Chicken in Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce

This chile pepper gets its name from its origin. In Spanish, serrano is an adjective meaning “from the mountains” which is where it originated-in the mountains of Hildalgo, Mexico. The serrano is normally about twice as hot as Jalapeno (about 10,000 to 15,000 Scoville units). It is the second most popular chile pepper in Mexico. This chile is used mostly for salsas but can also be used in soups, sauces, chili or stews. Try these as a hotter substitute for Jalapeno.

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1 (3 pound ) chicken, cut into serving pieces
4 cups water
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 cup, husked and chopped tomatillos
3 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped
2 corn tortillas, chopped and soaked in water, then drained


Put the chicken in a large pot with the water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer slowly for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the chicken to a bowl and strain, setting aside the broth. Let the chicken cool, then remove the meat from the bones and shred. Set the meat aside until ready to finish cooking.

Toast the sesame and pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until they are lightly browned, stirring frequently. Transfer the seeds to a coffee grinder and grind them into a fine powder.

Add the sesame and pumpkin seed powder and all the remaining ingredients to a food processor or blender. Add 1 cup of the broth and process until smooth. (If using a blender you may have to do this step in batches.)

Return the chicken to the large pot and pour the green sauce over the meat and add 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the remaining broth to bring to a sauce-like consistency. Heat over medium-low heat and simmer an additional 15-25 minutes. Adjust the seasonings and serve.

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