Margarita's International Recipes
Pollo a la Jardín de San Marcos
San Marcos Garden Chicken
Pollo a la Jardín de San Marcos is Aguascaliente's most famous culinary offering, most likely due to the romantic story associated with it. As the story goes, Don Florent was a young, handosome and very rich hacendado living in Aguascalientes. One day, during the famoous San Marcos festival, he met the beautiful Doña Lara. It was love at first sight and the two quickly married and went on to life in their ranch. But there was one problem, despite Don Florent being a cattle rancher, he was "allergic" to meat. All he would eat was chicken which mean that that was all Doña Lara could eat as well – for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It didn't take long before Doña Lara became tired of such fare. Her solution? Add some extra elements to a chicken dish so that there could be some variety in the plate: a chorizo, fried potatoes and chilis. Apparently, Don Florent was so proud of his wife, that he invited all the other ranchers to dinner to try her creation and eventually Pollo a la Jardín de San Marcos became a celebrated dish at the San Marcos festival.
It's a wonderful story, which makes it all the sadder that I didn't actually recreate the dish that Doña Lara invented (though I'm copying the whole recipe below). I didn't have chorizo or lettuce at home, I don't like chilis, so I simply made the chicken, the potatoes and the sauce and served that. The results were quite tasty, a nice meal, even if not an extraordinary one. I think the chorizo would have added a nice extra element to the dish and I would recommend you include it if you make this dish yourself.
San Marcos Garden Chicken
For the sauce
- 1 1/2 lbs tomatoes (or substitute with 1 28 oz can whole or diced tomatoes)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 cup vinegar (or less)
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
For the chicken
- 4 lb chicken pieces
- 1 yellow onion, quartered
- 2 garlic cloves
For the rest of the dish
- 1 lb potatoes, peeled & sliced
- oil for frying
- 3 chorizos
- jarred chilis in vinegar
- lettuce leaves (for garnishing)
Put the tomatoes and the chicken broth in a sauce pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool and transfer to a blender. Add the garlic, cinnamon, oregano and clove and blend well. Add the vinegar, a little at the time and tasting to make sure it has the right acidity. Season to taste. Stir in the onion. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer, add the chicken pieces, onion and garlic and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 30-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in salted water until they are cooked through. Remove from the water and set aside.
Transfer the chicken pieces to the bowl with the sauce and stir to make sure they are covered in the sauce.
Heat 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook. Remove chorizo and keep warm.
Add a thick layer of oil to the pan and heat over high heat. Remove chicken pieces from the marinade, wipe sauce away and fry until golden. Remove and keep warm. You may need to do this in batches.
Adding more oil if necessary, fry the potato slices until golden. Remove & drain.
Serve the chicken, chorizo, potato slices and chilis on a plate garnished with lettuce leaves. Accompany with the sauce.
Adapted from a recipe in Blanca Nieto's Cocina Tradicional Mexicana
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