Encacahuatado (chicken with peanut sauce)

A delicious chicken encacahuatado made with a creamy peanut sauce, dried chilies and spices. A scrumptious dinner that can be served any day.

This recipe is so easy to make, budget-friendly and also very versatile since it can be prepared with any type of meat or even in a vegetarian or vegan version with mushrooms, potatoes or a mix of various vegetables. It is truly delicious!

What is Encacahuatado?

Encacahuatado is a dish prepared with chicken meat immersed in a sauce of peanuts and spices. This sauce has a creamy consistency and is lightly spicy with a smoky flavor.

The name of the dish comes from cacahuate (peanut) and it refers to the way the sauce is made. In Mexico you can find this dish using another names like “pollo al cacahuate” or “mole de cacahuate” and can be done with another types of meat like pork or rabbit.

You can think of this dish as some sort of mole, a traditional mexican sauce prepared with various chilies and seeds.

A delicious and nutritious typical Mexican recipe. A recipe that reminds us of grandmothers’ meals, those on Sunday around the table with family sharing a warm dish prepared with great care.

Ingredients

CHICKEN. We used chicken drumsticks in this recipe, feel free to use tights or any other pieces of chicken you like.

PEANUTS. Use the ones without salt and skin on it. If you find them toasted is even better so you can skip that step. Otherwise you need to toaste them lightly to bring up the flavour.

TOMATOES & ONIONS. Tomates and onions gives the sauce a mild sweet flavour, use ripe and fresh tomatoes or a cup of canned plain tomato sauce.

CHILIES. 1 chile ancho and 1 chile pasilla will be enough to add a nice touch of flavour in the recipe. You can deseed them to avoid spiciness. If you can’t find Mexican chilies, substitute them with 2 Tablespoons of Paprika.

SPICES. Garlic, bay leaves, cloves, pepper, cumin and cinnamon. Feel free to adjust the quantities to your liking.

pollo encacahuatado

Encacahuatado Step By Step Recipe

Place chicken into a pot and cover with plenty of water. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf and a pinch of salt.

Cook chicken until the meat is tender (about 30 minutes). Remove the chicken pieces, place them on a plate and strain the broth. Set aside.

Cooking chicken on a pot.

Cut onions and tomatoes into quarters. Remove the stem from the chilies, and using scissors, make a cut lengthwise to open them and discard the seeds and veins.

Toast peanuts in a comal or a cast iron skillet. Set aside.

Toasting peanuts.

In a sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and fry until softened and some spots are lightly browned (about 5 minutes).

Add chilies, whole cloves, cinnamon, cumin, pepper and garlic. Sauté for a minute over low heat to prevent the chiles and spices from burning, they just need to release their aroma.

Sauteeing onions, spices and chilies on a pan.

Add the tomatoes and sauté over high heat until they start to release their juices (about 3 minutes).

Add a cup and half of the chicken broth and bring to a boil, low the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Sauteeing tomatoes. Adding chicken cooking water to tomatoes.

Add the roasted peanuts, mix and turn off the heat.

Adding peanuts to the pan.

Let it cool a little, then transfer everything to a blender and blend until obtaining a sauce of the desired consistency (read notes).

Ingredients on the blender. Blended sauce.

Pour the sauce in the pan and add a cup and a half of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then add the chicken. Stir and make sure to coat the chicken with the sauce.

Cooking the peanut sauce with chicken.

Adjust with salt to taste and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens to the consistency of thick gravy (read notes).

How To Serve

Serve Encacahuatado with Mexican White Rice (mexican style), or Refried Beans. And don’t forget Gluten Free Corn Tortillas because they are perfect for this dish!

If you need something to drink I’d recommend Horchata Strawberry Agua Fresca or Pineapple Fresca aswell. And for those with a sweet tooth: Cortadillo Cake, Mexican Rice Pudding or Tres Leches Cake are some nice options.

Corn tortillas piled with an overlay text (how to make corn tortillas)

Recipe notes

  • You can substitute Mexican chilies with 2 tablespoons of Paprika.
  • If you want a smoother sauce you should blend everything for 3-4 minutes. But if you’d like the sauce to have a little “rustic” texture, then just blend for 1 minute max.
  • You can use chicken leftovers. I have even prepared this recipe using rotisserie chicken or even Thanksgiving’s turkey leftovers!
  • Be very careful when roasting peanuts as they tend to burn quickly. Do it over at very low heat and stirring constantly.
  • The amount of spices that is in the ingredients can be adjusted and add less or more of those that you like the most.
  • The consistency of the sauce can vary also according to how long you leave it to boil. The longer, the thickest.

Watch How To Make It

Encacahuatado (chicken with peanut sauce)

A delicious chicken encacahuatado made with a creamy peanut sauce, dried chillies and spices. A scrumptious dinner that can be served any day.
PREP 20 minutes
COOK 1 hour
TOTAL 1 hour 20 minutes
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 4
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

For the chicken

  • 4 pieces of chicken (drumsticks, tights, etc.)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt

For the peanut sauce

  • cup (80 gr) plain peanuts (no salt or skin on)
  • 2 medium (300 gr) tomatoes (cut into cuarters)
  • 1 small (60 gr) onion (cut into cuarters)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp (25 gr) olive oil (or any oil you prefer)
  • 1 small chile ancho (or 1 Tbsp Paprika)
  • 1 small chile pasilla (or 1 Tbsp Paprika)
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp black pepper grains
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled)
  • chicken stock
  • salt

Instructions

Cook the chicken

  • Place chicken in a pot and cover with plenty of water. Add onion, garlic, bay leaf and a pinch of salt.
  • Cook the chicken until the meat is tender (about 30 minutes).
  • Place chicken on a plate and strain the stock. Set aside.

Make the sauce

  • In a sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté until softened and some spots are lightly browned (about 5 minutes).
  • Add chilies, whole cloves, cinnamon, cumin, pepper and garlic. Sauté for a minute over low heat to prevent the chiles and spices from burning.
  • Add tomatoes and sauté over high heat until their juices start releasing (about 3 minutes).
  • Add 1 ½ cup of the chicken stock and bring to a boil, low heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add roasted peanuts, mix and turn off the heat. Let cool a little, then transfer everything to the blender and blend until obtaining a sauce of the desired consistency (read notes).

Finish the dish

  • Pour the sauce in the pan and add 1 ½ cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then add the chicken. Stir and make sure to coat the chicken with the sauce.
  • Adjust with salt and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens (read notes).

NOTES

  • If you want a smooth sauce you need to blend it for 4-5 minutes. But if you’d like the sauce to have a little “rustic” consistency, then just blend for 1 minute max.
  • You can use chicken leftovers. I have even prepared this recipe using rotisserie chicken or even Thanksgiving’s turkey leftovers!
  • Be very careful when roasting peanuts as they tend to burn quickly. Do it over at very low heat and stirring constantly.
  • The amount of spices that is in the ingredients can be adjusted and add less or more of those that you like the most.
  • The consistency of the sauce can vary also according to how long you leave it to boil. The longer, the thickest.
Nutrition
Calories: 470kcal
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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this encacahuatado recipe! the chicken really infused in the amazing peanut sauce and was so delicious. I served it over noodles and my family loved it!