Puebla Chicken and Potato Stew

This is so hearty and delicious!


2 lbs chicken thighs (with skin and bone)
6 cups water
1 large white onion, in large dice
2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 14oz can diced tomatoes in juice
4 tsp chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1-1/2 oz link dried chorizo, finely chopped
1 T vegetable oil
1 lb boiling potatoes
2 oz crumbed queso fresco, ricotta salata, or farmer cheese (1/2 cup)
Accompaniments: avocado slices; warm corn tortillas

Bring chicken, water, half of the diced onion and 1 tsp salt to a boil, covered, in a 4 to 5 quart pot over moderately high heat. Boil 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, reserving broth with onion. When cool enough to handle, coarsely shred chicken, discarding skin and bones. (Make this the day before and refrigerate to remove the fat)

Heat a dry well seasoned small cast iron skillet over moderate heat until hot, then brown garlic and remaining onion on all sides, turning with tongs, about 5 minutes. Peel garlic and transfer with onion to a blender. (I use the hand held kind) Add tomatoes with juice, chiles, and oregano, then puree until smooth.

Cook chorizo in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until fat is rendered, about 2 minutes. Carefully add puree (it will splatter and steam) and cook, stirring frequently, until thick, about 10 minutes.

Peel potatoes and cut into ¾ inch pieces, then add to reserved broth with remaining tsp salt. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Add potatoes and onions to chorizo mixture along with 2 cups broth (save remainder for another use) – I used all the broth! Stir in chicken and simmer 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with cheese and garnish with avocado slices and warm corn tortillas.