The Search for Enjococado: The Best

Note: This is part of a four-part recipe series, the Search for Enjococado.

It was a hard road we went down, but there were things that seemed right from each of the enjococados I tried.

The first recipe was too red and too spicy, but the flavors seemed close, especially the added cinnamon and cumin.

The second recipe had hardly any spice at all and was way too heavy on the nuts. It tasted rather… nutty. But the nuttiness is something that I knew needed to be a part of any perfect enjococado. And the oranges helped give a slight citrus flavor which complemented the rest of the sauce.

The last recipe seemed to get the chile proportions right, but was clearly missing a number of important flavors.

And so, I combined these recipes to form what I think is as close as you can get to a perfect, La Fiesta-style – and Fiesta del Mar-style and La Fiesta Too-style – enjococado. Give it a try and experience Grandma’s Special at home.

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breast halves
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium tomatillos
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 6 guajillos chiles (dried, devined, and seeded)
  • 2 de arbol chiles (dried, devined, and seeded)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 green onions, chopped fine
  • 1 strip of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 15 oz Mexican cream

Directions

  1. Salt both sides of the chicken breast as much as possible. Allow chicken to rest.
  2. Place tomatillos and tomatoes in a medium pot with water and allow to come to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat and add chiles (all of them), then cover and let stand for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, sauté 1 tsp oil, garlic, yellow onion, green onion, cinnamon, and cumin over medium heat until the onions soften soft, then add the slivered almonds and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Do not allow the onions or garlic to brown much, if at all. Remove from heat.
  5. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat and cook the chicken slightly (shouldn’t be fully cooked), no more than five minutes. Remove from pot and turn heat off.
  6. Drain the tomato/tomatillo/chile mixture, reserving liquid and place into a blender. Add 1 cup of the reserved liquid.
  7. Add the onion mixture to the blender and blend until smooth. There’s no such thing as overblending here, so feel free to continue to blend. I personally like to see small pieces of chiles in the final product, but you may not.
  8. When blended, add mixture to pot (or Dutch oven) and turn heat to medium-low. It’s important to do this when the pot is still warm. Stir well, scraping any chicken pieces off the bottom of the pot.
  9. Add chicken to the mixture and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Add the Mexican cream and allow to cook for an additional 10 minutes over low heat until the cream is fully absorbed and the mixture is warm. Serve with Mexican rice and beans as well as tortillas.

11 thoughts on “The Search for Enjococado: The Best”

  1. … do I make this today or later…. I think I’ll try it today.

    Love your blog… stumbled upon it today. I promised hubby that while he was out flying today, I’d go through the infamous stack of “i should make this” printed, copied, cut out, recipes and Enjococado was on the top. I’m afraid I wont be getting much further down the stack. I work in Pleasanton, home of Blue Agave; sister to Fiesta del Mar and they have this as well! I’ve been looking for this receipe for Y E A R S!

    I’ll post again once I attempt it! Thank you!!

      1. So I have been looking high and low for a recipe for this sauce. Sadly I hate to say but Fiesta Del Mar is no more. I was curious how close you think your combined recipe is? You said it seems to be missing a couple key flavors. I think I know what they might be as my family has been going to fiesta del mar for 17 years and are friendly with the staff and they let us in on a couple key ingrediants. Send me an email. I assume you can see the email i listed with thia comment.

          1. Ok! Well i just made it today and I was told by the manager of fiesta del mar a couple of ingrediants you don’t have listed. In place of salt try adding añejo cheese (5oz) and mild cheddar cheese 1/3 cup as I was told for sure they are in there. Try it, if you like it keep it, if not ditch it!

            I was also told they use tomato sauce as a base not fresh tomatos but I love the flavor i get from the fresh. I also added 20oz mexican sour cream instead of 15oz. I am pretty happy with the results. Let me know if you try it!!

          2. That’s awesome! I was guessing mostly, but it makes perfect sense to use cheese instead of salt. I prefer the flavor of fresh tomatoes too, but boiling them essentially makes them into a light paste, so I can totally see how that would work.

            I won’t get to try this in the near future, but it’s on my list! I really appreciate you bringing back that piece of the recipe!

  2. Thanks for the recipe, I really love this sauce at La Fiesta. I made the recipe as written, except for adding a half teaspoon of orange juice concentrate and only blending with an immersion blender instead of a real blender (big mistake!). We found the flavor very similar to La Fiesta, but the texture was distracting (the almond and pepper pieces). When packing the leftovers, I used a mesh strainer to strain the sauce, and it really improved it. I would recommend either using a real blender as written in the recipe, or straining the sauce before serving. My chicken did not come out as tender as the chicken at La Fiesta, but I may have browned it for too long…not a big issue for us though. Thanks again for doing the research to provide the recipe!

    1. Thanks for writing back! I’m sorry it didn’t come out quite right with the immersion blender, but now you know for next time! As far as the tenderness of the chicken, you might be able to cook the chicken in the sauce, if you cook it for long enough instead of browning beforehand. Be sure to add water if it gets too thick. That should make it more tender, but I think it’ll be less like La Fiesta. That’s actually something I want to try next time I make this!

  3. Thanks so much for this recipe. I was looking for this as well since I loved this from Fiesta Del Mar. I had to make some adjustments to the recipe. I’ve never made Mexican food before so I didn’t know much about Chiles. So I got the ones at the grocery store. The heat about killed me so I had to really do everything to fix it. I don’t know if you soaked the chiles before to reduce the heat? Anyway, to do this again, I would cut my use of them to about 1/4. I still have to test this again. Then I also added the cheese but it wasn’t melting. The sauce needed to be strained after I blended everything to make it smooth. I added extra Mexican cream and tomato sauce and then, it turned out perfect. Oh, I also used almond meal instead of slivered almonds. But I think instead of slivered almonds I would just use the sliced almonds. Usually the almonds aren’t so thick. I also added orange juice and mandarina orange juice as other recipes talked about. This cut the heat and added a slight sweetness. I made this as chicken enchiladas. So I bought a chicken at the store, tore the meat into strips, got corn tortillas. Covered the bottom of dish with sauce. Then dipped the tortillas in sauce, put chicken and some grated mild cheddar, and rolled up the tortilla and put into backing dish. Covered the enchiladas with sauce, and put some cheddar on top and baked for about 15 minutes until slightly browned. Wow. Everyone loved them. They were a complete hit at my party. The flavor was perfect. I plan on making this again, test the chiles, and plan to strain, include the orange juice and manderine juice. Just so I have the perfect recipe.

  4. Thanks so much for doing this important work! I try to eat Grandma’s Especial whenever I am passing through the area but these days it is maybe once a year. So I was overjoyed to find your blog while on my own enjococado journey! I have made this recipe quite a few times now and have to say that this hits the mark! I pass my blended purée through a chinois before adding the jocoque to give it a silky smooth texture. Sometimes I buy a roasted chicken and sub in chicken broth for the water.

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