Estofado de pollo
- 2 pounds tomatoes
- 3 to 4 large tomatillos, husks removed
- 3 red ancho chiles
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 head of garlic, cloves separated
- 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
- 1 to 3 whole cloves, or to taste
- Piece of Mexican cinnamon, 1 1/2 inches long
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 sprig thyme, or a pinch of dried
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 large chicken cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoons capers, with 1 tablespoon of the juice
- 1/4 cup green olives, pitted
- Dash of salt
Adapted from hispanickitchen.com
Boil the tomatoes and tomatillos until they change color, about 10 minutes. Reserving the water, remove the tomatoes and tomatillos and let cool. When they are cool enough to handle, 10 to 15 minutes later, remove and discard the skins.
Toast the ancho chiles in a cast-iron frying pan over medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side, until the skins blister and bubble and they give off their aroma. Remove from the heat and place them in the leftover hot tomato water to soak for 20 minutes. Once they are soft, remove the stems and seeds.
Fry the sesame seeds in 1 tablespoon oil over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove, let cool, and grind bit by bit in a spice grinder, food processor or metate. Set aside. In the same frying pan, add 1 tablespoon oil and fry the almonds, raisins, garlic, onion, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, oregano and thyme over medium heat until the onion is transparent and your kitchen starts to smell divine.
Blend the tomatoes, tomatillos and soaked chiles in a blender with 1 cup of chicken stock. (Divide into two batches if necessary.) Pour the tomato and chile mixture through a food mill or sieve to remove any seeds and the chile skins. Set aside. Blend the almonds, raisins, onion, garlic and seasonings in the blender with 1½ cups chicken stock until smooth (the recipe calls for a blender here, but I would use a food processor. The blender left the spice mix a bit too thick).
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and brown the chicken pieces well, but do not cook them through. The recipe calls for 10 to 15 minutes but I'd cook them a little longer, as they took ages to cook through later in the sauce on low heat. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Pour off all but 1½ tablespoons of the oil and fry the tomato and chile mixture with the seasoning mixture over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the ground sesame seeds and stir until well incorporated. Return the chicken to the bubbling sauce and continue cooking over low heat, covered, for 20 minutes more.
The recipe calls for adding the remaining 1½ cups of stock, but I found it wasn't necessary as the sauce was already aromatic and well-balanced and would've ended up watered down. I'd say eye it, do a taste test, and decide if the sauce needs some thinning out or not. Then add the capers, caper juice and olives. Let the chicken simmer, covered, 15 minutes more.