A rustic and homestyle Mexican peanut sauce with tender cuts of chicken breast. Don't forget the tortillas!
Many traditional Mexican chile sauces call for some kind of seed or nuts. Pollo en salsa de cacahuate, or chicken in peanut sauce, is a simple yet delicious variation of a mole sauce. The traditional mole can include over 30 ingredients at times and can be quite involved.
Preparing delicious Mexican-style sauces and salsas at home is a lot easier than most people think. They usually require staple ingredients that most of us home cooks may already stock in our pantries, like cinnamon, clove, tomato products, dried chiles, peanut butter and chicken broth. Not familiar with dried chiles? In a pinch, a good-quality chile ancho powder can be substituted for the chile pods. Chicken dishes such as this one are my "go-to" favorites whenever I need food for a crowd or a dish to pass around.
Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to a large skillet and heat to medium. Add the chile ancho, chile morita, garlic, onion and tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes, turning heat down slightly after 5 minutes. You want all of the ingredients to soften and also infuse the oil with flavor.
When the chiles and vegetables are ready, add the unsalted peanuts and cook for 2 more minutes. Add one cup of chicken broth to the skillet. Cook at a steady simmer for 5 minutes.
Transfer all of these ingredients to the blender and let cool for a few minutes.
To the blender, also add 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds, 1/3 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/3 teaspoon of clove, and salt and pepper to taste. Holding lid down tight, blend on high until smooth. Strain the sauce using a wire mesh strainer. Set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the large skillet and heat to medium heat. After 3 minutes, add the peanut sauce to the skillet, along with 3 more cups of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and taste for salt.
Add the chicken to the sauce, making sure it is fully immersed. Reduce heat to a simmer and sprinkle oregano on top. Cover and continue cooking for 40 to 50 minutes, without stirring. You want the sauce to reduce and thicken nicely.
Serve with a fresh lettuce, tomato and avocado salad, with Mexican rice on the side.
Substitute almond butter or peanut butter in sauces that call for blanched almonds or peanuts in a recipe. Keep a few cans of fire-roasted tomatoes in the pantry for a quick add to your favorite sauces. No chile morita? Substitute with chipotles in adobo. Add to the sauce when ready to blend.