November 26, 2019


Pipián de Almendra

1/2 cup unhulled sesame seeds (2 1/2 ounces)

1 recipe Poached Chicken (page 242), including 4 to 5 cups of stock, divided

1 1/2 cups blanched almonds (8 ounces)

2 fresh jalapeno or serrano chiles,

coarsely chopped, including seeds

2 garlic cloves, peeled

4 fresh mint leaves

2 large whole allspice berries

1 whole clove

1/4 teaspoon fine salt, or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons mild olive oil or vegetable oil

1 cup pitted green olives (5 ounces)

chiles (from a 7-ounce can)

2 tablespoons mild olive oil or vegetable oil

1 cup drained rinsed capers (l’/z ounces)

You'll come across this snowy white sauce in Mexico City, and it's so easy to make at home. The rich, savory pipián is surprisingly complex tasting, despite it's short ingredient list. And each bite brings the unexpected saltiness and acidity of green olives, capers, and pickled jalapeños.

★ HEAT a small skillet over medium heat and toast the sesame seeds, stirring and tossing constantly, until they're fragrant and a shade darker, about 4 minutes.

★ PUT the sesame seeds in the blender jar along with 2 cups of the stock and the almonds, fresh chiles, garlic, mint, allspice, clove, and salt. Blend until the mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes.

★ HEAT the oil in a 5- to G-guart heavy pot (this will give you enough room to add the chicken later; if you're making just the sauce, a 3- to 4-quart pot is fine) over medium heat until it shimmers. Then carefully pour the sauce into the pot (it m a y splatter). Simmer, uncovered (use a splatter screen so the sauce doesn't make a m e ss of the stove), stirring frequently until it has thickened slightly about 10 minutes. As it's simmering, swish a little liquid around in the blender and add it to the pot. Add about 2 more cups of stock to the sauce, or enough to thin it to a velvety consistency that thickly coats a wooden spoon, but isn't gloppy. Add the olives, pickled jalapenos, and capers, and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt.

★ ADD the chicken to the sauce, reduce the heat to low, and cook until it's just heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve it with Corn Tortillas (page 39), rice, beans, or any other side you like (pages 246—256].

This almendrado keeps in the refrigerator for up to two days.