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+ servings

Chilate de Pollo -Chicken in Salsa

Fiery red chile salsa simmered slowly and combined with simple chicken drumsticks! Serve with plenty of warm tortillas and a few fresh garnishes. 
Course Chicken, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 Servings



  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried chile piquin optional
  • 10 guajillo peppers stems and seeds removed
  • 6-10 chile de arbol stems removed
  • 3 tomatillos
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 2 pounds of chicken pieces 8 drumsticks or other pieces of your liking
  • 1 medium white onion dice half and reserve all of it
  • 8 cloves garlic mince half, leave others whole
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grapeseed or olive oil
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 6 fresh epazote leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried


  • Combine the oregano, cumin seeds and chile piquin to a mortar and crush with pestle. It will be slightly coarse, set aside.
  • To a large pot, add the guajillos, chile de arbol, tomatoes and tomatillos. Cover with water and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10  minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Drain all but 1 cup of the liquid. Transfer to the blender. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Blend on high until smooth. Set aside.
  • At the same time, in another pot, add the chicken, whole section of onion, whole cloves of garlic, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of peppercorns, 10 cups of water and salt to taste. Bring up to a boil, skimming the foam off the top as needed. Reduce to a simmer, cover partially and cook for 40 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the pot and set aside. Strain out the solids from the broth and reserve all of the chicken broth.
  • In that same pot, add 2 tablespoons of oil and heat to medium. Add the onions and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the crushed spices and saute for another minute. Add the salsa from the blender to the pot. Add 5 cups of the reserved chicken broth. Reduce the heat so it simmers gently for 10 minutes.
  •  Add the chicken back in and any remaining juices on the plate. Add the fresh epazote leaves and continue cooking at a simmer for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Garnish with finely crumbled or grated cotija cheese, onions, chile serrano and lime. Serve with a side of beans, rice and warm tortillas. 


I have only ever prepared this recipe with drumsticks, but I think boneless chicken breast would also work. The broth will not be as flavorful if the breast are skinless though. In this case, I would add some chicken base or chicken bouillon to the broth.