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*March 2010 COTM--Kennedy: Poultry and Seafood

Please post reports in this thread on recipes from The Essential Cuisines of Mexico chapters POULTRY and SEAFOOD

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  1. Crepas De Cameron En Chile Pasilla (shrimp crepes with pasilla sauce) pg. 377

    So I thought this would be a quick and easy dish, for a Friday evening, and it would have been if I had enough crepes in the freezer...but no. Still, including the crepe making, dinner came in in just under 2 hours. (I used Julia Child's basic crepe recipe in From Julia Child's Kitchen.) No pasilla chiles were to be had at the local grocery (no surprise there) so I subbed 2 "dried red chile peppers." Other than the fact that the package said "County of Origin: Mexico" I have no idea what they actually are. Anyway, I broiled the tomatos as directed and then a small bit of onion, the tomatoes and the crushed peppers got whirled in the food processor until smoothe. The sauce is then cooked in some oil, with a bit of sugar and salt added, for about 10 minutes, until it thickens some. Sour cream, lots of sour cream, gets stirred into it. Then a cup of the sauce gets tossed with cooked shrimp. (Note to self, next time you buy pre-cooked shrimp, look to see if the tails are still on.)

    The shrimp gets rolled up in the crepes and they are placed in a baking dish. The rest of the sauce goes on top. Then grated Chihuahua, or muenster chees goes on top of that. Garnishment is dollops of yet more sour cream around the edges and into the oven it goes.

    We really loved this dish. I'm sure the sauce would have had some wonderful added dimension to it if pasillas were used. The Chowpup's friend declared it "amazing" and Mr. Clam went back for a large second helping. (Actions speak louder than words sometimes.)

    9 Replies
    1. re: clamscasino

      Pechugas de Pollo con Rajas (chicken with poblano chiles and cream) - Mexico City, p. 346

      How can you go wrong with chicken layered with rajas (roasted poblanos and sauteed onions), covered with poblano cream sauce, sprinkled with cheese, and baked? We loved this, and the leftovers were great with the chicken shredded on top of nachos.

      I used four roasted and unpeeled poblano peppers I had in the freezer, using about half cut in strips for the rajas and half pureed for the sauce. The sauce is made in the blender with the poblanos, creme fraiche and milk. I used sour cream with a little half and half since that's what I had (heading to the Mexican market tonight!). Boneless chicken (which I cut into chunks) is browned in oil and butter and removed. Sliced onion is sauteed in the same pan with the poblano strips and then layered with the chicken in a baking dish. Finally, pour the sauce over, cover, and bake, and a few minutes before serving, sprinkle with cheese and heat until melted. I served it with roasted asparagus tossed with the residual oil/butter in the pan and Mexican dried oregano (Penzey's).

      (having a problem with my camera, will post pics later)

      1. re: Rubee

        Rubee did you use cheddar? That just is not my favorite cheese that is if I have it at all, its sparingly. I was hoping to use a nice melting cheese, and then some cheddar mixed in. I want to stay true to the recipe, after all it sounds sooo delicious, but using all cheddar I see an oil layer. Am I wrong?

        1. re: chef chicklet

          I actually used Monterey Jack, which is all I had at the time.

          I should add that I cut the recipe by about a third, but made the full amount of roasted poblano cream. The leftover was sauce was delicious in scrambled eggs!

        2. re: Rubee

          Finally able to post pics of the Pechugas de Pollo con Rajas. I used store-bought sour cream, and as you can see in the second picture, it did curdle as Kennedy says (but still tasted good!).

          Last two pictures were delicious leftovers. Nachos - I shredded the chicken and mixed it into the sauce, baked on tortilla chips with MJ, sprinkled with cilantro. Finally, for last picture, used it for chilaquiles - layered chips and chicken mixture, diluted leftover sauce with a little chicken broth and poured over, baked covered for about 20 minutes, then uncovered, sprinkled with asadero cheese until melted, and served with crema and salsa. This recipe made a lot of great meals!

          1. re: Rubee

            Pechugas De Pollo Con Rajas – Chicken Breasts with Poblano Chiles and Cream – p. 347

            ¡Salud! Happy Cinco De Mayo everyone! Tonight it was my turn to prepare this dish thanks to Rubee’s enticing photographs and the perfect occasion to try it out!

            Rubee did a terrific job of explaining how this all comes together above so all that’s left for me to report on is our experience with the dish.

            Essentially I followed the recipe without any significant modifications. Like Rubee, I did use sour cream and though my sauce didn’t curdle in the blender, it did curdle during the cooking process. The recipe calls for ¼ cup of butter and ¼ cup of olive oil. I reduced these quantities by half without incident.

            I topped our dish w cheddar and served the Arroz Blanco/White Rice from p. 161 of this book.

            We liked but didn’t love this dish. It’s the first recipe I’ve made from this book so I’m not sure how the flavours compare to those of other dishes however we did find this a little bland. I also found the congealed sauce to be somewhat off-putting. We do have a fair bit leftover so we’ll give it a try in tortillas and see whether that changes anything for us. I’m also hoping that the flavours might develop further overnight. I’ll be back to report.

            Here’s a link to my review and photos of the rice which we quite enjoyed:


            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              Sorry to hear about the disappointment on the chicken BC! I should have added that I always buy the poblanos at our Mexican market because they are nice and spicy. Either way your pictures are making me hungry!

              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                I too am sorry to hear this dish didn't turn out for you :-(. Raja con crema are usually not bland and make a great foil for chicken. I have access to *real* Mexican crema that isn't basically sour cream, which may make a difference. If anything, this dish tends to be a little on the rich side!!

                Oh, well. You tried it and it didn't turn your crank. No harm, no foul (fowl?) and a lesson learned

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Your photos sure look tasty, but "congealed sauce" is definitely not something one strives for! I hope it worked a little better in tortillas.

                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                    Thanks LN but not so much. It didn't improve overnight so its safe to say, we won't be having this one again!

            2. Pollo en Pipian Rojo - pg. 342/43
              (Chicken in Red Pipian Sauce)

              Pipians are a whole class of rustic sauce. What makes them really interesting and unique - at least to me - is the fact that they are thickened with nuts and/or seeds rather than a roux of some sort. They're usually very easy and far less complicated than they sound. Pipanes (plural of pipian) are related to moles but far less labor intensive. And this red pipian is no exception.

              Here's the link to a post I did about making this recipe, complete with photos of most of the steps - http://thediningdiva.typepad.com/the_...

              It's an easy and tasty recipe.

              2 Replies
              1. re: DiningDiva

                Very nice. I love the color of the your sauce and even through viewing the photo, you can see that it's that rich and perfec thickness. I can't imagine the avocado leaf's and the flavor it would impart and then not knowing if you missed it or not. Don't get me wrong, personally I'd love a slice of perfectly ripe and creamy avocado sort of lying about on the edge, oh geez with this kind of sauce. oh my goodness! did you lick the plate?
                Would this be perfect for entertaining?

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  Thank you Chef Chicklet. Avocado leaf imparts a pleasant herby, green flavor. I had forgotten I had to skip it when I made it. And yes, avocado would have been a great accompaniment on the plate :-) Good call.

                  Go ahead and try it. The color, as you noted, is beautiful. It's a delicious dish...in spite of my rather tedious compentary (yikes, I should have reread that thing before I posted it. What a difference 3+ years make)

              2. Pollo a la Uva (Chicken with Grapes), Pg. 349

                In the interest of full disclosure, no fresh grapes were used in this recipe. When I made out the shopping list for the week, I wrote, as did Ms Kennedy, "seedless white grapes." Since DH is doing the food shopping for the duration, he was left to figure out what exactly I meant. We don't have white grapes in the markets around here.... we have pale green grapes. LOL So... I used organic seedless green grape raisins which I re-hydrated in some sherry. I thought it would work. Also, I halved the recipe.

                Truss two 3 lb. chickens, heat EVOO and butter in a Dutch oven and brown the chickens on all sides. Season with salt & pepper and set aside on a platter. Sliced onion, garlic and celery are added to the pot and cooked for 5 minutes. Four cups of diced tomatoes are added along with dried thyme and marjoram and the chicken is placed on their sides on top of the vegetables. The pan is covered and baked for 20 minutes after which the chickens are turned over and baked for an additional 30-ish minutes till they're tender. Turn off the oven, place the chicken on a warm platter and return to the oven. The juices and vegetables remaining in the pan are blended into a smooth sauce and reduced over medium heat till thickened. Two thirds of a cup of dry white wine is added and the sauce cooks for another few minutes. Add the grapes and continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Cut the chicken into large serving pieces and pour the sauce over. I served this with a Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall River Cottage recipe: Leeks with Greens.

                Although we did like this dish, we both thought it was rather bland. I don't know if using the fresh grapes would have made much difference, and I certainly will find out at a later date, but more seasoning... of some kind... is in order. The chicken was organic free-range and had it's own luscious flavor but the finished dish didn't scream out Mexican flavors. It was, however a perfectly serviceable family meal.

                1. Huachinando a la Veracruzana (Veracruz Red Snapper), Pg. 368

                  The final delivery of our CSF winter share on Saturday was a 3 pound Gulf of Maine haddock, and since red snapper is on the Monterey Bay Avoid list, I thought this recipe would suit us very well... and it did.

                  A cleaned head and tail on fish is pricked all over with a fork, rubbed with salt then lime juice is poured over. The fish is placed in a baking pan and popped in the fridge for 2 hours. EVOO is heated in a skillet and chopped onion and garlic are cooked till soft but not brown. About 5 1/3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used Hunt's natural diced) are added along with bay leaves, Mexican oregano, halved green olives stuffed with red pepper, large capers, a few sliced jalapeños en escabeche and a bit of salt. Cook the sauce till some of the liquid has evaporated then pour over the fish. Put the baking pan, covered loosely with foil, into a 325F preheated oven. The directions say to bake for 20 minutes, turn the fish over then bake and baste for another 20. DH didn't do that, although he did baste. The fish was done after 30 minutes. We let it rest a bit before serving. Plain boiled rice was served with the fish and the very tasty sauce. The pickled jalapeños made all the difference, I think. I totally forgot to serve the left-over roasted butternut squash (Simon Hopkinson) which would have gone perfectly.

                  1. Arroz a La Tumbada (Rice with Shrimps) half recipe p. 373
                    This was a simple recipe to put together that includes easy to find ingredients. I made this with shrimp that I deveined, but kept the shells on. I also made this with significantly less oil, the recipe calls for 8T and I used about 2.5T. So rather than stir frying the shrimp in oil, I cooked them in oil just to color and turned them to color the other side (about 2 minutes). After cooking the shrimp and setting them aside, you then cook the sofrito (tomatoes, onion and garlic) with red bell pepper. When making this, the dish smelled very Spanish to me. Actually, the whole dish is reminiscent of arroz caldoso, but not quite as soupy. You then add water and rice to the sofrito and cook for 8 minutes and then add the herbs (Mexican oregano, chives, mint and cilantro) and shrimp. The herbs give it a Mexican aroma. The dish cooks for another 15 minutes to finish cooking the shrimp and rice. In the finished dish, the shrimp was perfectly cooked, but for those that prefer not to peel their shrimp (it does get a little messy) may want to use shelled shrimp. The dish overall was solid, but we did prefer the Seafood Dirty Rice from last month’s COTM. The next time I make this I would use a shrimp or clam stock to add a richer flavor to the rice. I could also imagine this recipe with other types of seafood or fish.