown the chicken thighs. What you do is place them on a sheet of waxed paper on the countertop, season them lightly with a sprinkle of salt and chili powder all over, drop them into the hot unsalted butter, and saute them until they turn a beautiful bronze color.

Now while that's happening and when all the separate procedures have been completed, take the 4-quart Dutch oven and combine the salsa and the Rotel tomatoes with the sauteed onions. This is also the time to add to the pot the chicken broth, ground cumin, lime zest and juice, and half of the cilantro.

Finally, when all these ingredients are coming up to heat, take a large, high-sided baking pan, and transfer to it the salsa/tomato mixture. Then place the browned chicken thighs (in fact, it's okay if you bury them) in the salsa sauce, cover the pan tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil, and bake the chicken for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

After the allotted time, open the oven, remove the foil, and continue to bake this time uncovered for another 20 minutes or so (or until the chicken appears to be falling off the bone)!

All that's left now is to take the pan from the oven once more, top each thigh with a slice of cheese and a slice of tomato, return them to a warm oven, and let the tomatoes soften and the cheese melt.

Finally, when it's time to serve up the dish, place a bed of yellow rice in the center of a dinner plate, spoon out one or two thighs, cheese, tomato slices, and tomato salsa on top the rice, and garnish the entire presentation with a sprinkling of the minced cilantro. I suggest you serve up this recipe with a side of buttered, tender-crisp asparagus.

Amigos, you don't need to be Hispanic to fall in love with this dish!


Yellow Rice:

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 cup prepared seasoning vegetable mixture

1 cup yellow or long grain white rice, raw

2 cups canned chicken broth

2 tsp. turmeric (if using white rice)

First, in a 4-quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until it begins to lightly smoke. Then immediately drop in the vegetable mixture (onions, celery, garlic, bell pepper, green onions, parsley) and saute it until everything is soft and wilted.

The next thing to do is stir in the rice until it becomes fully combined with the vegetables. Then pour in the chicken broth stirring all the while and bring it to a boil.

When that happens, quickly reduce the flame to 'very low,' put the lid tightly on the pot, and simmer the rice for about 15 to 18 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Then finish off the procedure by fluffing the grains with a fork when the rice is cooked.

Hint: If the rice grains are still firm after the 15 minute cooking time and all the broth has been absorbed, add a touch more broth (or water), recover the pot, and continue to cook for several more minutes until the rice is fluffy and tender. On the other hand, let's say the rice is virtually cooked but there is still an excess of liquid in the pot. In that case all you do is leave the rice on a low fire and continue to simmer it uncovered! until all the liquid evaporates.


Chef's Note: Use the turmeric in this recipe only if you're using white rice instead of yellow. To reach the desired color density, simply add the turmeric to the boiling water right as the rice is added to the pot.