Main Dish

DURANGO: Pollo Tepehuano

¡VIVA MÉXICO!  Today, Mexico celebrates its declaration of independence from Spain back in 1810.

As some may have noticed, I am trying to find, cook and enjoy recipes from all the states in Mexico. As of yesterday, that was 10 down, 22 to go (including the Federal District)! But here comes DURANGO.

I came across this version of Arroz con Pollo in Diana Kennedy’s Recipes from the Regional Cooks of Mexico cookbook. I liked it because, as Mrs. Kennedy says in her introduction to the recipe, “For my taste, chicken and rice dishes are generally nice and comforting, but rather dull.”   But I agree with her that this one is different. She continues saying, “[T]here is something about this one, perhaps the coriander [cilantro] and cumin that gives it quite a fascinating flavor.”   Very true. I was amazed by how much flavor that little bit of cumin seed contributed to the whole dish.

This is my adaptation of the recipe. I made half of her recipe and I used boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of chicken pieces. I really don’t like dealing with chicken bones, unless they are to add flavor to stock.

You can enjoy this as a main dish along with some tortillas, but I like to add a few beans on the side. A simple salad is nice too.

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DURANGO: Pollo Tepehuano (Chicken Tepehuan)

6 green onions

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into three or four large pieces

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup long grain white rice

1 tablespoon grape seed or canola oil

2-3 plum (Roma) tomatoes, seeded and diced

1-2 serrano chiles, minced (seeded for a milder flavor)

5 sprigs of cilantro, chopped

1/8 teaspoon cumin seed, lightly toasted

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Take three of the green onions and cut most of the dark green, leaving only the light green part. Cut them into quarters lengthwise and put them into a large pot along with the chicken and broth. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for about 10 minutes.

In a fine mesh colander, rinse the rice in cold water and let it drain. Once it has drained, add it to the chicken and broth along with salt to taste.

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Continue to cook until the rice is tender (about 20 minutes).

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Chop the remaining green onions finely. In a separate sauce pan, heat the oil and fry the onion until soft but not browned.

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Add the chopped tomatoes, chile(s), and cilantro and cook for about 5 minutes.

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Add the tomato mixture and cumin seed to the chicken and rice.

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Stir carefully and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. The dish should be a little bit “soupy.”

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Serve hot with some warm corn tortillas.

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If you’d like to know a bit about the people of this area of Mexico, here are a few links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durango

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tepehu%C3%A1n_people

http://www.visitmexico.com/en/durango

http://www.history.com/topics/mexico/durango

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