I got a number of requests for a recipe for this dish, of which I posted a photo on FaceBook. Here it is:
What you’ll need:
4-6 whole chicken thighs, or any other parts of the chicken. (I used to be a breast man until recently, when I discovered how much tastier and juicier the thighs are.)
1 chayote, peeled and sliced (more, if desired; you can also use zucchini or yellow squash)
1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
Chicken broth, about 4 cups, or more.
1 bell pepper, sliced (if you’d like the dish to be a bit on the spicy side, use chiles poblanos, or jalapeños, with or without the seeds)
½ tomato (or 4-5 cherry tomatoes), sliced
½ cup sliced onion
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 dried avocado leaf (optional), ground up into small pieces
1 tbs flour
Salt and pepper
Fideo (vermicelli) or thin spaghetti (or any pasta, really)
Step Numero Uno:
Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper and leave it out at room temperature while you gather and prepare the rest of the ingredients, about 30 minutes. If you finish getting the stuff together in less time, pour yourself a drink and sip from it while you wait. What’s the hurry, really?
Step Numero Dos:
Place some olive oil in a large heavy skillet (one that has a lid) and turn the heat to medium. Wait a minute or so then place the chicken thighs in the pan in a single layer and cook until golden brown, 4-6 minutes, then turn the thighs and cook them the same amount of time.
Step Numero Tres:
Add the garlic and onion to the pan and cook for a minute or two, allowing the onion to become translucent. Add the bell pepper and continue to let it cook for another couple of minutes.
Step Numero Cuatro:
In about half la cup of hot water, dissolve the flour, making sure you have no lumps. Pour the mixture into the pan then add the chicken broth, enough to cover the veggies. Use more than four cups if you need to (you can add plain water if you run out of broth); it all depends on how much gravy you want to end up with.
Step Numero Cinco:
Add the tomato and cilantro and the spices. Stir well. Taste the broth and adjust the salt and spice levels to your taste. Stir some more and cover. Adjust the heat if necessary, to make sure the whole thing doesn’t boil over.
Step Numero Seis:
In a separate non-stick pan, add some olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the fideo, or whatever pasta you’re using, and stir constantly to prevent it from burning. When the pasta becomes a beautiful golden brown, dump all of it in the large pan with the chicken and veggies. Stir to mix it. (Note: I’m horrible at figuring out how much pasta is required to make the desired amount of cooked pasta, so you’re on your own here.)
Step Number Siete:
Cover the mixture with the lid and let it cook under low heat until the pasta reaches your desired consistency and until the chicken is cooked.
Note: if you want to add a bit of Italian flavor to this, add some sliced black olives.