POLLO EN CACHUATE 
(Chicken with Peanut Sauce)

This richly flavored sauce is somewhat reminiscent of Indian curry. The dish is wonderful served with any kind of rice dish. I particularly like the Arroz con Platanos or rice with plantains or rice with any kind of beans added. Any leftovers make wonderful soft tacos. Just roll the filling in warm, fresh corn tortillas.

Yield: 6 servings

1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, cut into chunks
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 chicken fryer, about 3 to 4 pounds, cut into serving pieces, or 6 chicken breasts or 12 thighs
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1, 1-inch cinnamon stick (Mexican canella is best)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1, 15 ounce can diced tomatoes or 3 tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup shelled peanuts, plus more for garnishing, optional
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 fresh jalapeno, minced

1. Heat the oil, about 1/8 cup in a skillet, sauté the onion and garlic until clear and slightly brown; then add cinnamon and allspice. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a blender.

2. Heat the rest of the oil in the same skillet and add the chicken. Sauté until golden brown on both sides. Add the stock and cinnamon stick and cook until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the stock, discarding the cinnamon stick.

3. To the blender, add the tomatoes, peanuts and ½ cup or more of the reserved stock. Blend until the sauce is very smooth, add the sherry and the jalapeno. Pour into the skillet containing the chicken. Cook, covered over low heat, until the sauce thickens slightly. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with a rice mold.

Notes: This dish can be served with rice or small new potatoes that have been steamed. You may also want to add some of the peanuts-sprinkle some on top of the sauce over the chicken, as you are serving.

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