Jocon (Guatemalan Chicken in Green 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 chicken, cut into serving pieces, loose skin and fat discarded
4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
2 tortillas, sliced
1 Tbsp. pepitoria (squash seeds)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup cilantro, packed
1 cup sliced scallions, green part only
1/2 cup sliced tomatillos
1 to 2 tsp. hot green chile slices
1 Tbsp. corn oil


Cook the chicken pieces in the water with the salt in a covered kettle until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces and set them aside, reserving the broth and soak the tortillas in it.

Toast the squash seeds and sesame seeds in a dry skillet or on a comal over moderate to low heat until they turn a light tan color, about 10 minutes.

Prepare the sauce in a food processor by grinding the squash and sesame seeds, then add the cilantro, scallions, tomatillos, hot chile pepper and 1 cup of the reserved broth. Add the soaked tortillas and process to a smooth paste.

Brown the chicken pieces in oil over moderate heat for 5 minutes, then add the green sauce and the remaining broth, about 2 cups. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is reduced to a thick, rich, green consistency.

Serve hot with warm tortillas.

Yields 4 servings.

Recipe from Arielles Recipe Archives.