Paul’s Venezuelan Chocolate Chile Chicken


  • 1 tablespoon  olive oil
  • chicken thighs, preferably organic
  • chicken drumsticks, preferably organic
  • large shallots, chopped finely
  • cloves garlic, chopped finely
  •   Juice and zest of 3 oranges
  •   One 14 ½-ounce can tomatoes, chopped
  • fresh red chiles, seeded and minced
  • 2 teaspoons  dried pure ground ancho chile (or any other dried mild chiles, ground in a spice grinder)
  • 1 tablespoon  coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon  dark muscovado sugar
  • 5 1/2 ounces  Venezuelan dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup  cilantro leaves, torn coarsely

There are very many versions of chocolate chile chicken, but I chose to include this one as it’s fantastically quick and easy to make. I can’t promise it’s authentic, but it does have the wow factor, and the Venezuelan chocolate adds a deep rich glossy finish and flavor.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a casserole dish over medium-high heat and brown the chicken pieces in batches. Set aside on a plate. Add the shallots and garlic and stir until softened, about 1 minute. Pour in the orange juice and zest and stir up the browned bits in the casserole.

Add the tomatoes with their juices, fresh and dried chiles, coriander seeds, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Cover with a lid and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, lift out the chicken, and stir the chocolate into the remaining sauce. Return the chicken to the casserole, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve with the sauce smothered over the chicken.

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