Recipes Main Courses Poultry and Game Braised Chicken with Tomatillos and Cilantro

Braised Chicken with Tomatillos and Cilantro

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6

Small, round and green, tomatillos look like unripe tomatoes—they’re even known as tomates verdes in Mexico. (Both tomatoes and tomatillos are members of the nightshade family.) Tomatillos have a tart herbal taste and can be used in salsa verde, soups and stews. To remove the husks, hold the fruit under warm running water, strip off the husks and rinse off the sticky residue coating the skins.


  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 3 1/2 lb. (1.75 kg) assorted chicken pieces, skin on and bone in
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) chicken broth
  • 3 Anaheim or poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and finely
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) tomatillos, husked and quartered (see note
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus whole leaves for
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Warm tortillas for serving


In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Working in batches, sear the chicken, turning once, until browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and sauté until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the broth, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the pan bottom. Add the chiles, garlic, tomatillos, chopped cilantro and cumin. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Return the chicken and any juices to the pan, cover and simmer, turning the chicken once, until it is opaque throughout, about 20 minutes. The white meat and smaller pieces will be done first. Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Add the lime juice to the pan, increase the heat to high and simmer the sauce until slightly reduced and thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately with warm tortillas alongside. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012).