Are you looking to explore Mexican cuisine beyond tacos and quesadillas? Try Mixiote de Pollo; it is an insanely delicious dish. Believe it or not, the Mixiotes de Pollo recipe has been popular in Mexico since prehistoric times.
The meat marinates in a homemade, mildly spicy Enchilada sauce wrapped in maguey leaves, banana leaves, or parchment paper, and it then goes into the steamer to cook. It’s a truly authentic Mexican dining experience that you won’t want to miss!
What Are Mixiotes?
Mixiotes are a traditional Mexican dish from the Valley of Mexico. They are named after the Nahuatl word “Mixiote,” meaning “maguey leaf bundle.” This cooking technique creates a tender and succulent meat, sealing in delightful flavors.
In traditional practice, people wrapped maguey leaves around the marinated chicken and simmered it in a pit oven or a stream of hot water. However, due to modern-day sustainability and accessibility concerns, it is now wrapped in banana leaves or parchment paper. But you can still enjoy this classic Mexican delicacy at home with simple adjustments.
While Mixiote de Pollo is traditionally barbecued over an open flame, you can still relish its flavors by preparing it in the oven. I have opted for steaming in this variation as it gently cooks the meat, producing juicy, tender meat with the perfect spice mix.
The mouthwatering flavor of the dish comes from a delicious Enchilada sauce made with a recipe mix of ancho chili peppers, guajillo peppers, cumin, coriander, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves salt, cloves, garlic, onions, and red bell peppers. The chicken thigh, along with the choice of maguey leaves, banana leaves, or parchment paper squares, is then wrapped in aluminum foil and steamed until fully cooked.
Mixiote de Pollo Ingredients
Ready to try your hand at making Mixiote de Pollo at home? The ingredient list for this dish is long, but these ingredients give their signature flavor. So, don’t be intimated or leave any ingredients out. You will thank yourself later!
- Ancho Chilis: Ancho chilis add a rich smoky flavor to the Mixiote.
- Guajillo Chilis: Guajillo chilis add lots of flavor to the dish. They give the chicken a mildly spicy, sweet, smoky flavor with a bit of tang to it.
- Kosher Salt: Kosher salt adds a salty flavor to the Enchilada sauce, making it taste amazing.
- Rosemary: Although a small amount of rosemary is used, it adds a robust citrus and mint flavor to the Mixiote.
- Thyme: Thyme adds an earthy, lemony flavor to the Enchilada sauce.
- Cumin Seed: Cumin seeds add a rich earthy flavor to the Enchilada sauce.
- Coriander Seeds: Coriander seeds add a rich floral note with a slight curry flavor.
- Mexican Oregano: Mexican oregano gives the Mixiote a lemony, citrusy flavor similar to licorice.
- Bay Leaf: Bay leaves add a sharp minty, peppery flavor.
- Cloves: Cloves add a warm, intense flavor to the dish.
- Allspice: Allspice adds a warm spicy flavor similar to nutmeg and cinnamon, which gives the dish an added depth of flavor.
- Garlic: Whole cloves of garlic add a subtle yet robust flavor that blends in with the spicy notes of the Enchilada sauce.
- Red Onion: Red onion add a mildly sweet flavor which contrasts beautifully with the spicy chili peppers.
- Red Bell Pepper: Red bell peppers add a sweet, subtle citrusy flavor to the Mixiote.
- White Wine Vinegar: The addition of white wine vinegar adds a touch of acidity, which helps balance out the spicy heat, salt, and sweet notes of the enchilada sauce.
- Chicken: For this recipe, I used chicken thighs and legs. You can use chicken legs, thighs, or breasts, but adjust the cooking time to prevent drying.
- Maguey Leaves: You can use fresh or dried Maguey leaves. They add a burst of sweet caramel flavor, which perfectly complements the spicy Enchilada sauce. However, fresh or dried Avocado leaves are a good substitute if you cannot find Maguey leaves.
- For wrapping: Maguey leaves or banana leaves (or parchment paper)
How to make the perfect Mixiote de Pollo?
We now have all the required ingredients, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making delicious Mixiotes:
First Step: Prepare the Sauce
To prepare the sauce, start by removing the chili veins and seeds, then toast the chilis until fragrant and soak them in hot water for 20 minutes. After soaking:
- Take them out, but don’t pour away the soaking liquid.
- Mix all your spices in a blender; combine one teaspoon of the spice mix with the drained chillis, whole cloves of garlic, onions, red bell peppers, vinegar, salt, and the soaking liquid.
- Blend until well combined, and you get a smooth thick sauce.
- Pour into a medium bowl and let it cool.
Second Step: Marinate the chicken
- After thoroughly cooling the sauce, gently place the chicken into the sauce, ensuring each piece is fully coated. Ensure that all are immersed in the sauce and cover the medium bowl tightly and refrigerate it. Allow it to marinate in the sauce for a minimum of a few hours, although overnight is my preferred duration.
Third Step: Assembling The Mixiotes De Pollo
- Prepare a steamer, boil water, and place a wrack on top.
- If using maguey leaves, soften them by briefly dipping them in hot water. If using banana leaves or parchment paper, cut them into large squares and shortly pass the banana leaves over an open flame to soften and make them pliable.
- Take a little red sauce from the bowl and spread it on a maguey leaf, banana leaf, or parchment paper square, then add a bay leaf and an avocado leaf. Put one chicken thigh and drumstick, and get a generous sauce spoon over the chicken.
- Fold the sides of the leaf or paper over the chicken to create a tight bundle, and tie it with kitchen twine. Then wrap the mixiotes in foil to prevent any leaking of the sauce.
- Place the Mixiotes bundles in a steamer basket, cover with a lid, and steam for about 1 hour and 30 minutes in medium heat or until the chicken is tender and cooked.
Fourth Step: Serve and Enjoy
- Once the Mixiotes are cooked, carefully unwrap them from the aluminum foil, leaves, or parchment paper and transfer them to serving plates. Spoon delicious sauce from the baking dish or steamer over the chicken to enhance the flavor. And garnish with fresh cilantro, tomatoes, cucumber, and chopped green onions for added freshness and color.
How To Serve Mixiote De Pollo
You can serve Mixiotes de Pollo, a versatile dish, in various ways. Check out some serving suggestions:
- You can eat over with Mexican-style rice and beans for a complete meal.
- Make tacos with tender and flavorful chicken, and top it with your favorite taco toppings such as avocado, salsa, and cheese.
- Use the Mixiotes as a filling for tacos or burritos, making a hearty and delicious meal.
Tips For Making Mixiote de Pollo
When it comes to making Mixiote, there are a few essential tips to keep in mind to ensure that you achieve this traditional dish’s authentic flavors and textures.
First, opt for chicken thighs, which are more flavorful and tender than chicken breasts. Also, I prefer not to remove the skin as it adds extra flavor. However, you can remove the skin if you want.
Next, you can marinate the meat for as little as one hour, but letting it marinate overnight will absorb the marinade’s flavors, giving the Mixiote an unbelievable depth.
And lastly, be sure to use maguey leaves or banana leaves (or parchment paper) to wrap the chicken, and cook it in low and slow medium heat to achieve that tender, juicy meat characteristic of Mixiotes.
And don’t forget the sauce! The sauce is an essential element of this recipe, typically made with a blend of dried chili peppers, onion, oregano, garlic, and other spices.
Storing and Reheating Mixiotes De Pollo
If you have leftovers or want to prepare this dish ahead of time, here’s the recipe on how to store and reheat them:
- Allow the Mixiote to cool to room temperature.
- Wrap them tightly in a plastic or aluminum foil, or transfer them to an airtight container.
- Store in the refrigerator for 3 days.
- To reheat, place the Mixiote in a steamer basket and steam in medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until heated through.
- Serve and enjoy!
You can make your own Mixiote de Pollo at home with these tips, recipes, and ingredients. It may take a little effort, but the result is a truly authentic and incredibly delicious Mexican dish worth every minute spent in your kitchen. So why not cook this recipe for your family and friends with this unique and flavorful culinary masterpiece? Happy cooking!
If you want to cook mixiote, you can easily use banana leaves or parchment paper as a substitute if Maguey leaves are not readily available in your area.
If there are any leftover mixiotes, you can store them by wrapping them in aluminum foil or putting them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Uncooked marinated chicken can also be stored in the refrigerator or fridge for up to 2 days, but cooking it as soon as possible is recommended.
Yes, you can. I suggest freezing uncooked marinated chicken as that will not alter the taste or texture of the dish. You can leave it to thaw in the fridge overnight and cook it, usually on medium heat, the next day.
You can serve Mixiote de Pollo with white rice, tortillas, beans, nopales (cactus paddles), or even a fresh cucumber and onion salad. You can also serve this dish with different dips and sauces. I would recommend a refreshing summer drink to really amplify the Mexican flavor.
Yes, Mixiotes is a traditional Mexican dish that can be prepared using different kinds of meat, such as beef, lamb, or pork. You just need to modify the cooking and marinating times accordingly based on the type of meat you’re using.
More delicious recipes
Mixiote de Pollo
- 8 Ancho dried chillis
- 8 Guajillo dried chillis
- 3 tbsp Kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp dried Rosemary
- 1/8 tsp dried Thyme
- 1/8 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1/8 tsp Coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
- 1 Bay leaf
- 8 whole Cloves
- 1 small red Onion, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 1 tbsp White wine vinegar
- 3 Chicken legs
- 3 Chicken thighs
- 3 fresh or dried Maguey leaves (or dried Avocado leave as a substitute)
- 2 cups Water
- Banana leaves
- Place the Ancho chillis and Guajillo chillis into a dry skillet and set it over medium-high heat.
- Toast the chillis for 3-5 minutes, turning them frequently to prevent them from burning.
- Remove the chillis from the skillet and place them on a cutting board. Remove the seeds and veins from each chili.
- Place the Ancho chillis into one bowl, and the Guajillo in another bowl. Add enough hot water to cover the chillis and add a tablespoon of salt to each.
- Soak the chillis for 20 minutes and then remove them from the liquid. Keep the soaking liquid.
- Place the rosemary, thyme, cumin, coriander, Mexican oregano, bay leaf, cloves, and allspice in a spice grinder and blend until it is smooth.
- Working in batches, add the drained chilis, 1 teaspoon of the ground spice mix, 2 garlic cloves, half of the onions, half of the red bell peppers, 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt, vinegar, and 1/2 cup of the chili soaking liquid to the blender and blend until smooth. Place the chili mixture into a large bowl and set it aside.
- Repeat until all the chillis have been blended.
- Add the chicken legs and thighs to the chili mixture and cover it with plastic wrap. Leave in the refrigerator overnight or at least for an hour.
- Place 2 cups of water into a pot and set it over medium-high heat. Add a steamer basket on top of the pot once the water has come to a boil.
- Cut three banana leaves into squares that are about 16 by 16 inches.
- Place 1 chicken drumstick, 1 chicken thigh, and 1 Maguey leaf in the center of each banana leaf sqaure.
- Bring the 4 edges of each square together and tie it with kitchen twine. Place the Mixiote de Pollo into the steamer basket, cover, and decrease the heat to medium-low. Cook for an hour.
- Place the Mixiote de Pollo onto a serving dish, cut the kitchen twine, and open the parchment paper to reveal the chicken inside.
- Serve on banana leaves with rice and any garnish you have on hand.