This sauce originated in Huatusco, in north central Veracruz. Comapeños are very small, dried red chiles abundant in this region. You can substitute chiles de arbol for the comapeños, but I recommend using less, since I find the arbol chiles to be hotter. If you do any traveling around Mexico, look for comapeño chiles in the markets of Orizaba and Cordoba, Veracruz.
This recipe is adapted from Larousse de la Cocina Mexicana by Alicia Gironella de’ Angeli and Giorgio de’ Angeli. It is also good made with pork.
For the chicken:
- 2 pounds of chicken leg and thigh pieces
- 2 quarts water
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
- ½ medium onion, peeled
- salt to taste
For the tlatonile:
- 15 comapeño chiles, seeded
- 1 ancho chile, seeded and deveined
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 4 tablespoons corn oil
- 1-2 sprigs epazote
Cook the chicken in the water with garlic, onion and salt until cooked through, about 40 minutes. Strain and reserve the broth.
In a dry pan, roast the chiles, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds until the chiles are just fragrant, turning them once. Make sure not to cook them for too long, since scorching them imparts a bitter flavor. Grind the chiles and seeds with a little broth in a blender or molcajeteto form a paste.
Heat the oil in a large pot or cazuela, add the chile paste and cook, stirring constantly, for15 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups of the reserved broth, the cooked chicken pieces and the epazote. Let the tlatonile cook for another 10 minutes over low heat, adding more broth if necessary. It should have the consistency of heavy cream.
Serve with white rice. Serves 6.
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