Simple enough for every day, but nice enough for company—that’s what Pollo Rojo brings to the table! Almost everyone likes chicken, and when it’s simmered in this tomato and mildly spicy chile sauce, it’s bound to be a hit.
Another great thing about this dish is that you can assemble the various other ingredients while the chicken simmers, cutting down on prep time. It only takes 30 minutes cooking time from start to finish!
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided or 1 tablespoon good quality pork lard plus 2 tablespoons oil)
- 3 to 4 chicken breast halves (or 4–5 chicken thighs)
- 2 cups chicken broth (homemade, from a box/jar/can, or prepared with chicken stock cubes or powder)
- 2 cups water
- 6 large tomatoes
- 1/2 onion (cut into quarters)
- 1 tablespoon red chile powder (or chile paste)
- 1 large clove garlic (peeled and crushed)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- salt to taste
Turn your broiler on to high so that it can pre-heat.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil or lard in a large pan over high heat. Brown the chicken pieces on each side.
Cover chicken with chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil.
While the chicken is heating, slice the top off of each tomato and place them, cut sides down, on a cookie sheet along with the onions. Drizzle the other 2 tablespoons of oil over them. Place the cookie sheet under the broiler and leave it until the tomato skins become very wrinkled and shriveled.
While the tomatoes and onions are broiling, bring the chicken broth to a strong simmer and add the chile powder or paste, garlic, oregano, cumin, and cocoa powder.
When the tomatoes are ready, remove from broiler and let cool for about one minute. While the tomatoes cool, turn the chicken pieces in the pot.
Peel the skin off of each tomato and use a spoon to remove the seeds from the middle. Using your fingers, mash the tomato a little and add into the sauce in the pot. Separate the onions and stir into the sauce. Let the sauce reduce, boiling gently and uncovered, while the chicken finishes cooking.
Cook until the chicken reaches 170 Fahrenheit / 77 Celsius inside. If the liquid cooks off too fast, add about a half cup of water and continue cooking, repeating if necessary.
Serve your Pollo Rojo with corn tortillas and white rice or Mexican Rice, if you like. Be sure to refrigerate any leftovers for future use, as they are delicious.
Tip: Serving this dish for guests (or just want it slightly fancier)? Make it a little more festive by sprinkling each portion with a small handful of chopped green onions or some finely diced raw onion mixed with cilantro. This will add color, flavor, and texture.
Edited by Robin Grose