Pollo con Crema – A Creamy Mexican Delight

Pollo con Crema

Pollo con crema, or chicken with cream sauce, is a sumptuous dish originating from Mexico, where it has become a staple of traditional cuisine. Bursting with flavors and textures, this dish combines tender chicken with a rich and creamy sauce, creating a culinary masterpiece that delights the senses. Let’s delve into the details of this delight to help you master the art of crafting this delicious dish.


Pollo con crema traces its roots back to the vibrant culinary landscape of Mexico. With a rich history influenced by indigenous ingredients and Spanish culinary traditions, Mexican cuisine is renowned for its bold flavors and diverse dishes. Pollo con crema emerged as a regional specialty, showcasing the abundance of fresh ingredients and culinary ingenuity found throughout the country. Over time, it has evolved into a beloved classic enjoyed by food enthusiasts around the world.

Ingredients for a Creamy Feast

The beauty of pollo con crema lies in its basic ingredients, allowing for customization based on personal preferences. Here’s a typical list:

  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs are commonly used. You can also opt for bone-in pieces for added flavor, but adjust cooking times accordingly.
  • Cream: Heavy cream or a lighter alternative like crema Mexicana (Mexican sour cream) are popular choices.
  • Aromatics: Onion, garlic, and poblano peppers form the base of flavorful sofrito.
  • Broth: Chicken broth adds depth and prevents the sauce from becoming overly heavy.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, cumin, and sometimes a touch of chili powder provide a savory profile.
  • Additions: Chopped vegetables like corn, peas, mushrooms, or bell peppers can be incorporated for extra texture and flavor.

Optional Ingredients:

  • Spices: Epazote, a Mexican herb with a slightly bitter and citrusy flavor, can be added for a unique touch.
  • Cheese: Queso fresco or shredded cheese like Monterrey Jack can be sprinkled on top for a cheesy finish.
  • Acidity: A squeeze of lime juice can balance the richness of the sauce.

Cooking Up Creamy Perfection: Preparation and Techniques

Here’s a general guideline for preparing and cooking pollo con crema:

  • Marinate the Chicken (Optional): Marinating the chicken in a mixture of citrus juice, spices, and oil for 30 minutes to an hour can enhance tenderness and flavor.
  • Sauté the Aromatics: Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Sauté chopped onions, garlic, and poblano peppers until softened and fragrant.
  • Brown the Chicken: Add the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown on all sides.
  • Deglaze and Simmer: Deglaze the pan with some broth, scraping up any browned bits. Pour in the remaining broth and any additional vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Create the Creamy Sauce: Stir in the cream and seasonings. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes to thicken slightly. If using a thicker cream like crema Mexicana, you may need less simmering time.
  • Adjust and Serve: Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Garnish with fresh cilantro, chopped onions, or crumbled cheese (optional).

Presenting Your Creamy Creation: Serving Suggestions

Pollo con crema is traditionally served with fluffy white rice or warm tortillas. You can also complement it with the following:

  • Refried Beans: A classic Mexican side dish that adds heartiness and protein.
  • Tortillas: Warm corn or flour tortillas make the perfect vehicle for scooping up the creamy sauce and tender chicken.
  • Spanish Rice: A flavorful rice dish seasoned with tomatoes and spices.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, or carrots provide a healthy and colorful accompaniment.
  • Guacamole or Salsa: For a refreshing touch and added flavor dimension.

Extending the Pleasure: How to Preserve

If you find yourself with leftovers, pollo con crema can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, gently warm the chicken and sauce in a skillet over low heat, adding a splash of water or chicken broth to loosen the sauce if needed. Avoid freezing, as the cream sauce may separate upon thawing and reheating.

Additional Tips

  • Don’t Overcook the Chicken: Chicken can dry out easily. Aim for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure juicy, tender pieces.
  • Use Leftover Chicken: Pollo con crema is also a great way to repurpose leftover cooked chicken. Simply shred or chop the chicken and add it to the skillet along with the cream sauce to heat through.
  • Thicken the Sauce: If you prefer a thicker consistency, whisk together a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch mixed with water) and gradually add it to the simmering sauce until the desired thickness is reached. Be careful not to over-thicken, as it can become gloopy.
  • Reduce for a Richer Flavor: For a more intense flavor, simmer the sauce uncovered for a few minutes to allow some liquid to evaporate.
  • Customize the Heat: Adjust the spiciness of the dish by increasing or decreasing the amount of jalapeño or poblano peppers used. For a milder version, remove the seeds and membranes from the peppers before dicing.
  • Add Vegetables: Enhance the nutritional value and visual appeal of the dish by incorporating additional vegetables such as bell peppers, corn, or spinach.
  • Experiment with Herbs: For a fresh twist, sprinkle chopped cilantro or parsley over the finished dish just before serving.

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