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Chicken with Pipián Rojo
To grind the pumpkin seeds, almonds and sesame seeds, I find that a spice grinder/coffee grinder works best. A blender will work in a pinch, but the oils released from the nuts tend to make the the powder stick to the blades.
Serve with rice and a simple salad of avocados and oranges (try this one). You could even make some fresh corn tortillas (in your abundant free time), or head down to the local tortilléria for some hot off the comál.
On a spicy scale of 1-5, I'd give this dish a 2.5. For more heat, add an additional guajillo chile, or throw in a few seeds from one of the chiles.
- 1 whole chicken, cut up, bone-in and skin on
- 1/2 medium white onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- water to cover, about 6 cups
- 6 guajillo chiles or 3 ancho chiles, seeded, deveined and torn into pieces
- 1 thick slice white onion
- 3 large garlic cloves, halved
- 1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil (I had some duck fat in the freezer and that worked well)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted and ground
- 1/4 cup almonds, toasted and ground
- 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted and ground
- 5-6 cups chicken broth (from cooking the chicken)
- salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- Place the chicken pieces in a large sturdy pot and cover with water. Add onion, garlic cloves, bay leaf, salt, marjoram, thyme.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to barely a simmer. Cook over low heat for about one hour.
- Remove the chicken pieces and set aside. Strain the sauce over a fine mesh sieve and set aside.
- Prepare the chiles as previously described (cut off the stem and open them with scissors, carefully remove all seeds and veins, and tear into pieces).
- Sauté onion and garlic in a large saucepan in 1 tablespoon of lard or vegetable oil until translucent. Add chiles and gently sauté just until soft, less than a minute. (If you overdo it, they will turn bitter).
- Add 2 cups chicken broth (from boiling the chicken), cumin, paprika, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering, prepare the nuts and seeds. First toast the pumpkin seeds in a skillet over low heat until they just start to pop. Removed from heat and set aside.
- Toast almonds in the same skillet until barely brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Toast sesame seeds until they just start to pop and are toasty brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Using a spice/coffee grinder, a food processor or a blender, grind the pumpkin seeds to a fine powder. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Place the sesame seeds together with the almonds in the blender and grind until they are powdery. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. (Keep separate from the pumpkin seed powder).
- Once the chiles and broth have simmered for 15 minutes, place all into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour over a fine mesh sieve back into the same pot.
- Bring back to a boil with another cup of chicken broth.
- Whisk in the almond/sesame powders, and cook over low heat for 8 minutes.
- Whisk in the pumpkin seed powder, and the rest of the chicken broth, about 3 1/2 cups.
- Bring back to a boil then reduce heat and cook gently until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
- Taste for salt. Remove half the sauce and reheat the chicken pieces in the pot. Use the extra sauce on the side, or for another dish. Reheat very gently.
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