Friday, October 3, 2008

Aunt Mary's Pollo en Crema - Sorta Salvadorian Chicken Stewed in Cream

Aunt Mary's was a popular brunch restaurant here in San Francisco that served a wonderfully homey array of Mexican and Salvadorian dishes. Michele and I used to go every Sunday for a late breakfast (that's what brunch used to be called). She would always get the Huevos Rancheros, and my usual was the Pollo en Crema, which is the subject of today's video recipe.

Sometimes it's fun to cook a recipe that ignores the standard techniques that usually rule the production of my food. This recipe is a simple boiled chicken - no browning, no deglazing, no reducing, and no layering of flavors. As you'll see, you just toss all the ingredients into a pot and simmer it until tender and delicious.

My standard ethic recipe disclaimer applies; I'm not, nor have I ever been, Salvadorian. This is what I used to get at a restaurant that claimed to serve Salvadorian food, and they called it Pollo en Crema. I'm sure those of you in the know will point out if, and how, this varies from the "real" authentic recipe, but what I can tell everyone is that this simple pot of chicken is great food. Enjoy!

1 big chicken
1 onion
2 red bell pepper
2 jalapeno
2 Roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup sour cream, or Mexican crema
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
fresh chopped cilantro


Anonymous said...

yea! no techniques! :)

Unknown said...

wow!! another treat...for mouth and for eyes :) Waiting for that Spanish rice eagerly!!


Anonymous said...

That looks delicious! i have 2 questions tho, the sour cream is the one around 10-12% fat? or like Creame Fraichse(forgot the spelling) and how hot is this dish? Thinking about making it for the old folks! and you know how it is with old folks :P

Anyways, thanks!


Chef John said...

It's more like 15% fat. It's only as hot as you make it...don't add the jalapenos or cayenne, and add it to the individual bowls.

Robbie said...

That's a winner!

But, first let me provide this disclaimer: I am not Salvadorian.

But, an easy, tasty, dish is right up my alley. I will be making this soon.


Maggie said...

Oh yum. I have to try this sometime.
Lol did you really wait until morning to take a picture? :P
Anyways, looks really yummy!

Chef John said...

thanks, yes i did wait.
you have to suffer for your art.

PrimeBrit said...

As per a previous video post, you are a genius! This looks so easy and simply delicious!

WING said...

Hi Chef! I just recently found your site, and I love it. Anyway, this recipe really stood out to me as a simple, hearty, yet unique dish, so I actually made it just the other night. I made it with everything to spec, but I had one problem: the vegetables really lost their flavor. Once I sat down to enjoy a bowl, all I could really taste was the chicken and the spices, but the bell peppers, tomatoes, and even the herbs were totally lost to the chicken flavor. Do you think maybe it would be better to add some of the vegetables & herbs toward the end, so that they'd maintain their flavors?

Also, I used sour cream, and I didn't know how much of that I supposed to taste, but I couldn't really taste it toward the end. Again mostly just chicken and spice.

Lastly, do you have any videos on how to properly cut up a chicken after using this method? I ask this because I am not used to it and ended up with a bit of bones and useless fat back in the pot.

I hope I am making sense--I'm still learning!

Chef John said...

the veggies do give up their flavor to the broth. If you want them to be more pronounced you can add towards the end. The cream is just to add a bit of richness and tang. You can add more to your serving bowl if you want more. Cooking, especially for beginners is all about experimenting. My recipe video are meant to inspire not to be cloned. Next time you make it, it will be your recipe not mine. I did a video on cutting a chicken with scissors last month I think.

WING said...

Yeah, I agree--I guess my approach is usually clone first to get the basics down, then experiment the next time around. Just like on a guitar or something, you've gotta learn your scales before you can experiment!

Thanks for your help, though. It's all very informative.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John - Thanks for the recipe!
I;m making it now.

Stupid question: Do you bring it to a boil and turn it down, or let it sit at low heat for the hour?

Chef John said...

yes, bring up to a simmer, and lower heat and just simmer until tender. You can always add liquid if need be, so no big deal if the gas is a little high.

Unknown said...

Chef John,
Great Recipe. This came out wonderful. A real hit.
10-Q very much.

Unknown said...

Hey John,

I had some extra chicken breasts and sour creme so I decided to try a modified version of this. Everything came out well (I simmered for about 30 mins until the onions were soft and sweet) but when I cranked up the heat after removing the chicken, the sour creme was still curdled. Any ideas why this happened? I'm less concerned with this particular recipe than with finding a good way to have any diary that you add to hot stock get reincorporated and smooth.

Thanks as always!

Chef John said...

Not sure what happened, but if you want it to be foolproof use creme fraiche instead of sour cream, and cream instead of milk in sauce. They don't break.

Vig said...

Hi Chef,

I had to get dinner on for guests before I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. (I'd intended to get the house ready on Monday night, but I got free tickets to see the opening of Les Miz!) So, I got the chicken going, and started scrubbing, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping; all the while the house was filling with the wonderful aroma of great food.

I used low fat greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and it didn't break or curdle. Oh, I added too much salt, so I put in a pound of fingerling potatoes and a few chopped carrots at the end - which, thankfully, took care of the extra salt.

It was a wonderful meal, and I know I'll make it again.


Anonymous said...

My mom use to make it for me when I was a child. I think it tastes better with Central American Sour has a stronger flavor.

Anonymous said...

u should have used salvadorian crema
it would have made it more authentic
cuz salvadorian creme has a different taste than mexican creme
im not trying to say anything bad cuz i personally luv ur food
just giving u a tip:D

Vanessa said...

As a Salvadorian I LOVE this!!!

I got so tired of being lumped in with mexican food. My grandma made something like this and i was feeling homesick so this looks like my cure!

SO much love from a dislocated californian originaly dislocated from central america!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef, I made this soup last nite and it turned out great! thank you for explaining yourself very well and keeping it simple as well as your Ingredients.I enjoy your blogs!

Thank You

Anonymous said...

Please please pretty please Chef John make a video of this!!!!!

autumn said...

Can't wait to try it! I will cook it this coming week.

Unknown said...

Omg, I made this last night and it is certainly one of our new favorites. I took the advice of another poster and used the Salvadorian crema and it was incredible. Thanks Chef John, you're awesome!

Unknown said...

Omg, I made this last night and it is one of our new favorites. I will make this again and again. I took the advice of a previous poster and used the Salvadorian crema and it was incredible. I did use 2 pasilla peppers instead of the jalapenos. I came out INCREDIBLE. Thanks Chef John. You're Awesome!

chillyblast said...

Don't think about this recipie just go for it and make it....soooo easy sooooo tasty. I am so glad I stumbled upon Chef John's Salvadorian creme chicken recipe from aunty who ever...FANTASTICAL!! My neighbor's birthday this week, she work's til 9pm, this will be ready on her stove top when she arrives home Thursday EVENING. We love our Mexican dishes. Thanks your da Best Chef John!!! CHEERS Nancy

Faith said...

Making this tonight for probably the 50th time and I never get tired of it! I double the liquids and the veggies to stretch it further into a few days of leftovers that I hog all to myself. This really MUST be made with the spicy tomato rice, and I think it's not worth eating without an extra dollop of sour cream on top to melt into the broth. Probably my favourite foodwishes recipe of all time, and that's saying something, since 90% of my recipe book comes from this site.

Chef John said...

Thank you!