“Picante” is a spicy salsa but it is not the synonym for the generic salsa. There is sweet salsa and sour salsa, and salsa may be cooked or served raw. Picante is just one among the many, many variations of salsa, and there are countless ways to prepare picante salsa too.
Ready-made picante salsa is available in supermarkets. You can use any of them (I can’t vouch for the result) or you can make your own spicy sauce with whatever pull can out of your fridge and pantry.
The inspiration for my chicken picante comes from a recipe in a cookbook called Hurry-up Chicken Recipes (Publications International, Ltd., 1992) which uses taco sauce and Dijon mustard. Since I didn’t have either, I improvised. The result was so good that, over dinner, Alex asked if I had set aside some of the chicken picante that she and Sam could being back to the condo this week (they do bring frozen dishes which they reheat over the week — a touch of home away from home since they are only home on weekends). Sure, I did, I told her. And she happily resumed eating, spooning more sauce over her rice.
Chicken Picante (Spicy Salsa)
- 6 chicken leg quarters
- 6 tablespoons butter
- Make the picante sauce by mixing together all the ingredients until smooth.
- Cut each chicken leg quarter into two portions.
- Heat the butter in a pan.
- Brown the chicken pieces, in batches if necessary.
- Return all the chicken pieces to the pan. Pour in the picante sauce. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and slow cook for 40 to 45 minutes.
- To serve, cover the bottom of a large shallow bowl with hot rice. Arrange the chicken pieces at the center.
- Boil the remaining sauce until thick. Spoon over the chicken and rice.
*If you have Dijon mustard, use 1/2 cup.
**If using Dijon mustard, you can omit the salad dressing, but you may have to use more honey.