A Spicy Perspective

Pollo Rojo (Red Pepper Chicken)

Pollo Rojo (Red Pepper Chicken)Pollo Rojo (Red Pepper Chicken) – A Latin inspired dish with big personality. Healthy, hearty and habit-forming… in a good way.

Pollo Rojo (Red Pepper Chicken)
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I have a certain endearment to chile peppers.

Although I love spicy food, that is not the reason for my appreciation. My love for chiles has more to do with their color, intensity, versatility and universal appeal.

Every country, every culinary endeavor throughout history, has been affected by the chile pepper. Even European cuisine, although generally considered mild and rich, has been deeply influenced by this ancient self-pollinating crop.

In certain regions, chiles have a long legacy as a dietary staple. Yet, once Columbus discovered the American varieties of chile peppers, their influence literally took over the world.

Making Pollo Rojo - Chicken Mole Recipe #healthy

More than just heat, chile peppers lend vibrance to otherwise boring dishes. They offer deep smoky flavor, sweetness, and even the acidic note that certain dishes need.

As for versatility, chile peppers are used for all sorts of things around the world including: warding off pests in fields, as dyes, and to keep feet warm in socks. Loaded with Vitamin C and Capsaicin, (a powerful antioxidant) they are thought to cure:

  • Migraines
  • Sinus Issues
  • intestinal disease
  • Heart Attacks
  • Cancer
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Toothaches
  • Joint Pain
  • Promote Weight Loss

I love to grow fresh peppers in the summer. But this time of year, I rely heavily on the dried varieties.

How to Make Pollo Rojo - Chicken Mole Recipe #healthy

I recently bought a large bag of red “New Mexico” Chiles at the grocery store. It was somewhat of a perplexing experience, because the bag labeled “New Mexico” chiles read “Grown in Mexico” in small print.

Directly next to them on the shelf were bags of identical-looking “California” chiles, “Grown in Peru.” You see the problem here?

Sometimes when you buy chiles in bulk, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting.

What I discovered was that these red chiles are all Anaheims. The heat may vary a tad, due to the climate in which they are grown. Yet they are the same pepper, and are considered the standard chile pepper for Latin-American and Southwest cooking.

Reconstituting dried chiles unleashes a mass of flavor and untold possibilities.

This easy Pollo Rojo (Red Pepper Chicken), a simple chicken mole recipe features a bold, deeply smokey, and mildly spicy, red pepper sauce, made out of reconstituted New Mexico chiles.

Healthy Pollo Rojo - Chicken Mole Recipe #healthy

I sautéed some thinly sliced chicken cutlets and blanketed them with warm vivid red pepper sauce.

The red pepper sauce offers a rustic quality with a touch of sweetness that makes the chicken ridiculously exciting. It’s a brilliant sauce for the Pollo Rojo (Red Pepper Chicken) but is fantastic on beef and pork as well.

This Pollo Rojo (Red Pepper Chicken) recipe is a family favorite, full of healthy goodness and spice!

Pollo Rojo - Chicken Mole Recipe #healthy

More Latin-Inspired Dishes:

Pollo Rojo (Red Pepper Chicken) Recipe
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Pollo Rojo (Red Pepper Chicken)

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Pollo Rojo (Red Pepper Chicken) - A Latin-inspired dish with big personality! This chicken mole recipe is healthy, hearty and habit-forming.
Servings: 4


For the Red Pepper Mole:

For the Red Pepper Chicken:

  • 2 pounds chicken cutlets (thinly sliced breast meat)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper


  • Prepare a bowl of boiling hot water. Place the chiles in the water and allow them to soak for 10-15 minutes, until soft to the touch.
  • Remove the stems, seeds, and membranes, rinsing each pepper in the bowl. Then place in a food processor
  • Add the garlic cloves and half the chicken stock. Puree until smooth. Then add the cumin, honey, vinegar, salt and remaining stock. Puree again until smooth. Taste and salt again if needed. The sauce should have a very intense flavor, but not be overly spicy if the seeds and membranes are properly removed.
  • Heat a large to medium-high heat. Pat the chicken cutlets dry and salt the pepper on both sides.
  • Add the oil and butter to the skillet. Once melted, place half the cutlets in the pan. Saute for 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining cutlets.
  • To serve: Warm the red pepper sauce and pour over the chicken. Garnish with cilantro leaves or queso fresco.


Serving: 8ounces, Calories: 441kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 53g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 154mg, Sodium: 682mg, Potassium: 1436mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 1675IU, Vitamin C: 229.5mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 3.6mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: Sommer Collier

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56 comments on “Pollo Rojo (Red Pepper Chicken)”

  1. this was delicious! My husband is no fan of hot spicy foods and you said it wouldn’t be “hot” and it wasn’t just enough heat and so flavorful. I was a bit intimidated with the California peppers but the sauce turned out great no problems. Unfortunately my food processor broke after I was adding the stock the large pusher tube broke so the safety mechanism wouldn’t allow it ti run so I had to switch everything to my Vitamix. Just a little messy. I served it along with some roasted potatoes Thanks !

  2. Delish

  3. I followed to recipe to the t, but it looks nothing like the photo. The sauce turned out watery for me. Any suggestions?

    • Hey Melissa, I’m not sure why that would have happened. But what I would do to thicken the sauce is to place a sieve over a bowl and line in with a paper towel. Pour the sauce into the sieve and drain until the desired consistency is reached.

      Let me know how it turns out!

  4. Recipe looks fabulous. Found it on Pinterest. Can’t wait to try it!

  5. Pingback: Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes | TidyMom

  6. I just made the sauce and it’s watery. Is there a thickening agent you used? I used 1 cup stock and the other ingredients and it’s not thick like the picture.

  7. I am a card-carrying Chile-Head and adore them all – from the mildest to the hottest – and this looks wonderful to me.

  8. YUM!! I make a similar sauce for chilequiles :)

  9. I could almost smell the spicy goodness of this dish :-)

  10. As has already been said, the color of that sauce is amazing! And I’m sure it tastes even better! This looks so tasty…I just wish we lived closer. Thank you for making me smile after a long day at work…sorry I haven’t stopped by sooner. I’ve been adjusting to my crazy-busy schedule. Hugs and love!

  11. I’m heading out the door right now to buy a batch of those wonderful pepper.

  12. You can never go wrong with chiles.. great round up of latin inspired dishes…

  13. Yum! I’ve never bought those bags of dried chilis but I’m going to have to try this–looks delicious!

  14. Wow, this is a beautiful dish! I just love the red color of the sauce. Looks fantastic.

  15. It is pretty amazing what you can do with chilies! I love that they’re so unbelievably packed with flavor and yet so inexpensive. One of the best bargains in the market if you ask me…

  16. This is gorgeous, I cannot get over how vibrant this dish is. Your photos are stunning.

  17. I saw this photo and then read your description. I was grasping for the words but you said it right. This looks like it has tons of personality. Yum! The colors are terrific. Dinner at your house must be so fun!

  18. oh, that looks delish!

  19. I use red chiles all the time for enchiladas! This is wonderful!!!

  20. I can’t get peppers like that here, but I can get jars of roasted pimientos, which will be perfect for this – the hubs can add Tabasco (which is the only hot sauce we can get LOL)

  21. Ohhh sweet..so I can live n peppers and not have migraines?? That would be wonderful! What a beautiful and tasty dish!

  22. Wow, simple and beautiful my kind of cooking, thanks for the inspiration :).

  23. I could inhale this every. single. day. *love*

  24. This dish reminds me of Pollo adobado. YUM! The sauce looks amazing.

  25. Oh Sommer! This is making me drool, even early in the morning. I bought some dried chiles that have been hanging out in my pantry. Looks like I should get them out and get to cooking. YUM!

  26. The color of this sauce is amazing I bet the flavor is even better! Nice to know the heat is manageable. Wish you could cook me dinner!

  27. I love your food, all the spices mixed together. The food simply looks amazing un every single post and this chicken is no exception

  28. We would love this for dinner!

  29. Such simple ingredients yet tons of flavor… love it!

  30. I am sometimes a wuss when it comes to spicy foods, but my husband loves them. He would go crazy for this chicken…and I love the bright red color in it! Definitely bookmarking for a surprise dinner :)

  31. delicious looking colourful presentation

  32. One tried and true source for New Mexico chiles is http://www.hatchchilefest.com/index.php.

  33. Yum! We grow chiles year round, and we normally have 8-10 different varieties of dried. I love the sound of this dish!

  34. Heaven! I love chiles. I will definitely want to prepare this dish.

  35. This is beautiful and so simple! My hubby would absolutely love this dish. And I don’t doubt I would probably have seconds!

  36. What a beautiful recipe, Sommer! The chicken looks so moist and that sauce on top make ‘the pollo” even more delicious. Have a great day!

    HUGS <3

  37. This looks absolutely amazing! I love that this REALLY uses the peppers and doesn’t just sprinkle some piddle amount of flakes or something in it. Buzzed!

  38. Fabulous! The color is amazing!

  39. I love all peppers – this eye popping Red Pepper Sauce is gorgeous!

  40. Oh Sommer, Swoon! I adore pollo rojo! Wishing I had that for lunch right about NOW.

  41. We have a favorite Restaurant in Santa Fe, NM that has the best red chili sauce ever. That is a least what my husband says. He is the expert. We buy it in bulk and bring it home with us whenever we make it down there. Somehow I never thought of trying to make it myself. Don’t ask me why. It looks so easy. I will have to make yours and compare it. Thanks for the inspiration. Kirsten

  42. Awesome recipe. That’s a lot of cumin. Just the way I like it!

  43. This looks like a beautiful recipe, and I love that you served black beans! I grew up eating chilies and love seeing them used this way!

  44. I agree with you. And all the benefits of chili make it even hotter to have!

  45. I really have to try this, although my dried peppers are incredibly hot.

  46. Gorgeous. I want to make something with them for that color alone!

  47. Beautiful, healthy AND yummy!!!

  48. You’ve inspired me. BOOKMARKED. I’m freaking out.

  49. I would kill for this. It looks amazing. The honey sounds like a great touch!

  50. I want to eat that entire plate of food RIGHT NOW. I adore all things chile peppers and this dish looks absolutely amazing! Not to mention the gorgeous photos!

  51. Mmm, looks amazing! I love red peppers, and cumin sounds like a grand way to accentuate them! I imagine this must pack such a flavor punch :) Looks wodnerful, I really need to expand my Latin cooking horizon!