Thursday, February 5, 2009

Weeknight Pollo en Pipian Verde

Here's another great weeknight meal - lots of flavor, doesn't make too many dishes, and comes together in a snap. This is a bit of a cross of between a Rick Bayless recipe for Salmon in Luxurious Green Pipian, which uses tomatillo salsa as a shortcut, and the more traditional flavors of a pipian with toasted and ground pepitas, peppercorns, cloves, sesame seeds, and cumin. Adding all those lovely spices and toasting them fresh gives the sauce a really nice base and complexity, but using a good quality tomatillo salsa cuts the time down significantly. I used a combination of Bayless' Frontera tomatillo salsa and a small can of Herdez. Adding zucchini rounds out the dish.

I know, it doesn't look terribly appetizing. But it's delicious, I promise.

Weeknight Pollo en Pipian Verde

1/3 cup raw pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1 TB sesame seeds
1 clove
2 peppercorns
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 lb boned and skinned chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cubed into 1" pieces
2 medium zucchinis, cubed into 1/2" pieces (or other kind of thin-skinned squash)
3 cups tomatillo salsa
olive oil
fresh chopped cilantro and crumbled cotija cheese for garnish

cooked long grain rice

In a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat, toast the pepitas, sesame seeds, clove, peppercorns, and cumin seeds until lightly toasted and the pepitas puff and begin to pop. Stir this frequently, and don't let it burn! Let cool, transfer to a spice grinder, and grind down to a fine powder. Set aside.

In the same skillet, add about 2 tsp olive oil until hot but not smoking, and add the tomatillo salsa. Heat for a few minutes. Add the chicken and zucchini, bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook over medium-low heat until chicken is cooked through and zucchini is tender, but retains some of its bite, about 10 minutes. Add the pepita and spice mixture and mix in thoroughly. If sauce is too thick, add a little water. Serve over rice, garnished with cilantro and cotija cheese. Serves 4+.


  1. This sounds and looks delish, I will have to try it sometime. By the way Love the site! Looks great! :D