Pollo en Salsa Cacahuate, chicken slowly braised with chili peppers, herbs, and ground peanuts, is probably unfamiliar to most Americans. I was unfamiliar with it until i came across recipes a few years ago, while researching Mexican dishes that I could serve to a large crowd for an event.
Recipes for the dish range from almost a marinade on grilled tenderloins, to this – my favorite – version, which has a great deal in common with South and East Asian curry preparations.
This recipe requires a good blender, but otherwise comes together quickly and scales well to large groups. The end result is tender chicken with a creamy, spicy sauce that’s great over rice, or sopped up with fresh tortillas. Serve it with lime wedges and plenty of sliced chilis to add another layer of flavor.
Pollo en Salsa CacahuateCourse: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Medium
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup unsalted raw or roasted peanuts
2 whole Serrano peppers
1 whole jalapeno pepper
½ cup loosely-packed cilantro stems
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic
½ medium white or yellow onion
- Peel, trim, and dice the onion.
- Remove the stems from the peppers and roughly chop.
- Peel, trim, and mince the garlic.
- Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
- Cook the thighs, skin-side down, over medium heat until much of the fat has rendered out of them and the skin is beginning to brown and crisp.
- Remove the chicken to a plate.
- Add the cumin and garlic, and cook in the rendered fat until just softened.
- Return the chicken to the pan, add the chilis, peanuts, and chicken stock.
- Simmer until the chicken is tender and or has reached 170° (about 45 minutes).
- Remove the chicken.
- Transfer the broth, peanuts, chilis, and herbs to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Return the chicken and the smooth sauce to the pan to reheat.
- Serve topped with cilantro leaves and sliced chilis alongside cumin rice.