Pibil Pollo

  • 7 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 6 hrs,
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4-6
Ratings (4)
In Quintana Roo, in Mexico's Yucutan region, this chicken dish is quite popular. Bitter orange is the signature flavor but if you can't locate any it can be replaced with equal parts lemon juice and fresh squeezed orange juice.

What You'll Need

  • 1 lb dried red chiles
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large or 2 small banana leaves
  • 4lbs of skinless, boneless chicken
  • juice of 4 bitter oranges
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 sprig of epazote
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup butter

How to Make It

Prepare the Red Chiles

Find chiles that are whole, not broken or split open. They should be tough, yet slightly bendable with no discoloration or light spots. They should also be uniform in color and evenly dried. Cut the top off of each chile to remove the stem. Then, cut a slit down the side of the chile to split it open. The majority of the seeds will shake right out. Use your fingers or a spoon to scrape any additional seeds off and pull off any dried veins.

Place them in a bowl and cover them with hot water. The chiles will need to soak 20-30 minutes depending on how thick they are. Use a spoon to occasionally push them under the water if they float too much. Remove the chiles and discard the water.

Prepare the Marinade

After they are rehydrated, place the chiles, vinegar, salt and garlic into a blender or food processor. Blend until a thin paste forms. Add in the orange juice and use the pulse feature to blend it just to mix the juice in. 

Marinating the Chicken

Rinse the chicken and place it on a plate or a bowl or a dish.  Use a fork to pierce the chicken pieces repeatedly. Pour the marinade over the chicken and make sure each pieces is thoroughly coated.  Cover, and place in refrigerator for 4-6 hours, or overnight. 

Cooking the Chicken

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tomato in half and scoop out the seeds and discard them.  Slice the remaining tomato and set aside. Peel the onion and slice into rings, separating the rings out and set them aside. Place chicken pieces on one side of the banana leaf and top with the sliced tomatoes, onions and epazote. Dot pieces of butter over the top of the chicken. Wrap the up banana leaf around the chicken to keep the moisture inside.  Tuck the banana leaf under to keep it wrapped, or use oven-safe string to tie it up.

Place wrapped chicken on the top rack of oven over a large oven-safe bowl filled half-way with water. Steam for 60-90 minutes depending on size of chicken pieces.

Remove chicken from leaf and serve with fresh tomato, chopped onion, chile sauce and tortillas.