Pollo en Pipian Verde
The best American name for this vegetable would probably be “Mexican green tomato”, but they actually taste nothing like regular tomatoes, In fact, the tomatillo is not a tomato at all. The tomatillo has a tart, lemony flavor that is enhance when cooked (especially roasted) and is an excellent base for salsas. While salsa (salsa verde) is the most popular way to enjoy tomatillo, they can be used in other ways. Tomatillos contain high amounts of vitamin A&C. Tomatillos are our #2 sales item!
For the chicken:
5 cups water
6 chicken thighs with skin and bones
1/4 large white onion
3 garlic cloves, halved
3 large fresh cilantro sprigs
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp allspice
1 whole clove
Freshly ground pepper
For the Sauce:
1 1/2 cups raw green pumpkin seeds (about 7 oz)
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
4 allspice berries
6 black peppercorns
1 lb freh tomatillos (or a 28-oz can tomatillos, if you must)
6 fresh serrano chiles
1/2 large white onion
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh corriander
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup lard or vegetable oil
3 cups stock from cooking chicken
1 to 1 1/2 fresh poblano chile
Put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil on a moderate flame. Once it reaches the boiling point, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. When it is done, remove the chicken pieces with some tongs and strain the stock. Throw away the strained matter. If you have time, refrigerate the chicken stock and spoon off the fat from the surface later.
Roast the poblano chile. Let it cool while you toast the pumpkin seeds.
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, allspice, cloves, and peppercorns, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute, and transfer to plate. When seeds and spices are cool, in an electric spice/coffee grinder grind mixture in batches to a powder (I did 2 batches).
If the chile is cool enough after having roasted, you could peel it now and discard the seeds and stem.
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, prepared poblano chiles, and serranos (use a slotted spoon if simmered) to a blender and purée with onion, garlic, 1/4 cup coriander, and salt until completely smooth.
In a 5-quart heavy kettle simmer tomatillo purée in lard or oil, stirring frequently, 10 minutes. The sauce will thicken.
Add 2 1/2 cups stock and stir in powdered pumpkin-seed mixture. Simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Stir the chicken into sauce and heat on top of stove or in a 350° F. oven until chicken is heated through.