Plaza-Style Chicken: Pollo Placero

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

From early evening until late at night, stands are set up in the plazas of Morelia, Pátzcuaro and other cities in Michoacan selling this popular supper. We watched women bring the different elements of this dish – chicken, vegetables and enchilada sauce – which had been pre-cooked at home, then heat them in hot oil or lard just before serving individual customers. The same thing is easy to do for guests, preparing the chicken, vegetables and enchilada sauce separately, ahead of time, and frying and assembling just before serving. Use individual oval platters if possible.

For the chicken:
1 chicken, quartered
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 sprig each thyme and oregano
salt to taste
1 ½ pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup of the chicken cooking broth
lard or corn oil for frying

Place the chicken, ½ of the onion, the garlic, herbs and salt to taste in a large pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil, lower heat and cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate, cover. Strain and reserve the broth

Put the remaining ½ onion in a blender with the tomatoes, sugar and 1 cup of the reserved chicken broth; blend briefly. Sauce should have a somewhat chunky texture. Pour into a saucepan with a little hot corn oil. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add salt to taste.

Remove the skin from the chicken. Heat the lard or oil in a large frying pan and sauté it until golden brown. Spoon the tomato sauce generously over the chicken pieces, top with shredded lettuce and place a chicken quarter in the middle of each individual platter. Place the vegetables (see below) on one side and the enchiladas (see below) on the other. Serve immediately.

For the vegetables:
3 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled, diced and boiled
corn oil or lard for frying

Place the cooked potatoes and carrots in a frying pan with hot corn oil or lard and cook, turning with a spatula, until they are heated through, approximately 1 minute. (This will take longer if vegetables are cooked ahead of time.) Place vegetables alongside the chicken on individual serving platters.

For the enchiladas:
 ancho chiles, seeded, deveined and soaked in hot water until soft
guajillo chiles, seeded, deveined and soaked in hot water until soft
2 tomatoes, roasted and peeled
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
pinch oregano
3 cups reserved chicken broth
salt to taste
8 corn tortillas
lard or corn oil for frying
4 ounces queso cotijaañejo or mild feta, crumbled

Place the chiles, tomatoes, garlic and oregano in a blender with the chicken broth and puree until smooth. Heat a little corn oil or lard in a saucepan and pour the puree through a strainer, pressing to obtain as much as possible, into the hot oil. Cover and cook over medium heat 15 minutes.

Dip each tortilla into the hot sauce, then into a frying pan with hot oil or lard, being careful because the sauce will splatter. Use a spatula to fold each one in half. Place two enchiladas on one side of the chicken, opposite the vegetables, on individual platters. Top the folded tortillas with additional sauce and crumbled cheese.

Serves 4.

Source Article: The Cuisine of Michoacán: Mexican Soul Food

Published or Updated on: January 1, 2004 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2008
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