Pollo a la Mexicana

Updated south-of-the-border chicken dishes
Linda Lau Anusasananan

Memories of his mother's cooking inspired Eligio Hernandez to re-create the cozy chicken dishes that he ate growing up in the state of Veracruz in Mexico in his new home in Campbell, California. Staple seasonings of her kitchen ― chiles, cumin, garlic, mint, oregano, cilantro, and onion ― generously infuse his homestyle dishes with a warm spiciness and herbal aroma.

But Hernandez has streamlined these Mexican classics. Arroz con pollo is lightened up by removing the skin from chili-rubbed chicken thighs, which cook on a bed of mint-scented rice for a dish reminiscent of paella. Assemble-your-own roast chicken tacos become quicker and easier ― but keep their savory flavor ― when you butterfly the chicken before roasting it over onions. And skinned chicken breasts steep in a spiced broth for a light, stylish Mexican chicken soup. Perfect for casual entertaining or a family meal, these dishes are updated renditions of traditional favorites.