Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pollo en pipián rojo (Chicken in Red Sesame Seed Sauce)

Let the Summer of Mexican begin!

From Diana Kennedy, The Essential Cuisines of Mexico

This was absolutely wonderful. I'm putting it down pretty much as it is in the book. The sauce was mellow, with a pronounced but not overwhelming sesame flavor. Not too spicey. I didn't have any avocado leaf, unfortunately, so I left it out.

The Chicken
The chicken giblets
1/2 white onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme, or a large pinch of dried
Salt to taste
A 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut into serving pieces

The Sauce
6 ancho chiles (reserving 1 tablspoon of the seeds)
1/2-inch piece of cinnamon stick, crushed
3 whole cloves
5 peppercorns
3/4 cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons lard
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
Salt to taste
1 large avocado leaf, fresh or dried

Put the giblets, onion, garlic, herbs, and salt into a pan, cover with water, and bring to a fast simmer. Continue simmering for about 30 mintes. Add the chicken pieces and cook over low heat until just tender -- about 25 minutes. Strain, reserving the broth.

Toast the chiles lightly, cover with hot water, and leave to soak for 10 minutes.

Meantime, put the reserved chile seeds into an ungreased skillet and shake over medium heat until they turn a deep golden brown -- take care not to burn. Set aside to cool a little. Transfer the toasted seeds together with the spices and grind to a powder.

Toast the sesame seeds to a deep gold color in the ungreased pan and set them aside to cool of a little. Add the toasted, cooled seeds and spices to the spice grinder and grind them very fine.

Melt the lard in a skillet and fry the ground seeds and spices over low heat for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Transfer the chiles with a slotted spoon to the blender jar. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved broth and the garlic and blend to a smooth puree.

Add the blended chiles to the fried spice mixture and let it cook fast for about 5 minutes, stirring it constantly. Add 3 cups of the reserved broth and let the sauce continue cooking over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until it thickens and is well seasoned. Add the cooked chicken and salt, and let the chicken heat through.

Toast the avocado leaf briefly on a warm comal and then grind it finely. Add it to the sauce.

1 comment:

Neil said...

I'm going to give this one a try--looks great. We need to do a Mexican food party sometime this summer.