Chicken in Peanut Sauce (Pollo Encacahuatado)

Peanut Sauced Chicken

I decided to go Mexican style with this recipe.  Chicken thighs smothered in a peanut-based sauce.  YUM!!!  It had a lot of flavor and punch from the ancho chili and using thighs over boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  However, it lacked the vitamins we needed make this a more well-rounded meal.

Here is the original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens: Chicken in Peanut Sauce

Here are the original stats:

  • 389 Calories
  • 30g Fat
  • 80mg Cholesterol
  • 449mg Sodium
  • 238mg Potassium
  • 11g Carbohydrates
  • 7% Vitamin C
  • 4% Vitamin A
  • 1% Calcium
  • 3% Iron

I made a few changes to the recipe to up the nutrition:

  • 1 can of pumpkin puree to increase the vitamin A and replace the tomatoes
  • 3 red bell peppers to increase the vitamin C and replace the tomatoes
  • 1 cup of brown lentils to add protein and fiber without killing the calories
  • Increased the chicken broth to 3 cups to cook the lentils and add to the sauce

Here are the final stats:

  • 233 Calories
  • 11g Fat
  • 56mg Cholesterol
  • 181mg Sodium
  • 309mg Potassium
  • 17g Carbohydrates
  • 21g Protein
  • 52% Vitamin A
  • 45% Vitamin C
  • 2% Calcium
  • 14% Iron

Here is the updated recipe:

  • Large dried ancho chile pepper, stemmed and seeded*
  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz can pure pumpkin puree
  • 3 red bell peppers, chopped
  • cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  1. In a small bowl pour enough hot water over chile pepper to cover. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. If desired, skin chicken thighs and discard skin. Sprinkle chicken thighs lightly with salt and black pepper. In a large skillet cook chicken thighs in hot oil over medium to medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Remove thighs from skillet; set aside. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from skillet.
  3. Add the bell pepper to the pan and cook until soft.  Remove from the pan.
  4. Bring 2 cups of chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan.  Add the lentils and cook covered on low heat for 15 minutes.  Set aside.
  5. Drain ancho chile pepper; pat dry with paper towels. Tear chile into small pieces. Add chile pepper pieces, onion, and garlic to reserved oil in skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until onion is tender.
  6. Transfer onion mixture to a food processor or blender. Cover and pulse with several on/off turns until a smooth paste forms. Add pumpkin,  1 cup broth, peanuts, half the sauted bell peppers and canela. Cover and pulse with several on/off turns until smooth. Return mixture to the skillet. Add chicken thighs. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, turning chicken once.
  7. Shred the cooked chicken and add the cooked lentils.
  8. Garnish with cilantro. If desired, serve with hot cooked rice.

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