Guatemalan Green Chicken Stew is more commonly known as chicken stew with tomatillos or "pollo en jocon." Chicken is poached and then simmered in a beautiful green sauce made from tomatillos, cilantro, green peppers and onion.
This is a popular dish in Guatemala which is what led me to try it. I had never cooked with tomatillos before, nor had I ever thickened a stew with ground toasted seeds but I'm glad I did. This is a delicious tender chicken stew with fresh tangy flavors. It also happens to be healthy, low fat, dairy free and gluten free.
Guatemalan green chicken stew is a perfect dish for casual entertaining, especially with the added excitement of the garnishes - scallions, avocado, lime wedges and corn tortillas. By the way, in Guatemala it's common for corn tortillas to be served with every meal. Since early Mayan civilization, thousands of years ago, corn has been a very important crop in the region. In fact, the Mayan creation myth is that humankind was made from cornmeal dough.
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Here's the recipe for Guatemalan Green Chicken Stew. If you try this recipe I hope you'll come back to leave a comment and a rating. I'd love to know what you think!Print
Guatemalan Green Chicken Stew: Pollo en Jocon
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins
- Yield: 6-8 1x
Delicious healthy chicken stew of tender shredded chicken in a fresh tangy tomatillo-cilantro sauce. Top with sliced avocado, chopped scallions and corn tortillas
- ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (toast for 5-7 minutes in a dry non-stick pan over medium heat with constant tossing until lightly browned)
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds (toast for 2 minutes in a dry non-stick pan over medium heat with constant tossing until very lightly browned - remove from heat as soon as they start to color)
- 5 pounds skinless chicken breasts with bones
- 1 ½ pounds of fresh tomatillos, husked (10-12) or 2 11-oz cans of tomatillos, drained
- 1 bunch of cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or other cooking oil
- 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed and roughly chopped
- 2 green peppers, seeds and ribs removed and roughly chopped
- 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
- Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Corn tortillas to serve with stew (1 per person)
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced
- 1 avocado, cubed or sliced
- 2 limes, sliced into wedges for squeezing on top
- Put the toasted pumpkin and sesame seeds in a blender and pulse for 5 or 10 seconds, until finely ground. (You may need to stir a bit between pulses) Scrape them into a small bowl and set aside. No need to wash blender - you will use it again soon.
- Put chicken and fresh tomatillos in a large pot with 2 teaspoons of salt and 9-10 cups of water, or enough to just cover them. (If using canned tomatillos, don't add them to the pot. They'll be used later). Bring to a boil, lower to a very gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a plate and scoop tomatillos into the blender. If using canned tomatillos, put them into the blender. Pour the broth through a strainer set over a large bowl. (you will need 4 cups of broth for the stew) Wipe out pot.
- Add cilantro to the blender along with 1 cup of the strained chicken broth. Puree for 10-15 seconds. Pour the mixture into the pot. (keep blender out for one more use)
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan and cook garlic, jalapeño, green pepper and onion over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently, until they start to brown. Scrape them into the blender, add 1 more cup of strained broth and puree for 10-15 seconds. Pour mixture into the pot with the tomatillos and cilantro. Add the ground seeds to the pot and 2 more cups of strained broth. (Remaining broth will not be needed but you might want to use it to make rice to accompany the stew). Bring contents of pot to a boil. Lower to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered for 10 minutes to thicken the sauce. Meanwhile, remove chicken from bones and shred it. (pull chicken apart using two forks. Refer to photo in BBQ Chicken Enchiladas). Add shredded chicken to pot along with salt and fresh pepper, to taste. Simmer gently for an additional 5-10 minutes, until heated through.
- Serve stew in deep bowls, over rice, with corn tortillas tucked in. Sprinkle with cubed avocado, green onions and lime juice. I suggest a simple green salad with citrus dressing on the side. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for the advice of a professional nutritionist.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 50 mins
- Category: Stew
- Method: simmer
- Cuisine: Guatemalan
Keywords: pollo en jocon, chicken stew with tomatillos
Delicious flavors but the “stew” was very dry .. it seemed to me the liquid measurements didn’t make it “stewy” enough. 4 cups of broth to five pounds of chicken meat wasn’t adequate for stew.
Hi Marian - I'm sorry it was dry. I wonder if my directions were unclear. The recipe calls for 5 pounds of "bone-in" chicken which is only about 3 pounds of meat. If you used 5 pounds of boneless chicken, that would explain why the stew ended up dry.
Delicious and flavorful. We only used 2 chicken breasts and that was plenty. Thanks for the great recipe!
Thank you so much for the recipe.
I'm from Costa Rica, and I'll travel in june to Guatemala and definetly we'll try this dish, sounds super yummy.
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I'm curious, for the nutrition information, does it include the corn tortillas, rice, and avocado topping? Or is it just the chicken stew? Thanks in advance!
Hi Silvia, I included the corn tortillas (1 per person) and the avocado in the calculation. I didn't include rice. I hope you enjoy!