Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pollo Almendrado: Mexican Almond Chicken

Mexicans use almonds in a lot of recipes, often ground into a powder, and the almonds lend a subtle flavor to dishes that can be difficult for the novice to identify. Perhaps surprising to many who are not all that familiar with real Mexican cooking, cinnamon is also a frequent addition to many dishes, including several that contain almonds.

This Chicken Almendrado is one of those dishes that contains cinnamon, but if you think of cinnamon as being only for desserts then you must think again. The almonds and cinnamon combine with the other ingredients to give this delicious dish a warm and homey flavor that will have you coming back for more. I use stick cinnamon here, but if you don't have it on hand then ground cinnamon will still do the trick.

Serve this to guests at your next "special" dinner party. They'll be asking for your recipe!

Sorry, no photo today...

Serves 4

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Cup blanched, slivered almonds, divided
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp crushed Mexican oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


Cut chicken breasts in half so you have 4 half chicken breasts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Finely grind 1/2 cup of the almonds. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Skillet should be large enough to hold chicken in a single layer. Add chicken to hot oil and brown quickly on both sides, 1-2 minutes per side. Remove to plate.

Add onions and garlic to the hot skillet and cook until onions become translucent, but not brown. (Watch the garlic closely-- it should not be browned, which makes garlic bitter.) Stir in the broth, the ground almonds, pepper flakes, vinegar, oregano, bay leaf and cinnamon. Return chicken to the skillet. Heat over a high flame until it boils. As soon as it starts to boil, turn down heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaf.

Put chicken on serving platter. Spoon sauce over top, then garnish sprinkle with remaining slivered almonds. This is also very good with crisp crumbled bacon sprinkled on top.

This is good served with rice, wedges of tomato and your favorite salsa.

Buen provecho!

If you have a favorite recipe for a Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish, I'd love to add it to our recipe box! email (and put "recipe" in the subject box so I'll know what it's about)


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