Chicken in bitter orange and guava adobo

This is the kind of food everyone salivates over as soon as you take it to the table; it is so dark and glossy and smells great. You can get guava jelly in large supermarkets and ethnic shops but, if you don’t want to buy it, use quince (or even apple) jelly. It would be a shame not to cook this because you can’t find it. Ideally, use bitter Seville oranges but, when they’re not in season, use half orange and half lime juice.




  • 35g (1¼oz) dry ancho chillies
  • 35g (1¼oz) dry guajillo chillies
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 150ml (5fl oz) Seville orange juice
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp guava jelly
  • 1 tbsp muscovado sugar
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper
  • 175ml (6fl oz) dry sherry


  • 1.8kg (4lb) chicken
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 400g (14oz) waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large red onion, in slim wedges
  • handful of coriander leaves


  • 2 tbsp guava jelly
  • 1 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice


  1. Heat a frying pan and toast the dried chillies in it for about 25 seconds on each side. Put them into a saucepan, cover with boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain, remove the stalks and put the chillies in a food processor with everything else for the marinade, except using only 75ml (2½fl oz) of the sherry. Whizz to a paste. Put the chicken in a roasting tin or ovenproof dish in which the sweet potatoes and potatoes will also fit in a single layer. Pour half the paste over the chicken and work it in with your hands. Some marinade can go inside the chicken, and you can also lift the skin of the breast and put marinade under that. Cover with foil and put in the fridge for about six hours, turning every so often. Bring it to room temperature before cooking.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Season the chicken, cover it with foil, put it – still in its marinade – into the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Take the dish out and add both types of potatoes to the roasting tin, tossing them in the marinade. Season with salt. Return to the oven to roast for another hour. When there’s 45 minutes to go, add the onion, turning it over with the potatoes and juices. When there’s 20 minutes left, mix the ingredients for the glaze and spread it over the chicken. Pour the rest of the sherry over the vegetables, stirring, then return to the oven to finish cooking. The chicken should be cooked through and the vegetables tender.
  3. Turn the vegetables over so that they’re glossy. Scatter with coriander. This needs cool, fresh accompaniments so an Avocado salsa, a green salad and soured cream would be good on the side. Or just add cucumber, avocado and coriander leaves to the salad.

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