Pollo a la Valentina
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- 1 4-5 pound chicken cut into serving pieces
- 1 half of a white onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 4 to 5 large potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
- 1½ pounds ripe tomatoes
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons brine from the pickled jalapeños
- 5 tablespoons safflower oil divided
- 1 head romaine lettuce leaves rinsed and dried, thinly sliced
- 4 to 6 radishes halved, thinly sliced
- Pickled jalapeños and carrots
- Bolillos or birotes, homemade or store bought, to serve
- In a large pot, place the chicken pieces, along with the onion, garlic, bay leaves, and 2 teaspoons of the salt, and cover with water. Set over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce to medium heat, add the cubed potatoes and simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through and the potatoes are soft. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken into a strainer and let cool. Transfer the cubed potatoes into another strainer and let cool.
- In a medium saucepan, add the tomatoes and cover with water. Set over medium-high heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until completely cooked and soft. Transfer the tomatoes to the jar of a blender along with the oregano, pickled jalapeño brine, and the remaining teaspoon of salt and puree until smooth.
- Rinse and wipe dry the same saucepan used for the tomatoes and set over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, once hot, add the pureed tomato sauce and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes until darkened in color and thickened in consistency. Scrape onto a bowl.
- In a large non-stick saute pan set over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Once hot, dunk the potatoes into the tomato sauce, then place in the saute pan and fry for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until crisped and browned. Scrape onto a large platter and set aside.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the saute pan, and one by one, dunk the chicken pieces into the tomato sauce, then add to the saute pan. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes per side, flipping as need be, until completely crisped and browned. Place on the same platter as the potatoes.
- Reduce heat to medium, pour in the remaining tomato sauce and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, while it bubbles and thickens. Pour the thickened tomato sauce over the chicken and toss to coat.
- Serve with the potatoes, shredded lettuce, radishes and pickled jalapeños. Bring bolillos or birotes to the table to eat along with the chicken, sides and garnishes.