This stew is even better if made a day ahead and reheated. Add the lime juice and cilantro just before serving, and accompany the stew with a stack of warm corn tortillas.
Makes 6 servings
Preparation Time: 70 minutes
Note: You can use meat from a rotisserie chicken. Or, start with a 3-pound organic chicken, rinse chicken, put in a large pot and add water to cover by one inch. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so water is simmering. Simmer chicken until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove chicken from pot. When cool enough to handle, remove skin, pull meat from bones and shred into long strips. Discard bones and skin and measure out 3 cups shredded chicken. Reserve any extra meat for another use.
2 tablespoons cold expeller-pressed extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 whole dried ancho chili, stemmed, seeded and torn into large pieces
1 organic white onion, finely diced
3 cloves organic garlic
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
1 15-ounce can diced organic tomatoes, drained
4 cups organic chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds organic sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cups shredded organic cooked chicken (see Notes)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed organic lime juice
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When oil is hot, add chili pieces and cook until crisp and lightly toasted, 1 minute. Drain on paper towels, then finely chop and set aside.
2. Add onion and garlic to the now empty pan and cook until onions are softened and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in chili powder and cook one minute more. Transfer onion-garlic mixture to a blender or food processor, along with the tomatoes and remaining teaspoon salt. Process until smooth.
3. Put remaining tablespoon oil in same pot used to cook onion and garlic and heat over medium heat. Add tomato mixture and fry, stirring frequently, until mixture has the consistency of tomato paste, about 10 minutes. Pour in chicken stock, add sweet potatoes, cover, and cook until potatoes are just tender, about 8-10 minutes.
4. Stir in 3 cups reserved shredded chicken and lime juice and season to taste with additional salt. Just before serving, stir in cilantro and chopped ancho chili pieces.