• Mexican
  • Main Dish

Pipián Rojo con Pollo:
Chicken with Cushaw Seed Mole

  • by the Old White Hippie
  • 1 hour total
  • Actual Cooking

Mely Martinez, a Mexican food writer living in the USA, originally created this recipe. She grew up in Tampico, in Tamaulipas, and spent her summers in Veracruz state on her grandmother’s farm. She has a cookbook available at her website.

This is my first go at this. I've been wanting to do Pipián Rojo since I did the Cushaws article back in July. We finally got our kitchen stuff back from the Movers From Hell (well, mostly), and got our act together well enough I was ready to tackle something complicated. The big deal with this one, as far as I was concerned, was the blender. Pouring freshly-cooked peppers and veg into a blender to reduce them to salsa without breaking the blender from the heat differential, or having some other kind of blender-related disaster, was very much on my mind. Justifiably, as it turns out.

Spouse said it was good and would eat it again, but commented on the chunkiness of the sauce. Middle kid went back for seconds, but felt it lacked heat. That's okay, spouse, who has a low capsaicin tolerance, was able to get through it. Youngest kid did not come to dinner. That happens. I'm likely to try this again, and this time make sure the blender is properly assembled. Taking it off the shelf and using it without an inspection was so very much my fault, but whoever put it away didn't assemble it quite right in the first place.

I'm an Old White Hippie. This is my kitchen. Tonight, it's Mexican.

    30 minutes
  • Cook TIME
    30 minutes

  • 4 chicken breasts cut into large bites
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Ancho peppers, seeded & deveined
  • 2 Guajillo peppers, seeded & deveined
  • 1 chipotle pepper
  • ¼ cup peanuts
  • 1/3 cup cushaw seeds
  • ¼ sesame seeds
  • 1- in cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1/3 medium white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to season

Ingredients marshalled. Cellophane bags of peppers and seeds and spices from the carniceria down the road, bottled spices from various sources, a tomato and an onion. I'm using a sweet onion because I prefer them. I'm using pepitas, hulled pumpkin seeds, instead of cushaw seeds, due to availability. Yes, that's Mexican cinnamon. Eagle eyed readers may even notice I'm using Badia brand spices, which are typically prevalent in your local carniceria. Not shown: chicken, which was thawing in a bowl of water, because I totally forgot to put out a couple of packs when spouse made barbecued chicken for dinner last night.

Saucepan set aside to receive the sauce ingredients as they are toasted.

Rice steamer set up and going. I got the rice started before any of the other cooking as it can keep warm for a while but nobody likes waiting on the steamer.

Chicken has been cut up and tossed into olive oil, heated to shimmering, to sear. I used Himalayan pink salt and no pepper, and maybe should have used a touch more salt.

Two anchos, two guajillos, and a chipotle, as ordered. They got toasted in a dry skillet and tossed into the saucepan.

Onion and tomato cut in big chunks, as they're going to get dry fried, simmered, then put through a blender. I used the whole onion because I like a lot.

Peanuts toasting in a dry skillet.

Pepitas, or hulled pumpkin seeds, toasting in a dry skillet. These I could actually tell were browning, and a couple of them popped. They took more attention than the peanuts.

Sesame seeds into the dry skillet for toasting. Did you know that these pop like popcorn and make a mess on the top of your stove? I do now.

Tomatoes and onions at the start of the process. Once they started to get some char on them, I added the garlic, as it roasts so quickly.

All the sauce ingredients being brought up to a simmer. I got kind of busy with the tortillas and the griddle and didn't get a shot of it later, after simmering and before being put through the blender.

As previously noted, when I started blending the sauce, I noted a slight leak at the back of the blender, at the base. It wasn't large, but it was enough to worry me, and so there's no photo of the sauce in the blender before or after being pureed. It definitely needed more time in the blender, and maybe a bit of water added. It got kind of thick pretty fast. Here's the sauce added to the meat and the heat turned WAYYY down for it to simmer. Seriously, turn the heat down to like one notch above Warm. Remember you can't stir overly much or the sauce won't come out right.

Rice, to put the chicken and sauce over. I used basmati because it and the Botan sticky rice were the only two ready to hand.

Corn tortillas on the griddle, which if you have the griddle set up hot enough to get them done in a reasonable amount of time, also requires frequent attention as they will burn easily.

The finished product, plated, Pipián Rojo con Pollo over rice with a freshly toasted corn tortilla on the side. I thought it was pretty good, but the sauce had a clove flavorburst on me about halfway through, and I was really regretting the lack of blender time. Not bad for a first try at a seed-based salsa.