Subtle and complex in flavor, this chicken is elegant enough to serve company. Don’t be daunted by the long list of ingredients; the dish can be mad in only about an hour. It’s absolutely wonderful in warmed fresh corn tortillas with at topping of guacamole and sour cream; you might also serve it over rice or with a side dish of stewed beans.
1 (3 lb) broiler-fryer chicken, cut for frying or chicken breast or thighs
About 3 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons juice from pickled jalapeno chiles
1 cup ground almonds
1 large onion, quartered
6 to 8 leaves dark green lettuce (romaine, leaf lettuce or outer leaves of iceberg lettuce)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup flat-leaf parsley springs
1 large clove garlic
6 fresh or pickled jalapeno chiles, stemmed
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
Salt to taste, if desired
12 corn tortillas, warmed, or 3 to 4 cups hot cooked rice
Guacamole, if desired
2 cups sour cream, if desired
1. Place chicken in a single layer in a large pot. Pour in broth and jalapeno juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 35 to 45 minutes or until tender. Cool in cooking broth. Lift chicken from broth (reserve broth); discard skin and bones and tear meat in chunks.
2. If you need to grind the almonds, grind them in a blender, using a pulsing action. Then preheat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. When oil is hot, add the ground almonds and sauté until lightly tanned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
Then, to prepare the sauce, in a food processor or blender, add a cup of the reserved broth, then process onion, lettuce, cilantro, parsley, garlic, and jalapenos until quite smooth. Add additional chicken broth, a few tablespoons at a time, until mixture has the consistency of whipping cream. Set aside.
4. Add pureed sauce to the toasted almonds and heat and cook until the sauce is somewhat thickened. Taste and adjust flavors. Then add the chicken and simmer together 10 to 15 minutes or until flavors are blended and sauce is hot.
5. Serve in warmed tortillas or over rice, topped with guacamole and sour cream, if desired.
Note: For a slightly lower fat and calorie version, reduce the olive oil to 2 Tablespoon and the almonds to 2/3 cup – any less really affects the flavor and texture.