South of the border, down Mexico way…

In Recipes on June 6, 2011 at 4:46 am

Don’t stray down there folks or you’ll end up betrayed, lovelorn and left for dead, just like the girl in the Patsy Cline song.  Seriously though, I haven’t cooked any Mexican food for a while* so I thought it was time to look for some new Mexican recipes.  I have been reading, My Mexico, by Dianne Kennedy, this substantial book is a travelogue and food guide to Mexico and its diverse regions but its main focus is the over three hundred recipes contained within its solid covers.  This one for Pollo Almendrado or Chicken in Almond Sauce is from the fertile valley town of Oaxaca in Southern Mexico.  I have altered the recipe slightly by roasting my chicken to my own specifications  rather than poaching it as Diane Kennedy does.  I have then made the sauce separately.  You could serve this sauce with other meats such as beef or pork and it would work just as well.

Almendrado Sauce

Pollo Almendrado or Chicken in Almond Sauce


For the chicken:

1 free range chicken (about 1.5-2 kg)

2 jalapeno chillies (quartered lengthwise)

1 lime (quartered)

1 lemon (quartered)

4 cloves garlic (roughly chopped)

1 cinnamon stick

olive oil

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tsp sweet paprika

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the chillies, citrus, cinnamon stick and garlic pieces.  Rub the outside with olive oil.  Season. Sprinkle with chilli flakes and paprika.  Roast in the usual manner**

For the sauce:

1 tin diced Italian tomatoes

sunflower oil for frying

1 1/2cups raisins

1 cup slivered almonds

3 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)

1 medium brown onion (sliced)

1/2 a slightly under ripe banana or plantain (chopped)

1 slice rich bread such as challah (cubed)***

1/3 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cinnamon stick

2 whole cloves

2 whole black peppercorns

3 cups chicken stock

1 sprig flat leaved parsley

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To finish: 1 jalapeno chilli, 1 long red chilli, 1 long green chilli (chopped), 1 lime


Place a little olive oil in a pan and toast the sesame seeds until golden brown and fragrant.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Put a little more oil in the pan and brown the almonds, onions, garlic, bread and raisins adding them in that order.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.  Put 1 cup chicken stock in a food processor or blender.   Add the torn parsley and the sesame seed a bit at a time.  Blend until smooth.  Gradually add the almond and raisin mixture along with another cup of chicken stock.  When smooth transfer to a lightly oiled pot, add tomatoes, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns and another cup of chicken stock.  Season and simmer over a low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until sauce has reduced to 1/3 of its original volume.  Make sure to stir regularly as the sweet raisins in the sauce make it prone to ‘catching’ on the bottom of the pot.  I finished my sauce with 1 chopped jalapeno chilli, 1 chopped long red chilli and i choopped long green chilli.  A squeeze of lime juice or lemon juice just adds the final touch.

* see ‘Fire in the Mole‘ and ‘ I feel a hot wind on my shoulder…

** see ‘You may have the parson’s nose

*** you could use brioche or pannettone

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