Southwest chicken with chipotle cream sauce

Bone-in chicken is an affordable cut, and makes the meat more moist and flavorful. Pop the chicken in the oven, then whip up a spicy chipotle sauce for this easy weeknight dish.

A Palatable Pastime
Bone-in chicken smothered with a creamy, hot chipotle sauce and cheese.

This is an older recipe of mine that I developed back in 2002. I remember having some extra chipotle peppers (canned) that I wanted to use up, and wanting to find something different to do with chicken on the bone.

I love bone-in chicken! It is so economical and the bone actually helps keep it moist and provides extra flavor! (It is from the bones that chicken broth is made, after all). Back in those days, when I would see cooking shows, it always irked me that chefs would go out of their way to get rid of the bone every single time. And I hate to differ with them, but why? It isn’t going to go over well on main street. People who work aren’t going to want to debone a chicken leg, keeping the skin on and stuffing it with whatever. (I am looking at you, Emeril LaGasse!) There just isn’t time.

What I love about this is that you pop the chicken in the oven, and while it bakes, you get the sauce together. After the chicken and sauce is done, you can add the cheese and melt it, but not even the cheese is mandatory. It is good without!

So after the oven is heated, I can’t imagine this not being ready in 45 minutes, most of that just waiting for the chicken to get done. Pretty simple, really. So put your boning knife away and enjoy some very pedestrian albeit slightly spicy (and delicious) cooking made with the working man and woman in mind.

Southwest chicken with chipotle cream sauce
Serves 4

3 lbs. chicken legs with thigh

3/4 cup milk

3 canned chipotle chiles

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sour cream

8 ounces queso cheese, or other Mexican melting cheese

Minced chipotle chile (to garnish; optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Place chicken in an ovenproof baking dish, and place in preheated oven, and bake for 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine milk, canned chipotles, garlic, cumin, onion powder, and salt in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Heat butter and flour in a large skillet and blend until smooth; add pureed mixture, heavy cream and sour cream, whisking until smooth. Stir in chipotle puree, and stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil and thickens; remove from heat.

4. After chicken has baked 25 minutes, remove from oven and drain any fat. Pour chipotle cream over chicken and top with grated queso cheese. Replace chicken in oven and bake for about 20 minutes more, or until cheese just starts to brown.

5. Remove from oven and serve with extra sauce spooned over chicken and garnished with minced chipotle chiles, if desired.

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