Chicken Recuerdos de Tucson

Barbara Kingsolver describes her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle as “part memoir, part journalistic investigation.” The book outlines her family’s experiences in moving from Tucson to a Virginian farm and living off locally grown food for a year. Kingsolver includes a bunch of great recipes as she goes through each season. When I was reading the book a few weeks ago I kept wanting to stop and just head to the kitchen. This week I finally got the time (and ingredients) to try out Chicken Recuerdos de Tucson, which means something like Memories of Tucson Chicken.

Here’s a link to Kingsolver’s original Chicken Recuerdos de Tucson recipe, and a link to other recipes from the book, if you’re interested. I varied a little from the original recipe: I used red chiles instead of green (there were none at the store), left out the corn, added a yellow pepper, added salt, and used chicken breasts.

Actually, if I ever make this again (which I probably will), I’ll definitely use dark meat. This was the first time I’ve ever browned chicken, so it was a learning experience. The white meat did brown nicely, but in the final dish it was a little too dry for my taste. I also used canned tomatoes, but I think using fresh ones next time would be exciting.


1 whole cut-up chicken, or thighs and legs

Olive oil (for sauté)

1 medium onion, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cumin seed (or ground cumin)

Green or red chiles to taste, chopped

3 red, green, and/or yellow peppers, diced

1 large or 2 medium zucchini or other squash, thickly sliced

1 cup tomatoes (fresh, frozen, canned, or ½ cup dehydrated, depending on the season)

2 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon basil

salt to taste

2 cups chicken broth (or water)

1. Brown the chicken pieces in a large kettle.

2. Remove the chicken. Add oil, gently sauté the onion and garlic.

3. Add the cumin, chiles, peppers, and zucchini or squash. If necessary, you can add a small amount of broth.

4. Add the tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, broth, and chicken.

5. Cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until chicken is done. Garnish with fresh cilantro (optional)


Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Main dish, Meat, Soup


Became a voracious, unapologetic bookworm in 4th grade after reading the first three Harry Potter books. Have a thing for dystopias, young adult novels, classic literature and funny memoirs (re: Mindy Kaling / Tina Fey). English and journalism geek, media and pop culture critic, food writer and blogger, editor of an entertainment magazine. Hobbies include: my Netflix account, cooking, gardening, music, art and hiking.


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