Sunday Supper

With the college boy home this past week, we made a huge dent in the abundance of food in the freezer.  We are heading on vacation this week so I didn’t want to do too much grocery shopping since it would all go bad before we returned.  This recipe was perfect for using up some what we had in the house.  Especially glad to make use of one of chickens and get it out of the freezer, they keep falling on my toes when I open the freezer door.

The sauce was DELICIOUS!  The kitchen smelled amazing when I was making it, still does actually.  The sauce has such a rich and nutty flavor, the spice of the peppers was perfect.  Not at all overpowering.  It was a beautiful vibrant green color too, perfect for spring.

I removed the chicken meat form the bones and shredded it.  I also added steamed cayote in with sauce along with the chicken.  Next time I am going to try the sauce with scallops or as enchilada sauce.  The recipe is easy to make, though a bit time consuming and gets a few dishes messy.  I suppose you could shortcut the recipe and by skipping the chicken poaching and simply using chicken stock and cooking the chicken with your preferred method. 

Chicken in Pueblan Green Pumpkin Seed Sauce
Serves 4*
1 large white onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 whole chicken (about 3 lbs), cut into quarters
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
A generous 1 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
12 large sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped, plus a few extra sprigs for garnish
3 small romaine leaves, roughly chopped
2 large radish leaves, roughly chopped
Hot green chilies to taste (roughly 3 serranos or 2 small jalapenos), stemmed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1. The chicken: In a large (6-quart) pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add half of the onion and garlic, all the carrot, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the chicken back (if you’re lucky enough to have a separated one), neck, heart and giblets. Skim off any foam that rises after a minute or two, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Add the dark meat quarters, skim again after a couple of minutes, then add the bay, thyme and marjoram, partially cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the breast quarters, skim when the liquid returns to the simmer, partially cover and cook 13 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the chicken cool for a few minutes in the broth. Remove the breast and leg quarters from the broth and set aside. Strain the broth, discarding the solids, and spoon off any fat that rises to the top.
2. The pumpkin seeds: In a large (10-to 12-inch), heavy skillet set over medium heat, spread out the pumpkinseeds and toast, stirring regularly, until all have popped (from flat to rounded) and turned golden (no darker); once they start popping, the whole process shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes. Spread out on a plate to cool; reserve a couple of tablespoons for garnish.
3. The sauce: In a blender, combine the cooled pumpkin seeds with the remaining half of the onion and garlic, the cilantro, romaine, radish leaves and green chiles. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth and blend to a smooth puree. Heat the oil in a large (4-quart), heavy saucepan over medium. Add the puree and stir constantly until very thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the broth (you’ll have about 4 cups broth left over for soup or another sauce), partially cover and simmer 20 minutes; the sauce will look coarse at this point.
4. Scrape the sauce into a blender, loosely cover and blend to a smooth puree; if necessary add a little extra broth (or water) to give the sauce a medium consistency. Rinse your saucepan, return the blended sauce to it, taste and season with salt, usually a 1/2 teaspoon. Add the chicken and warm (but don’t bring to a simmer) over medium-low heat, about 10 minutes.
5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter, then ladle the sauce over and around it, decorate with the reserved pumpkinseeds and cilantro sprigs, and it’s ready to serve.
Advance preparation: The dish can be prepared a couple of days ahead: store poached chicken and sauce separately, covered and refrigerated. Heat the chicken and sauce together on the stove top just before serving.
Variations and improvisations: The sauce can be made separately and used for very rich and delicious enchiladas (try them filled with crab meat or shredded grilled chicken), or for vegetables. It is good with grilled poultry or pork, or with practically any grilled seafood (especially salmon, squid and scallops).
* Serves 4, with about 5 cups sauce (so you’ll have leftovers for another round of chicken or for enchiladas or vegetables)

Submitted to Life as Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap.

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