What Do You Do With Pierna De Pollo? I Dunno. Enchiladas?

I found it at the bottom of my freezer, all red and wrapped up in cellophane but I don’t remember buying it: a package of pierna de pollo. To preface, I don’t speak Spanish well. Once in Ecuador when trying to ask the bus driver to turn down the loud music, I actually asked if he could make the big music more tranquil. Using my same genius at language, I assumed “pierna” had something to do with the red seasoning rub coating the chicken. (Yes, I do know “pollo”).


Browning the chicken to prepare for braising.

I was thinking I could quickly saute the meat for fajitas but after defrosting, I realized I had a bunch of chicken hind quarters which where oddly sliced in half long ways. With lots of bones to deal with, I wasn’t going to be able to quickly saute anything. I scrapped my quick plan and decided to braise the chicken in a bottle of white wine left over from a party.

An hour or so later, I had a pot of braised chicken legs in a greasy wine broth, but not exactly sure where I was going from here. I figured whatever the “pierna” seasoning was, had also cooked into the broth, so it was too good to dump. It would have to be part of the dish. I was thinking a soup maybe, but after a long winter I am SO F**ing SICK of soup I can’t take it anymore. Next in my mind: make a sauce for enchiladas. So I did. Here’s how.

Chicken Enchiladas with Wine Sauce

  • 2lbs chicken, browned
  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • 1 large onion cut into 1″ slices
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • hot sauce
  • 1 green pepper sliced
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 1 8 oz. bag
  • 1 package corn tortillas

After braising the chicken and onion in wine (about an 60-90 minutes at 350 degrees), strip the meat from the bones. My meat was not as moist and tender as I would’ve liked so I cut it into smaller chunks to make it easier to eat.

Next make the sauce. I separated half of the broth out to use to make a side dish of rice. With the remaining broth, heat until just boiling and stir in tomato paste which will help temper the tart wine flavor with its sweetness. Remove 1/2 cup or so of the wine broth and stir in the corn starch quickly so it doesn’t chunk up. Mix the milky liquid back into the broth stirring to avoid lumps. As liquid gently boils it will begin to thicken into a nice sauce, about 5 minutes or so. Add hot sauce to taste.

Saute green and red pepper over medium heat until softened about 5 minutes or so.

Assemble the enchiladas by stuffing the tortillas with the braised chicken, sauted peppers, and a bit of cheddar cheese (1 cup or half the bag).

Stuff the tortillas tight into an oven safe pan. Pour the sauce over the tortillas and bake for 20 minutes at 350. Sprinkle the remaining half of cheese on top and place back into the oven for a couple minutes until the cheese is nice and melted.


Chicken Enchiladas served with white rice cooked in wine broth with coconut milk and black pepper.

This was a weird take on enchiladas as the sauce was more tart then spicy, but they were just as satisfying. I really liked the cheddar with the wine sauce. Alcohol and cheese, who would have thunk?

I kept wondering what was in the “pierna” seasoning? Well, thanks to the internet, I realize the red rub was probably some adobo seasoning because pierna de pollo directly translates to “chicken leg”. Ha ha. I guess I should have paid more attention in Spanish class. Oh well you know what happens when you “ass-u-me”.

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