A Taste of Travis: Chicken en Escabeche

Chicken en Escabeche

From Rick Bayless’s Frontera Restaurant

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2medium white onions, sliced 1/8-inch thick
  • 5large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • 2cups shiitake (or other full flavored) mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced 1/8-inch thick (optional)
  • 3cups chicken broth
  • 1/4cup cider vinegar
  • 2sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • 2sprigs fresh marjoram (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • A2-inchpiece of cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela
  • 1/2teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly and coarsely ground
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 4 pickled jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • Salt, about 1 teaspoon
  • 6 chicken breast halves (most of us choose boneless, skinless breasts, though bone-in and skin breasts on usually come out juicier—though they take longer to cook)
  • 1cup (4 ounces) tender green beans, steamed until crisp-tender (optional)



Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large (12-inch), deep skillet over medium-high. Add the onions, garlic and carrots; fry, stirring often, until onions are crisp-tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, broth, vinegar, thyme, marjoram, cinnamon stick, pepper, bay and cloves. Simmer, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, add the jalapenos, and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon. Pour into a wide baking dish (a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish works perfectly here).

Sprinkle both sides of the chicken liberally with salt. Wipe out the skillet, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil and set over medium heat. When hot, lay in the chicken in an uncrowded layer. Cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.

Transfer the chicken from the skillet to the baking dish, nestling the pieces into the escabeche (the brothy mixture should almost cover the chicken.) Let cool completely, about 1 hour; cover and refrigerate if not serving right away.

If using the optional green beans, add them to the escabeche. Taste and add more salt if necessary. If chilled, warm the dish to room temperature before serving. (You may want to remove the bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon if you’re looking for a less rustic presentation.) Garnish with sprigs of thyme and marjoram, if you have them.