Now that Valentine's Day is over, it's time to focus on a little (slightly) cleaner eating! This creamy chipotle cauliflower is the star of the meal – creamy, smoky and spicy. And with the sweet red bell peppers, it is heaven!
Skill Level: Easy
Time to Make: 55 minutes
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Neutral oil (olive oil, canola oil, or safflower oil)
1 head of cauliflower
1 red bell pepper
8 ounces cherry tomatoes (or 2 medium tomatoes)
1/2 small red onion
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream, plus more if necessary
1 can chipotles in adobo sauce (You will use 1 pepper and 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 bunch of cilantro, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
Prep Ingredients: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut the cauliflower into large chunks. Slice the red bell pepper into strips. Mince the jalapeño and the red onion. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Juice the lime. Mince the cilantro. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers.
Make the spice rub: In a bowl, combine the chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne powder, and cumin.
Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Rub all over with the spice rub until completely covered. Chill, uncovered, until ready to use.
Add the cauliflower and red bell peppers to a roasting pan and drizzle with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is well browned and the peppers are beginning to char. Turn the vegetables once halfway through cooking. Continue with the following steps as the cauliflower cooks. You will make the mashed cauliflower as the chicken roasts in the oven.
Make the pico de gallo: While the vegetables are roasting, make the pico de gallo. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, minced red onion and jalapeño, lime juice, and 1/4 quarter of the minced cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill until ready to use.
Make the chipotle crema: In a bowl, combine the sour cream and heavy cream. The consistency should be thin and easy to drizzle. Add more heavy cream to thin the sauce out if necessary. Be careful not to thin it out too much. Stir in the reserved adobo sauce (more or less to taste, depending on your heat tolerance) and stir to combine. Season lightly with salt. Leave out at room temperature.
Make the chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet until very hot. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the skin is crisps up, being careful not to burn it. Flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Transfer to the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165ºF.
While the chicken is cooking, make the cauliflower: Add the cauliflower to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the remaining cilantro (reserving a pinch for garnish) and pulse until combined. Stir in half of the chipotle crema and 1 whole chipotle pepper. Pulse until smooth and combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
To serve: Divide the chipotle cauliflower between plates. Top with the red bell pepper strips and one chicken thigh. Serve with a spoonful of pico de gallo and remaining chipotle crema if desired. Enjoy!
Designer and photographer living in NYC. I work as a design manager in ed tech and I make tasty recipes in my spare time!