This recipe takes me back to when I visited my familia in Monterrey, Mexico back in 2011. I was blessed to be able to spend a whole month with my God Mother, Tia Minerva, who has recently passed suddenly. She has been on my mind often these days and this was one of the many recipes inspired by her. There was no written recipe of this dish, I just wrote down a few notes on what the main ingredients were so I would remember. She told me how this was a popular dish at one of the local restaurants (Pollo Ramos)and I knew I would try my hand at recreating it. This was the first time I had seen dried chiles cooked in oil, in particular chipotles. The aroma is amazing and once blended into the sauce, they are so flavorful. Since this time, I have cooked many dried chiles in oil and have prepared this dish using various nuts like peanuts, pecans and pepitas. The difference in the flavors is subtle, the peanuts being the strongest of the flavors. If you have never prepared a traditional mole(mo-leh) sauce from scratch, this is a good starting point. Of course, mole has way more ingredients, but it is the same process. This is one of a few recipes I will developing in the next couple of months that are inspired by my Tia. There is no greater treasure than to be able to learn from those that you admire and look up to. She stepped in where my Mom left off and gave me so much from the time we spent together. #familyrecipes #mexicanfood
Pollo Almendrado Con Chipotle
Yields 6 Servings
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
3 dried chile ancho, stems and seeds removed
2 dried chile chipotles, stems and seeds removed, tear into pieces
3 cloves garlic
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, sliced in half
1/3 cup blanched almonds
2 full tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon marjoram
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1 inch piece of Mexican cinnamon
4 cups chicken broth
2 pounds thin sliced boneless chicken breast or thighs (about 8 pieces)
*If you can’t find dried chipotle, you can use chipotles in a can. You will add them when you are ready to blend all of the sauce ingredients.
1. Add 1/4 cup of oil to a large skillet and heat to medium. Add the chile ancho, chile chipotle, garlic, onion and tomatoes. If using cinnamon stick instead of ground, add it to this mix while they cook. Cook for 10 minutes, turning heat down slightly after 5 minutes. You want all of the ingredients to soften and also infuse the oil with flavor.
2. When chiles have softened and vegetables are ready, add the almonds and cook for 2 more minutes. Add one cup of chicken broth to the skillet. Cook at a steady simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer all of these ingredients to the blender and let cool for a few minutes.
3. To the blender, also add 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds, thyme, marjoram, ground cinnamon, salt and pepper(to taste). Blend on high until smooth. Strain the sauce using a wire mesh strainer. Set aside.
4. Add 2 tablespoon of oil to the large skillet and heat to medium heat. After 3 minutes, add the sauce to the skillet, along with 3 more cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and taste for salt. Add the chicken into the sauce, making sure it is fully immersed. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and continue cooking for 45 to 1 hours, without stirring until sauce reduces and thickens.
* Serve with warm tortillas, a fresh salad and your favorite rice.
The sauce is light to start, but will darken the longer it cooks.
This is the original picture I took while my Tia prepared her dish. The chipotle peppers are torn into pieces with a bit of broken cinnamon in a little bit of oil.
Here is another original picture from that day. I love the sesame seeds in Mexico compared to what I can find here. She used chicken pieces in her recipe instead of boneless chicken breast.
When the dried chile ancho is fresh, it will yield a brighter red sauce.
This sauce can be used for beef and pork as well. It freezes well and the flavors will improve after a few days.
It is common to serve a fresh salad with tomatoes, onion, avocado and iceburg lettuce. A little fresh lime and a simple white rice pairs well.
Here is my beautiful Tia in her kitchen preparing rice. To all of the strong and beautiful women that have come before us. May they continue to inspire us….La Adoro!!