Channeling Bayless

I am a huge Bayless fan. But let’s put things in perspective here. Emily & Jenn are ginormous fans. If Emily isn’t waxing poetic about Smitten Kitchen, she’s doing it about Bayless. And Jenn, I mean, just look at one of her recent Bayless concoctions! The two of them even started a ‘Bayless Fest’ where they get together and cook Bayless-inspired dishes. I, regretably, am not that hardcore, although I could probably eat at Xoco every single day with no other food in the world and die a happy girl.

You wouldn’t know I wasn’t hardcore by this picture, wouldya? It’s practically like Rick and I are BFF, right? But honestly, this was taken during Xoco’s opening night, as we went following our last class in culinary school. We used that specific reason as an excuse to allow him to get his picture made with us :). I’m sure it was one of many photos he was part of that day, but despite his possible annoyance, he smiled, introduced himself (as if that were needed), congratulated us, and was super genuine. Meanwhile, I was sweating like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, and trying my damndest to contain myself.

I will admit though, that I haven’t been to Topolobampo, despite trying. Maybe it isn’t as hard as getting a reservation at Schwa, but you do have to allow plenty of advance planning; one week simply will not do. And if you’re thinking going sans reservation, plan on waiting 2-3 hours. Both reasons are how we ended up at Xoco a few weeks ago and at Epic during Cheryl & Luke’s visit, not that I’m complaining or anything – both were scrumptious, just not my first choice.

And so, in light of my unsatiable Bayless hankering, I took matters into my own hands and pulled Mexican Everyday from my cookbook stash atop my refrigerator.

Mexican Everyday is a great weeknight go-to, and is loaded with quick, fairly easy recipes. This one, however, is better for a weekend, but even easier than the weeknight recipes. It’s just that you gotta break out the slow cooker for the afternoon, which is a bit difficult if you’re a full-time worker, like yours truly. But you dump the stuff in, and you move away. You come back, hours later, to an ultra-tender, perfectly balanced one pot wonder.

Chicken a la Veracruzana
Adapted from Mexican Everyday; serves 6

this is a great dish to make over the weekend because it makes the whole house smell like Bayless. as you can see, i used olives in the pictures (as per the recipe), but i should know better, since i hate them. I’d leave them out b/c it makes the dish too salty. instead, add a little extra parsley and maybe a squeeze of lime juice, if you want.

printable version

4 medium red-skin potatoes cut into slices (~1.5 lbs)
6 whole chicken legs, skinless (I left on)
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, fire-roasted, cut into small chunks
4-6 pickled jalapenos, cut into strips
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t dried thyme
1/8 t g cloves
1/4 t g cinnamon
salt to taste
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley + more for garnish

special equipment: slow cooker

spread potatoes over bottom of slow cooker and top with chicken.

in a medium bowl, toss together the tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, Worcestershire, and spices. Pour oven chicken. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours; keep warm until ready to serve.

transfer chicken to platter (it will literally fall off the bone, so be careful). mix in parsley and adjust seasonings. spoon over chicken and garnish with more parsley.