Rosalia Sr.'s Pollo Pipian

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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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


  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.