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Roast Chicken with Ancho Chile Rub

A cast-iron Dutch oven filled with a deeply roasted chicken, flanked by a bag of potato chips.
Every cuisine has an iconic roast chicken dish. In our family, this ancho rubbed pot chicken is our stress-free Sunday lunch. It comes with a healthy coleslaw and a big bag of (less healthy) good-quality crisps.
Edson Diaz-Fuentes

Prep 1 hr
Cook 1 hr 20 mins
Total 3 hrs 30 mins
Entree
Mexican
4 servings
159 kcal

Ingredients 

For the ancho dry rub

  • 1 ounce dried ancho chiles trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soft brown sugar

For the chicken

  • 1 large orange
  • 1 (3 pound 5 ounce) whole chicken
  • 3/4 ounce fresh ginger root peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 1/2 ounces Ancho Dry Rub
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the orange coleslaw dressing

  • 6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dark agave syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 ounce red onion peeled and thinly sliced

For the coleslaw

  • 1/4 (10 oz) red cabbage
  • 1/4 (10 oz) white cabbage
  • 2 (7 oz) carrots peeled
  • 1/2 chayote* (mirliton) (or substitute a medium zucchini)
  • 1/4 ounce fresh cilantro leaves

To serve

  • A large package of chips–or 2!

Directions 

Make the ancho dry rub

  • On a comal or in a non-stick skillet over medium to high heat, toast the chiles until soft and pliable, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn them or they'll become bitter. Let cool.
  • In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the fennel and coriander seeds until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool.
  • Place the toasted chiles, fennel and coriander seeds, cinnamon, salt, and sugar in a molcajete (or coffee grinder or mortar and pestle) and crush until finely ground. Pour the mixture into a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Prepare the chicken

  • Juice the orange and dump the juice into a bowl. Place the squeezed orange halves inside the cavity of the chicken. Grate half the ginger and 2 of the garlic cloves into the orange juice. Place the remaining ginger and garlic in the cavity of the chicken (no need to grate them).
  • Stir the ancho dry rub and olive oil into the mixture in the bowl to create a thick marinade, a bit thinner than a paste. (You may not need all of the oil). Spread the marinade over the chicken and massage it both over and under the skin. Move the chicken to the refrigerator and marinate for at least one hour, or overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Place the chicken in a heavy casserole dish or Dutch oven fitted with a lid. Cover and bake for 1 hour, then reduce the oven temperature to 340°F (170°C), uncover, and bake until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. To check that the chicken is cooked, insert a digital thermometer in the thickest part of the leg. It should register 165°F (74°C). If you don’t have a thermometer, pierce the chicken where one of the legs joins the body. If the juices run clear, the chicken is done. If not, cook for 10 minutes more and test again. Once cooked, remove the chicken from the casserole dish and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Make the orange coleslaw dressing

  • While the chicken is cooking, prepare the coleslaw dressing. In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients together.

Make the coleslaw

  • Thinly slice both cabbages and place in a large bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, shred the carrot and chayote (or zucchini) into thin ribbons and add to the bowl. Toss in the cilantro leaves.
  • Pour the dressing over the coleslaw and mix gently. Leave to infuse while the chicken is resting. Before serving, taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Carve the chicken and serve with the coleslaw and chips.

Notes

*What is chayote?

A member of the squash family, like zucchini, pumpkin, and cucumber, chayote is common in most parts of Latin America. Used extensively in South American cooking, it's most often cooked, but used raw when marinated with citrus juice or vinegar. It has a fairly mild, cucumber-like taste and makes a terrific addition to salsas, salads, and coleslaw. Availability in North America is improving.