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Chicken Cutlets with Ancho Orange Sauce

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Chicken Cutlets with Ancho Orange Sauce

Chicken Cutlets with Ancho Orange Sauce
New Media Publishing / Photography: Flat Art / Stylist: Abigail Donnelly
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total prep
By Kemp Minifie
It's no wonder that ancho chiles are the most commonly found dried Mexican chiles in supermarkets these days. They are easy to use, aren't too spicy, and provide a warm, sun-baked flavor as well as substantial body to a sauce. When you buy the chiles, they appear so dark--almost black--that it's hard to believe they'll transform themselves into a gorgeous brick red puree.



  • Wipe chile with a damp cloth, then slit open and discard stem, seeds, and ribs. Break or tear into small pieces and put in a small deep bowl. Pour boiling hot water over chile and let stand until softened, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer chile mixture to a blender and puree with onion, garlic, and cumin until smooth. (Add a little more water if mixture is too thick to puree easily.)
  • Arrange cutlets in 1 layer on a tray or baking sheet and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a 12-inch heavy skillet (not non-stick) over moderately high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat bottom. Cook chicken in batches (don't crowd pan), turning once or twice, until just cooked through (adjust heat lower as necessary to keep bits on bottom from burning and add another tablespoon oil if pan begins to look dry in subsequent batches), 2 to 3 minutes total per batch.
  • Transfer chicken as cooked to a platter and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.
  • Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Add chile puree (it will splatter) and cook, stirring, until thickened and oil begins to separate out from mixture, about 3 minutes. Stir in orange juice, chicken juices that have accumulated on platter, and salt to taste and simmer 1 minute to blend flavors. (Sauce should be just thin enough to pour but thick enough to coat chicken nicely. Adjust, if need be, by simmering to thicken, or thinning with additional water.)
  • Spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with cilantro.