Sweet and smoky Mexican chicken


  • 2 medium red peppers
  • 3 small cinnamon sticks, freshly ground (or, failing that, 1½ tbsp ground cinnamon)
  • 4 chipotle chillies, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes, drained, seeds and stalks removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2½ tbsp white wine vinegar 
  • 2½ tsp soft brown sugar
  • 75ml olive oil 
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1.75kg whole chicken legs (ie with both drumsticks and thighs), skin-on
  • 20g dark chocolate, finely grated 
  • 650g baby maris peer potatoes (or other roasting potato), peeled and halved
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 2cm x 6cm wedges
  • 2 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 10g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Sweet and smoky Mexican chicken
    Serves six to eight

Chicken meets chocolate in this rich and distinctive dish.

  1. Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6. Put the peppers on a baking tray and roast for 30 minutes, until the skin has blackened. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with cling-film and set aside. Once cool enough to handle, peel the peppers, and discard the skins, seeds and stalks. Put the pepper flesh in the small bowl of a food processor, and add the cinnamon, chilli, garlic, vinegar, sugar, three tablespoons of the oil, a teaspoon and half of salt and three tablespoons of water. Blitz for a minute, until smooth, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the chicken legs and chocolate, and mix to coat.
  2. Put both types of potato in a separate large bowl with the onions, the remaining oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix well, combine with the chicken, then tip everything on to a large 30cm x 40cm baking tray. Arrange the chicken skin-side up and roast for about 50 minutes, until the chicken and vegetables are cooked and nicely coloured. Serve at once, with coriander sprinkled on top.