Recipe courtesy of Zach Gross
Achiote Chicken with Masa Gnocchi and Chimichurri
5 hr 35 min
2 hr 15 min
4 servings
5 hr 35 min
2 hr 15 min
4 servings


Achiote Chicken:
  • Half of a 7-ounce can chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup orange juice 
  • 1/2 cup lime juice 
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro 
  • 1/2 red onion 
  • 1/2 yellow onion 
  • 1/2 cup garlic cloves, peeled 
  • 1/2 tablespoon chipotle powder 
  • Kosher salt and black pepper 
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4 large breasts) 
Chimichurri Sauce:
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1 1/2 lemons, roughly peeled and quartered 
  • 1 1/2 limes, roughly peeled and quartered 
  • 1 bunch cilantro 
  • 1 bunch parsley 
  • 1/2 cup garlic cloves, peeled 
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons blood orange-infused olive oil 
Pico de Gallo:
  • 4 tomatillos, medium dice
  • 4 tomatoes, medium dice 
  • 1 1/2 to 2 limes, juiced 
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro 
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced 
  • 1 scant teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 scant teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/4 red onion, medium dice 
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 
  • Kosher salt and black pepper 
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups masa flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 cups sweet potato, baked and strained through a food mill or grated with a box grater
  • 2 cups sweet potato, baked and strained through a food mill or grated with a box grater 
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar


For the achiote chicken: In a food processor or blender, combine the chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, red onion, yellow onion, garlic, chipotle powder, salt and pepper and puree.

Combine the chicken breasts with the marinade in a bag or covered container and marinate for at least several hours or preferably overnight.

Remove the chicken and shake off any excess marinade. Heat a grill to medium-high heat and cook the chicken until done, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper.

For the chimichurri sauce: In a robot coupe or food processor, combine the shallot, lemons, limes, cilantro, parsley, garlic, red pepper, salt and black pepper and blend until smooth. Remove to a bowl and fold in the oil by hand. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed, adding more oil if necessary for desired consistency.

For the pico de gallo: Gently toss all the ingredients and check for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 1 quart.

For the gnocchi: In a bowl, combine the masa flour, potato, chili powder and salt, and then mix in a stand mixer on low speed with a dough hook, or gently fold together with a spatula. Next add the eggs, 1/4 cup olive oil and agave nectar and knead until incorporated. Continue to knead dough thoroughly until uniform but not stiff, then cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 equal balls. On a hard surface or cutting board dusted with more masa flour, roll balls into strips about 1 inch wide. Portion strips into small, bite-sized dumplings and transfer to a masa-floured sheet pan.

Bring a medium pot of water to boil and, in batches, blanch the gnocchi in boiling water for about 5 minutes or until just beginning to float.

Remove the gnocchi to an ice water bath for about 30 seconds or until cooled. Remove with a slotted spoon and shake off excess water. Add all gnocchi to a bowl or container and toss lightly with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set aside until ready to serve.

When it's time to serve the gnocchi, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat in a saute pan until shimmering. In batches if necessary, saute the gnocchi until they begin to brown and crisp slightly all around, 3 to 4 minutes per batch.

Plate with the gnocchi down first, then the chicken, and top with the chimichurri. Garnish on the plate with the pico de gallo.

This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.


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