Chicken in a Pecan and Ancho Chile Sauce

Chicken in a Pecan and Ancho Chile Sauce

Pollo con Salsa de Nuez y Chile Ancho
4 to 5 servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: ancho chiles, chicken, Mexico, nuez, Pecan, Pollo, prunes, sauce
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Chicken in a Pecan and Ancho Chile Sauce recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 9, Episode 9 "Cooking for my Crew in Sonora"


  • 3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 unpeeled garlic clove
  • 4 cups homemade chicken broth, or store bought
  • 1 cup shelled pecans
  • 6 to 8 pitted prunes, about 1/4 cup tightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 4- to 5- pound chicken, cut up, breasts split and cut in half (10 pieces)

To Prepare

  • Heat a comal or small skillet over medium heat, and toast the stemmed, seeded ancho chiles until the skin changes color and the chiles begin to release fumes, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the onion and garlic clove to the comal or skillet. Toast, flipping the onion and garlic clove from side to side, until charred on the outside and softened inside, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat, set aside and when cool enough to handle, peel the garlic clove. Alternatively, char the onion and garlic under the broiler. Preheat the broiler with the rack arranged at the highest setting and cover a small sheet pan with foil. Broil the garlic for 5 to 8 minutes, turning halfway through, and the onion for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add the pecans, prunes and toasted ancho chiles. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until the chiles and prunes have rehydrated and plumped, and the pecans have softened. Set aside and let cool. Transfer to a blender, add the charred onion and garlic, and puree. If your blender is small, do this in batches.
  • Season the chicken with the salt and pepper.
  • Heat the oil in a large casserole or wide, heavy lidded skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, brown the chicken pieces, in batches, skin side down first then skin side up, until nicely colored, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a bowl or plate as each batch is done.
  • Reduce heat to low, and using the lid of the casserole or pan as a shield for splatters, pour in the pureed pecan sauce. It should bubble and splutter dramatically. Stir well, scraping all the bits up from the bottom of the pan, and return the chicken pieces to the pan. Cover, turn down the heat to medium low, and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan from time to time, until the chicken is completely cooked through and the sauce is thick and delicious. Taste and adjust seasoning.

33 comments on “Chicken in a Pecan and Ancho Chile Sauce

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  1. I just made this and it is amazing. I thought it would be spicy because my hands were burning from de-seeding the chiles but it wasn’t. It was just perfect, like all the rest of your delicious recipes. Gracias Pati for all your hard work creating these amazing recipes.

  2. Pati, I just recently started watching your show and me and my husband love it!!
    I’m getting ready to make this recipe for the second time! It’s delish!!

  3. You added aomethiythat sounds like “chesapine” but we don’t know what that is. I googled it but since I don’t know how it’s spelled, nothing came even clear to the word. And it’s not included in your recipe.

  4. Pati, my great grandmother lived in Juarez , chihuahua, and would make this dish. I loved seeing it in your program today and I can’t wait to make it this weekend. Thank you for the wonderful memories.

  5. If I just used chicken breast do you think the flavor would come out the same ? How many pounds should I use??? Thank you !!!

  6. Do you think this dish could be made without the chicken? We only eat some seafood. Have you tried it with shrimp or just served over veggies and rice?

    1. Never tried it with shrimp but I am sure it will work, also on top of some snapper or cod. You can serve it on top of rice as well, maybe add potatoes, carrots or mushrooms 😉

  7. Just wow…I am drooling for this at midnight while watching. I love watching your shows not only for the food but for your glowing/happy spirit; you truly enjoy what you are doing. Thank you for sharing your gift.

  8. I just made this… Sauce is delicious. I thought I saw on TV where you added cumin, chipolte, & alspice… But it came out great with just the basics. Thanx Pati, BTW, I can’t believe it’s almost 14 years now for PMT (Pat’s Mexican Table), looking forward to many more.

  9. Hi Pati, I just wanted to say thank you for this recipe. I made it today for my family and it turned out perfectly! And it’s great for the cold weather we have in Kentucky right now. I usually cook Persian food for my husband because he is from Iran. But I saw you make this on tv and I had to try it. The Persian people make a stew that is similar called fesanjun. So good.

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks so much for your feedback, so glad the family liked it! It is not the first time I hear this is a bit like Persian Fesanjun, yummy, I will have to try it soon 😉

  10. I made this tonight after seeing your show last weekend. It was delicious. My kids ate it right up, even the picky one! I subbed raisins for prunes since I forgot to buy them at the store, but will definitely make it again and use prunes. Just the right amount of spice! The sauce was just amazing over rice.

    1. SO glad all the family enjoyed this chicken recipe Tara, it is truly yummy. Hope you guys keep cooking together and having fun!

  11. Wow this recipe was amazing! Ufff! I used what I had at home and substituted the chiles anchos for chiles California because that’s what was in my pantry and also substituted the whole chicken for chicken thighs that I diced. Thank you so much Pati for sharing your knowledge and this wonderful recipe. It’s truly made a difference during this time of staying at home.

    1. So glad my recipes bring some comfort to you Yasmin, so glad you enjoyed this chicken and were able to sub ingredients for those in your pantry, great job!