DRUNKEN CHICKEN (POLLO BORRACHO)
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ½ cup tequila, heated
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
- about 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts or tenders, sliced into strips
- ½ cup corn oil or other vegetable oil
- 1 medium-size onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup blanched whole almonds
- 1 cup whole pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1½ cups Chicken stock
- 1 cup tequila (preferably Sauza or Herradura)
- 1/3 to 1 cup white vinegar (see note below)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Place the raisins in a small bowl and pour the hot tequila over them. Let sit at least 20 minutes to soften the raisins.
Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a flat plate or dish. Roll the chicken pieces in the flour to coat evenly. Allow to rest.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until not quite smoking. Fry the chicken pieces until well browned on the outside but not cooked within. Work in batches or with two skillets if you don't have one big enough to hold all the pieces comfortably.
Place the browned chicken in a baking dish or Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Set aside while you make the sauce. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium heat, scraping the pan to dislodge any browned bits of chicken, until the onion is golden and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 2 minutes. Add the olives and plumped raisins with any unabsorbed tequila; cook, stirring occasionally, another 2 minutes.
In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in about ¼ cup of the chicken stock. Add the rest of the stock to the skillet along with the tequila and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring and scraping. Add 1/3 cup of the vinegar to the mixture along with the sugar; stir to combine and taste to judge the effect. Continue to add vinegar (up to 1 cup in all) until the desired tartness is achieved.
Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Let it boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens and the flavours meld, about 10 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover the baking dish and bake until the chicken is tender but not overcooked, about 20 minutes.
NOTE: The level of vinegar in this sweet-and-sour dish would not be considered excessive by many Mexicans, but it may be a bit much for some people. Begin with a small amount and add more to taste.