Tocatlán Chicken (Pollo Tocatlán)

Tocatlán is a city that is located in the Mexican State of Tlaxcala; this recipe for chicken is part of the traditional cuisine of that state. This state has a very special history as its native meso-american civilization, the Tlaxcalans (Tlaxcaltecas), have enjoyed a special status since the beginning of Colonial Mexico, as they have provided help to the Spaniards to conquer the Aztecs.

Due to the blockade the Aztecs had imposed on their landlocked territory, the Tlaxcalans were left with no possibility to find salt to season their dishes. So instead they turned to the tequesquite as a substitute and developed their cuisine around it, which gives their dishes a special touch. The cuisine of the region has been enriched by an abundance of herbs and plants such as cilantro, parsley, epazote, quintoniles, purslane, huauzontle, pipitza, green tomatoes, green onions, different chiles, and finally the Nopal cactus, from which its fruit the xoconoxtle is harvested. Flowers such as the cassava, zompantle or colorín are also widely used in this cuisine. So presenting here the Tocatlán Chicken, an authentic recipe from this area of Mexico with that special touch from Tlaxcala ...

| Yield: 6 servings | Preparation: | Cooking time: | Total time: | | by:

Recipe for Tocatlán Chicken

Ingredients for 6 guests:

* 2 chickens, cleaned then cut into pieces,
* Mixiote (Maguey) leaves, soaked then drained (Substitute Mixiote for banana leaves if unavailable)
* Tequesquite, 1 pinch
* Salt, to taste
* Refried beans, seasoned to your taste

For the green Salsa
* 4 tablespoons corn oil
* 1 large onion, finely chopped
* 6 serrano chilies, more to taste
* 1 lb. of chopped small tomatillos, or green tomatoes
* 8 nopal cactus pads well trimmed and cut in strips
* 1 packed cup chopped cilantro
* 1/2 cup liquid chicken broth
* Salt to taste


1) First we need to make the green salsa; fry the chopped onion in the oil, with the garlic and chilies; after 2 minutes add in the nopal strips, the tomatoes and chopped cilantro; season with salt. Fry over medium heat setting until all ingredients are thoroughly cooked, then blend using a blender, with 1/2 cup chicken broth. If the resulting salsa becomes too thick add more chicken broth.

2) Season the pieces of chicken with the tequesquite and salt then place them in the maguey leaves, pour the salsa over, then wrap the leaves around the chicken and salsa tightly and as hermetically as possible, tying them up with other strips of mixiote, then cook in a steamer for one hour or until the chicken is well done.

Serve Chicken Tocatlán Chicken with the refried beans

a hot pepper