She Made/Ella Hace: Chicken Pipián Rojo

This month for She Made/Ella Hace my partner-in-crime girlichef and I chose Pipian as our theme, which couldn't be more perfect for me as I've had a bit of an obsession with pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) the last couple of weeks. I can't seem to resist stirring them into everything and anything like salads, yogurt, cookies, homemade granola... The list goes on and on. But one of my favorite ways to enjoy pepitas is in Pipián.

Pipián is a traditional Mexican sauce that gets its distinct grainy texture from the pepitas. Pipián can be made in one of two ways: Pipián Verde made with tomatillos and roasted poblano peppers and Pipián Rojo made with tomatoes and dried ancho chiles. Pipián can be served over fish (girlichef made Salmon in Pipián Verde), shrimp, roasted pork, or chicken. Whether you choose to make Pipián Verde or Rojo, you'll love the nutty flavor the pepitas adds to this exquisite sauce.

Pipian Rojo Sauce made w/ Pepitas -

Chicken Pipián Rojo

  • 2 lbs. cut up skinless chicken (thighs, drumsticks, breasts, etc.) 
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half and divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, divided
  • Cilantro
  • 13 cups water, divided
  • 3 roma tomatoes, cut in quarters 
  • 3 dried ancho chiles 
  • 3/4 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup masa harina (I use Maseca) 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Place the chicken, 1/2 medium onion, 1 garlic clove, a couple of sprigs of cilantro in a dutch oven or large stockpot with 10 cups of water. Season with salt, cover and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is fully cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring the tomatoes and dried ancho chiles to a boil in a medium saucepan with 3 cups of water until the tomatoes are cooked through and the chilies have softened. Remove stems and seeds from chilies. Puree the tomatoes, dried chiles, the water they were cooked in, the remaining onion and garlic, 2 cups of the chicken broth, 1/4 cup masa harina, and the pepitas.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Pour the tomato and chile puree into the skillet, stirring with a wire whisk or wooden spoon to combine. Stir in 2 to 3 more cups of chicken broth until the Pipián sauce is desired consistency. Season with salt, black, pepper, ground cumin, and ground cloves. Reduce heat to low and add the cooked chicken; cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until heated through, stirring occasionally to prevent sauce from sticking. Serve with your favorite rice dish. I served it with Cilantro Rice Pilaf. (Recipe coming soon.) Enjoy!

Receta en español 

Chicken Pipian Rojo -

Don't forget to visit girlichef's blog to check out her beautiful Salmon in Pipián Verde.

1 comment

  1. My stomach is literally growling - and I want a plate of this deliciousness for breakfast. Like, right now! I have officially put it on the menu for this weekend, it looks amazing Leslie. Thanks so much for heading into the kitchen with me every are a constant source of inspiration :).