Recipe courtesy of Sara Moulton

Chicken in Green Chile Sauce

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Cook: 45 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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1 1/2 cups hulled green pumpkin seeds (about 7 ounces)

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

6 black peppercorns

4 allspice berries

3 cloves

1 pound fresh tomatillos or a 28-ounce can tomatillos

6 fresh serrano chilies

1/2 large white onion

4 garlic cloves

1/2 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Kosher salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned

6 cups cooked, shredded chicken

Garnish: chopped toasted hulled pumpkin seeds and chopped fresh coriander leaves


  1. Heat a large heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot and toast pumpkin seeds, stirring constantly, until they have expanded and begin to pop, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer seeds to a plate to cool. In skillet heat sesame and cumin seeds, peppercorns, allspice, and cloves, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute, and transfer to the plate. When seeds and spices are cool, grind them in batches in a clean electric spice/coffee grinder.
  2. If using fresh tomatillos, discard husks and rinse with warm water to remove stickiness. Stem serrano chilies. In a saucepan simmer fresh tomatillos and serranos in salted water to cover 10 minutes. (If using canned tomatillos, drain them and leave serranos uncooked.) Transfer tomatillos and serranos (use a slotted spoon if simmered) to a blender and puree with onion, garlic, 1/4 cup cilantro and salt until completely smooth.
  3. Heat the oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat. Pour in the tomatillo puree and cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups of the broth and stir in the powdered pumpkin-seed mixture. Simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
  4. In blender, puree 1/2 cup broth and remaining 1/4 cup cilantro until completely smooth. Stir puree and chicken into sauce and heat until hot.
  5. Transfer the chicken mixture to a bowl or plate and garnish with pumpkin seeds and cilantro.
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