(Guatemalan chicken in tomatillo-cilantro sauce)
Jocón or pollo en jocón is a dish popular with the Mayan population of Guatemala. Chicken is simmered in a tasty sauce tinted a beautiful green by tomatillos and cilantro and thickened with ground sesame and pumpkin seeds and corn tortillas.
4 to 6 servings
- Chicken, cut into serving pieces -- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
- Water -- 4 cups
- Salt -- 2 teaspoons
- Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) -- 1/4 cup
- Sesame seeds -- 1/4 cup
- Corn tortillas, chopped, soaked in water, drained -- 2
- Tomatillos, hulled and chopped -- 1 cup
- Cilantro, chopped -- 1 bunch
- Scallions, chopped -- 1 bunch
- Jalapeño or serrano chile pepper, chopped -- from 1 to 5
- Place the chicken, water and salt into a large pot over medium-high flame. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove the chicken to a bowl and strain and set aside the broth. Let chicken cool, then remove the meat from the bones and shred it with your fingers. Set aside.
- Heat a dry skillet over medium flame. Add the pumpkin and sesame seeds and toast, stirring, until lightly browned. Remove to a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.
- Add the sesame and pumpkin seeds, tortillas, tomatillos, cilantro, scallions and chile peppers to a food processor or blender. Add 1 cup of the reserved broth and process until smooth. If using a blender you may have to do this step in batches.
- Return the chicken to the pot. Pour over pureed sauce and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the remaining broth to give it a sauce-like consistency.
- Heat over medium-low flame and simmer for an additional 15-25 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve.
- Leave the chicken pieces whole if you prefer.
- If you can't find pumpkin seeds, simply use 1/2 cup of sesame seeds. And if finding sesame seeds is a problem, you can substitute a slightly smaller amount of tahini.
- Cubed pork can be substituted for the chicken. There is no need to shred the pork, but you may need to simmer it longer for it to become tender.
- Use any remaining broth to make rice to accompany the meal.