Barbacoa de Pollo

The art, textiles, ceramics, jewelry, and more on offer at the International Folk Art Market every summer are beautiful vessels of culture. They carry the history, heritage, and personal creativity of their makers…and enable us to carry these messages home when we purchase. Because food is another way in which culture makes its way around the world, we asked IFAM’s artists to share recipes they make and eat with gusto. You can make them for your friends and family and share your thoughts about beauty and craft in the conversation that will doubtless kindle and spark.

Barbacoa de Pollo is a traditional Zapotec dish served in the autumn. Renowned natural dyer and International Folk Art Market veteran Juana Gutiérrez Contreras, a partner in her family’s Teotitlan del Valle-based textile business, Porfirio Gutiérrez y Familia, shares her recipe. Translated via telephone by family friend Robert Sturm. Gracias Juana y Robert!

Barbacoa de Pollo Recipe

1 large chicken, cut into pieces (she said 2.5-3 kilos, if possible)
1 pound dry guajillo chile
3 large cloves of garlic
3 medium or 2 large white onions
A few avocado leaves
2-3 T. Thyme
4 cloves
4.5” of cinnamon stick


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Clean the chile – remove the stems and the seeds.  Soak in hot water.
    Grill the onion and garlic on a comal (or grill pan) until they are seared and easy to peel. Remove from the pan and peel.  Add to the chile.
  3. Toast the thyme and garlic cloves on the comal (or grill) for just a few seconds until they start to release their aroma.  Process in a food processor or blender with water from the chile bath until smooth.  If the liquid is very thick, add a little more water.
  4. Clean the chicken and cut it into serving-size pieces. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a casserole, place the cinnamon strategically, and cover it with the sauce
  5. Cook until chicken is cooked through, approximately one hour.
  6. If making tacos, shred the chicken in the kitchen, and place it in a serving dish. Serve with corn tortillas and with chopped cilantro, lemon wedges, and finely chopped romaine or cabbage. A bit of pico de gallo is never a bad idea.

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Porfirio Gutierrez and Juana Gutierrez Contreras

International Folk Art Market


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