Chicken in Red Pipian Sauce

Chicken in Red Pipian Sauce

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Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 4



  • 1 whole 4-pound/1 kg chicken cut in pieces
  • Olive oil for searing
  • 1 head garlic halved
  • 1 onion quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1/2 cup/125 ml pumpkin seeds toasted
  • 1/2 cup/125 ml sesame seeds toasted
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and roasted
  • 4 guajillo chiles roasted
  • 1 ancho chile roasted
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 onions quartered and roasted
  • One 1/2-inch cinnamon stick
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup/125 ml chicken stock or water
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  • Corn tortillas for serving


For the chicken

  • In a large stockpot, sear the chicken in some olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Then add the garlic, onions, enough water to cover the chicken and some salt and pepper.
  • Simmer until the chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender, about 1 hour.
  • Strain and set the chicken pieces aside.

For the sauce

  • Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, reduce the pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, garlic, guajilla chiles, ancho chile, cloves, onions, cinnamon stick and some salt and pepper into a thick puree.
  • Set aside.
  • Pour the sauce into a large skillet over low heat.
  • Add the chicken pieces and cook, coating the chicken pieces with the sauce.
  • Add some chicken stock to loosen the sauce if necessary and simmer, about 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve warm with tortillas.
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