What’s cooking in the Dinner Diva kitchen? Here’s a tasty dish: Pollo Ciudad with Pickled Tomato Salsa. It was delicious! Here’s the full recipe:

Pollo Ciudad with Pickled Tomato Salsa

pollo-cuidadThis recipe featured on the Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Made was incredible! There were a lot of different layers and flavors all coming together – next time we make it we’ll add grilled onions, too! Want a Dinner Diva tip? Pair this dish with a basic Spanish rice for an additional tasty side.

At first glance this may seem like a complicated, time-consuming recipe, but I think of this recipe as a guideline for making separate components that can be mixed and matched when making other meals. For instance, you can use the cilantro-cream sauce over your favorite pasta for a Mexican-spin, or you could add the pickled salsa over black beans or refried beans the next time you serve enchiladas for added Mexican flavor. As a matter of fact, if you prefer to use boneless chicken breasts instead of the chicken thighs, that’s fine too. You could make just one of the sauces for your dinner, or make two, as directed. Both sauces could be made ahead of time, so don’t think you have to make everything at once if you have limited time. The pickled salsa just gets better the longer it sits. And both sauces freeze well, so keep that in mind when you’re planning your next family meals.


  • 4 large, boneless chicken thighs or leg and thighs, with skin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 3 large mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños, chopped with seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 cups cooked rice, for serving
  • 4 grilled scallions, for serving
  • Pickled tomato salsa (recipe follows), for serving


Season the chicken (a.k.a. pollo) liberally with salt and pepper. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and place chicken in pan skin side down. Sear for 4 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for another 8 minutes. Turn chicken and cook another 4 minutes, or until just cooked all the way through.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by melting butter in a medium sauté pan over moderate heat. Cook shallots and mushrooms until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add jalapeños and cumin, lower heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock. Turn heat to high and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add cream or half-and-half and cilantro stems and return to a boil. Remove from heat. Puree in a blender, pass through a wire mesh strainer and return to heat.

Whisk egg yolks, sugar and vinegar together in a small bowl. While continuing to whisk, pour one cup pureed cilantro sauce into the egg mixture to temper. Then combine the egg mixture with the remaining puree and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick and smooth.

Arrange the grilled chicken over a bed of your favorite rice and spoon sauce over all. Garnish with cilantro leaves, grilled scallions and Pickled Tomato Salsa. Serve immediately.

Pickled Tomato Salsa:

  • 1 pound tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 serrano chilies, with seeds, thinly sliced in rounds
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, toss tomatoes with scallions and serrano chilies.

In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil. Add sugar and salt, and cook until dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and reserve.

Measure ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, cracked peppercorns, cumin, cayenne and turmeric onto a plate and place near stove. In another medium saucepan, heat oil over moderate heat until just smoking. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until aromas are released, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar mixture. Immediately pour over reserved tomato mixture. Stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or several days. Makes 2 cups.

Download and print the recipe here.

What’s been cooking in your kitchen lately? I’d love to hear about your favorite recent creations!

Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.