Chicken Smothered in Chile de Arbol Pipián Sauce

Chicken and vegetables smothered in a chile de arbol pecan sauce and served over rice. @MJsKitchen


As promised in my last post, I’m sharing my recipe for Chicken and Vegetables smothered in Chile de Arbol Pipián Sauce.  This dish is a complete meal and, if you’ve already made the sauce, it is a relatively quick and easy meal to throw together.  Even through the sauce takes less than 30 minutes to make, I usually make it on the weekend,  then all I have to do when I’m ready to make this meal, is chop, sauté and heat through. When I feel like a meatless meal, I leave out the chicken and just add larger amounts of the vegetables.  It’s all good!

This meal consists of chicken, mushrooms, onions and bell peppers sautéed, then smothered in the chile de arbol pipián and served over rice.  We’ve had it over white rice, brown rice and a wild/brown rice blend.  The wild/brown rice blend is our favorite.  It provides a crunchy texture and nutty flavor that complements the rest of the meal quite well.  To round out the meal, you could add some fresh, chopped lettuce, cilantro, green onions, tomatoes, or sliced cucumber, whatever fits the mood.  The following recipe yields 4 single servings, which gives us two complete meals. If you’re only serving for two, reduce the amount of chopped lettuce to 1 cup, then just chop more when you have the leftovers for another meal.


A deliciously healthy meal with chicken and vegetables smothered in a chile de arbol pecan sauce. @MJsKitchen


Chicken and Vegetables Smothered in Chile de Arbol Pipián Sauce

Yields 4 single servings
Prep and Cook time: less than 45 minutes

Recipe Author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen


1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 large chicken tenders or 2 chicken breasts, each cut crosswise into 6 pieces
Black pepper
½ large onion, thinly sliced
½ large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
~2 cups Chile de Arbol Pipián Sauce
Salt to taste
2 cups lettuce, cut into strips*

Topping (Pick one or two)

Green onion with greens tops, minced
Red chile powder of choice (We like a sweet paprika)
Cucumber slices
Chopped tomatoes

For the rice

For brown rice or a wild/brown rice blend, use the recipe at this link:  Wild Rice and Brown Rice Blend

For White Rice
2 cups water or chicken stock
1 cup rice
Bring water to a boil, add the rice, reduce heat to low and cook 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.


  1. Start the rice and let it simmer while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Lightly pepper the chicken pieces. Add to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes per side. (Depending on the size of your skillet, you might need to cook the chicken in two batches.)
  4. Transfer the chicken from the skillet to a plate and set aside.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the onion and bell pepper. Saute’ for 2 minutes then add the mushrooms.
  6. Saute’, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms start to release their moisture.
  7. Add the chile de arbol sauce to the skillet and stir.  Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. NOTE:  If the sauce gets too thick, add a little water.
  8. While the vegetables are simmering, use two forks (or your fingers) and pull the chicken pieces apart into bite size pieces.*
  9. Return the chicken to the skillet along with any liquid that is on the plate. Stir to coat the chicken with the sauce.  Cover and simmer for 3 minutes.
  10. Taste. Add salt if needed.
  11. Assemble and serve.

To Assemble

  • Place a serving of rice in the bottom of a bowl.
  • Top with some of the shredded lettuce.
  • Top with desired amount of chicken mixture.
  • Line the edge of the bowl with cucumber slices or tomatoes, and lightly salt.
  • Sprinkle dish with paprika/chile powder, chopped cilantro, or chopped green onions if desired.

*See Kitchen Notes



A deliciously healthy meal with chicken and vegetables smothered in a chile de arbol pecan sauce. @MJsKitchen


Kitchen Notes

Serving Method – As you can see from the pictures, there are actually two ways that you can serve this dish.  I usually just smother everything in the pipián sauce as shown above; however, if you want a fancy presentation, then arrange the chicken and vegetables on top of the rice as shown in the second picture and scoop some hot sauce into the middle.  When you scoop up a bite, grab a little sauce with it.  If using this latter presentation, be sure that the chicken is just cooked but not dry in step 2 of the instructions. When you remove from the skillet, cover to keep warm. You could also eliminate step 7 if you choose.

The Lettuce – Romaine or iceberg work best because they hold up to the sauce and they don’t get too soggy.  I haven’t tried thinly shredded kale or savoy cabbage, but I think either one of those would also work.  The greens not only make this meal more nutritious, but adds another texture which we enjoy.

Vegetarian version – Eliminate the chicken and use a whole onion and bell pepper, then about 4 cups of mushrooms.

Leftovers – Since it’s just the two of us, we always get two meals from this recipe.  Most times, we’ll just have it twice in one week.  But since it freezes so well, I’ve have been known to freeze it.  When I get ready to make it, all I have to do is thaw, reheat and make the rice.

Here are some other chicken and vegetables dishes that you might enjoy:

Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables

Green Chile Chicken and Mushroom Soup

Orange Ginger Chicken Salad

Thai Chicken and Vegetables

Chile de arbol pipián smothered chicken and vegetables is one of my favorite ways to use this chile de arbol pipián .  However, it’s not the only way and based on the comments I received from my last post, I have a few more dishes to try it with. 🙂



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59 Responses to “Chicken Smothered in Chile de Arbol Pipián Sauce”

  1. Ramona April 15, 2014 at 5:10 am #

    This chili de arbol pecan sauce sounds amazing… hand me a spoon. 🙂

  2. preethi March 23, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    Wow !!! nutritious combo, exquisite recipe for my next Sunday.. Thank you MJ for sharing a wonderful dish. Happy Cooking !!!

    • mj March 23, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

      Thanks so much Preethi! I hope you enjoy it!! Please let me know how you like it.

  3. Debra March 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    So glad you posted this and I finally got around to reading it. I am so behind!!!!!

  4. Jussi Tinnemeyer March 18, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    This looks great. I like that you can have it with our without the chicken. We’ll have to make this! Great pictures too!

    • mj March 19, 2014 at 8:26 am #

      Thanks Jussi! Honestly, this dish is just as good without the chicken. Hope you enjoy!

  5. Vicki Bensinger March 18, 2014 at 5:23 am #

    I think you and your hubby should open a restaurant. This dish with the sauce sound amazing. Talk about having a party in your mouth, this will do the trick. Great recipe!

    I’m about ready to throw in the towel on blogging. Everyone always has such stunning photos and I’m still struggling with mine. I can’t seem to figure it out and no one else knows how to either. I can’t wait until my pics look like yours.

    • mj March 19, 2014 at 8:25 am #

      What a sweet comment Vicki! Thanks!!! Actually when I was younger I did want to open a restaurant, but now I just see it as a lot of work. 🙂 Oh, please don’t throw in the towel on blogging. I LOVE what you dish up!!! Our blogs are not about the pictures, they are about the food and you dish up some GREAT food! In reference to my pictures, I cheat – I live with a professional photographer so I receive a lot of mentoring. He He. He has taught me well.

  6. Ann Low March 17, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful recipe. I love that sauce, looks so delicious with chicken and vegetables 🙂

  7. Dedy@Dentist Chef March 17, 2014 at 6:09 am #

    wow, looks delicious!!!
    the photograph is very stunning..
    did u’ve got foodgawker or tstespotting account???

    • mj March 19, 2014 at 8:21 am #

      Deby, thanks so much for your comment! I’m not a photographer so comments about my photos really put a smile on my face. 🙂 Yes, I do submit to the food porn sites and sometimes get accepted. 🙂

  8. Sissi March 15, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    It’s as if you were reading in my mind… I really loved the chile de arbol pecan sauce, so I’m thrilled to see this recipe (especially since chicken is my “default” meat). It looks amazing.

    • mj March 16, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      Thanks so much Sissi! Yep – chicken is my default meat as well. 🙂

  9. Nami | Just One Cookbook March 14, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    This sounds fabulous, MJ! I love how you used the dark plate/bowl so that the food stands out and it looks beautiful. The pecan sauce? I don’t think I’ve tried something like that before and I’d love to taste it. I need to remember this sauce’s name. 😉

    • mj March 16, 2014 at 10:03 am #

      Thanks Nami! I have to admit that the black bowl was the third bowl I tried and, for the reason you mentioned, the one I chose. 🙂 I hope you get to try this sauce and dish for that matter. It’s quite different from your cuisine, but I think you would enjoy it.

  10. Bill March 14, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    Could you please make this for me and FedEx it overnight? Seriously, this dish looks so delicious, MJ! Being a Mississippi boy, anything with pecans gets my attention. Such an unusual combination of ingredients and I’m totally intrigued. Great post, MJ!

    • mj March 16, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      I wish I could Bill. 🙂 Yep – growing up right next door to you in Louisiana gave me a love of pecans as well. We had a huge pecan tree in the backyard, so eating fresh pecans was easy, but it also spoiled me. I’m very picky. 🙂 Thanks for your comments Bill!

  11. Viviane Bauquet Farre March 14, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    That sauce looks AMAZING, Mj. What a lovely, comforting dish.

  12. swathi March 14, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    Love those bowl, I like to do a taste test. Pecan sauce is awesome.

    • mj March 16, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      Thanks Swathi! I’m like you – I do like a good pecan sauce. 🙂

  13. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen March 13, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    I can already imagine how this would taste like! Nice recipe!

  14. Nancy/SpicieFoodie March 13, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    I love the word “smothered” and your chicken is exactly what I picture when I hear it. MJ, this is such a fantastic recipe. Now I need to go buy some pecans to give it a try.

    • mj March 16, 2014 at 9:52 am #

      Thanks Nancy! As much as you enjoy chile de arbol, I’m sure you’d like this recipe. Hope you’re having a great weekend.

  15. Liz March 13, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

    What a gorgeous presentation! I’m off to check out your pecan sauce 🙂

    • mj March 13, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      Thanks Liz!

  16. Eva Taylor March 13, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    Hi MJ, thank you for your comments on my blog. I adore Mexican or South Western Foods but our repertoire for this cuisine is rather limited (chicken fajitas, guacamole, ceviche, Sopa Azteca and a couple of Mexican ‘inspired’ dips) so I’m going to be back to check out your blog to be inspired. Thanks again for dropping by my blog.

    • mj March 13, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

      You are most welcome Eva and thanks for coming over to check out my kitchen. I hope you find a lot of flavors and dishes that you like here. Looking forward to sharing with you.

  17. Minnie@thelady8home March 13, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    That does look like a perfect meal!! Absolutely delicious!

    • mj March 13, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

      Thanks Minnie!

  18. Jodee Weiland March 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    This dish looks so delicious, MJ! It looks like the flavors are all rich and hearty making this a meal that will delight the senses for sure. Thanks for sharing another great recipe!

    • mj March 13, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

      Thank you so much Jodee! You did nail it – rich and hearty!

  19. Karen (Back Road Journal) March 13, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    As soon as I buy more pumpkin seeds, I’m making your dish…it sounds great.

    • mj March 13, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

      Thanks so much Karen! Please let me know if you like it. 🙂

  20. cquek March 13, 2014 at 12:50 am #

    I would love this for dinner tonight.

    • mj March 13, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

      Wish I could dish it up for you! 🙂

  21. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef March 12, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    I think I’d like it all mixed together and heavily sauced, thanks. 🙂

    • mj March 13, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

      Totally agree Maureen! 🙂

  22. Choc Chip Uru March 12, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    Your chicken looks so rich and delicious! I love the nuttiness of the sauce especially 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

    • mj March 13, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

      Thanks Uru! It is the nuttiness and the chile that make this dish.

  23. Tamara March 12, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    MJ, this looks fantastic! I love chile de arbol and pecans, but I’ve never used them together in a recipe. We will try this soon! Thanks 🙂

    • mj March 12, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

      Thanks Tamara! I hope you do give it a try. Please let me know if you do.

  24. Valerie | From Valerie's Kitchen March 12, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    I want to come to your house for dinner! You’re really killing me with this one. We have a restaurant near us that features what they call “Cal-Mex” cuisine and this so reminds me of something they would have the menu there. Fabulous!

  25. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles March 12, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    First of all, let me pause for a moment to admire the perfection in the word “smothered” :). What an ideal use of your Chile de Arbol Pecan Sauce MJ — I like the smothered look best — that third photo is just dynamite. Gorgeous colour coming off the sauce and now I am *so* hungry!! (somehow my lunch plans don’t seem quite as exciting in comparison 😉 ). I must resurrect my wild rice! Sounds like the perfect marriage of flavours and textures.

    • mj March 12, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

      Oh I am so with you Kelly – There’s just something something about “smothering”. I prefer the smothered version best as well, but sometimes Bobby wants to see what he’s eating so I do a deconstructed presentation. 🙂 The leftovers make a great lunch. Thanks for stopping by Darlin!

      • mj March 12, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

        Well come on down Valerie!! 🙂 I’m flattered to be compared with a restaurant meal. Thanks!

  26. Roz March 12, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    I love everything about this dish, and ESPECIALLY the chile pecan sauce! This is my kind of spicy!

    • mj March 12, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

      Thanks Roz! The sauce definitely makes the dish.

  27. Angie@Angie's Recipes March 12, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    I want that chili pecan sauce! This looks totally delicious, MJ.

    • mj March 12, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

      Thanks Angie! Wish I could make it for you. 🙂

  28. Zsuzsa March 12, 2014 at 10:01 am #

    For some reason I would want to have this with vegetables. The photos are as amazing as ever. They just make you want a bite…

    • mj March 12, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

      Thanks so much Zsuzsa! Bobby likes it best with chicken whereas I like it with or without pretty equally.

  29. John@Kitchen Riffs March 12, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    Fun dish! And one that you can vary every time you make it — this just sort of cries out for playing a bit with ingredients. I like your idea of shredded cabbage, for instance. This is wonderful — thanks.

    • mj March 12, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

      You are so right John!! there are a lot of possibilities here. 😉 Thanks!

  30. Sammie March 12, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    That chile de arbol pecan sauce just sounds so amazing! I would love to give it a try! Awesome recipe!

    • mj March 12, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

      Thanks so much Sammie! It is a pretty awesome sauce. I hope you get to try it.

  31. easyfoodsmith March 12, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    When I read all those wonderful sauces and ingredients that you put in your food, I wish I could grab them and try them in my kitchen. The dish sounds scrumptious.

    • mj March 12, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

      Thanks Darlin! Well, you can make them in your kitchen. I’m sure you have access to some very tasty chile peppers. 🙂


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