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Chicken in Green Pumpkin-Seed Sauce

Chicken in Green Pumpkin-Seed Sauce

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  • 6 chicken thighs with skin and bones
  • 3 large fresh cilantro sprigs


  • 1 2/3 cups shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 12 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 medium serrano chiles, chopped with seeds

Recipe Preparation


  • Bring all ingredients to boil in large pot. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to bowl; cover to keep warm. Reserve chicken broth in pot; spoon off fat from surface.


  • Heat heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add pepitas; stir frequently until seeds puff and begin to pop, about 15 minutes (do not brown). Transfer to dish; cool. Set aside 2 tablespoons pepitas for garnish. Working in batches, finely grind remaining pepitas with peppercorns in spice mill or coffee grinder.

  • Puree tomatillos, next 5 ingredients, and 1/2 cup reserved chicken broth in blender until almost smooth. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatillo mixture and simmer until sauce is thick and reduced to 1 cup, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.

  • Heat remaining 4 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add ground pepita mixture. Stir constantly until mixture resembles very coarse paste and begins to color in spots, about 9 minutes. Add tomatillo mixture; stir 1 minute. Add 2 cups reserved chicken broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is thick, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes longer. Season sauce to taste with salt. Spoon some sauce onto platter. Top with chicken. Spoon remaining sauce over. Garnish with reserved 2 tablespoons pepitas.

Recipe by Marilyn Tausend, Ricardo Mu oz Zurita,Reviews Section

  • ¼ cup hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 can (4½ ounces) mild green chilies, drained
  • 1 plum tomato, cut into large chunks
  • 1 canned or bottled jalapeño pepper
  • ¼ cup cilantro sprigs
  • ¾ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 small skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1. In a small skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds over low heat until they begin to pop in the pan, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the mild green chilies, tomato, jalapeño, cilantro, coriander, and salt. Process to a smooth puree.

2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side.

3. Stir in the pumpkin-seed mixture, cover, and cook, turning the chicken once in the sauce, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is flavorful, about 7 minutes.

4. Remove the chicken from the sauce and place on 4 serving plates. Stir the lime juice into the sauce and spoon the sauce over the chicken.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 203 calories, 7.7g total fat (1.4g saturated), 66mg cholesterol, 2g dietary fiber, 4g carbohydrate, 29g protein, 490mg sodium.

Good source of: niacin, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin B6.


  • 1 (3–4-lb.) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 4 serrano chiles, stemmed
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1 ⁄2 medium white onions, cut into quarters
  • 1 lb. tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 4 large leaves romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 1 1 ⁄3 cups raw, unhulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1 ⁄2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 ⁄4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 ⁄4 cup canola oil

  • 24 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 3 ounces hulled untoasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 white onion, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tomatillos
  • 1 leaf romaine lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed

Heat a heavy sauté pan over medium high heat. Add pumpkin seeds. When you hear first pumpkin seed pop, begin to stir the seeds, toasting just until all seeds have popped from flat to round. Let seeds cool. Set aside 2 tablespoons for garnish.

Place garlic and onion in a food processor. Blend until roughly chopped. Add pumpkin seeds and blend until roughly chopped.

Add tomatillos, romaine, jalapeño, and cilantro to food processor and pulse until mixture is a lightly chunky purée.

Heat oil in a medium sauce pot over medium high heat. Add pumpkin seed sauce and stir to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add one cup water. Simmer sauce for another 20 minutes, until reduced and darkened in color. Stir in lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Rub chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes then slice on the diagonal.

Top each tortilla with slices of grilled chicken. Top with pumpkin seed sauce. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and slices of avocado.

Green Pipian

This classic Mexican pumpkin seed sauce, also known as green mole, is tangy, herbal and spicy all at the same time. Serve it with poached or pan-cooked chicken breasts, fish (it’s very pretty with salmon), or shrimp. You can bathe grilled vegetables with it, or serve it with white beans and steamed or poached vegetables. Hulled untoasted pumpkin seeds are available in many whole foods stores and Mexican markets.


  • ½ cup hulled untoasted pumpkin seeds
  • ½ pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and coarsely chopped, or 2 13-ounce cans, drained
  • 1 serrano chile or 1/2 jalapeño (more to taste), stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 3 romaine lettuce leaves, torn into pieces
  • ¼ small white onion, coarsely chopped, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved, green shoots removed
  • ¼ cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon canola or extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)


  1. Heat a heavy Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat and add the pumpkin seeds. Wait until you hear one pop, then stir constantly until they have puffed and popped, and smell toasty. They should not get any darker than golden or they will taste bitter. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Place the cooled pumpkin seeds in a blender and add the tomatillos, chiles, lettuce, onion, garlic, cilantro, and 1/2 cup of the chicken stock. Cover the blender and blend the mixture until smooth, stopping the blender to stir if necessary.
  3. Heat the oil in the Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in a bit of the pumpkin seed mixture and if it sizzles, add the rest. Cook, stirring, until the mixture darkens and thickens, 8 to 10 minutes. It will splutter, so be careful. Hold the lid of the pot above the pot to shield you and your stove from the splutters. Add the remaining chicken stock, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce is thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. For a silkier sauce, blend again in batches.

Advance preparation: The sauce can be made 5 days ahead and freezes well. Whisk or blend to restore its consistency after thawing. It’s easy to double this recipe and freeze a batch of it. For a beautiful main dish, double the recipe and place cooked chicken breasts or fish fillets in a large baking dish, cover with the sauce and heat through in a medium oven. Garnish with chopped cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Chicken in Green Pumpkin-Seed Sauce - Recipes

Remember when I told you I would show you what I made with all of these spices?

We are huge fans of Bobby Flay. We had dinner at Mesa Grill in Las Vegas when we visited for The Mr's birthday. and the food was fabulous!

My sister got me the cookbook and I've been working on some of the recipes since then.

Sunday I decided to try the 16 Spice Chicken with Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Sauce and Smoked Red Pepper Sauce.

The recipe was fairly easy. Basically, make the two sauces, make the spice rub, rub the chicken heavily with the spices and grill it.

Put a little of each sauce on a plate.

OK. All of the plates. If I have to share.

Take the chicken off the grill. It will be dark because of the spices. Don't worry.

The verdict? This was amazing! The time it took to track down the spices (some of them were hard to find) was totally worth it. The recipe makes more spice rub than is needed - the extra will go to good use in other meals.

Even with the spiciness of the sauce, The Children really enjoyed this. I think it was more flavorful spice than hot spice. The Boy (who believes that he hates anything that is "hot" spicy) loved the red pepper sauce, which actually has a bit of heat to it due to the chipotles. I could have eaten the green sauce (I substittuted parsley for cilantro as I don't like cilantro) by itself as my entire dinner. Yum. Except that the chicken smelled so good with the spices.

16 Spice Chicken with Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Sauce and Smoked Red Pepper Sauce
Cilantro-pumpkin seed sauce (recipe follows)
Snoked red pepper sauce (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon pasilla chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon chile de arbol
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 (8-ounce) boneless chicken breasts, skin on
1/4 cup canola oil

Make the cilantro-pumpkin seed sauce and red pepper sauce and refrigerate while the chicken is cooked.

Stir together the ancho powder, pasilla powder, cumin, coriander, ginger, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, chile de arbol, 2 tablespoons salt, black pepper and cayenne in a small bowl.

Brush both sides of the breasts with the oil and season with salt. Rub the top side of each breast with a few tablespoons of the rub and place on the grill, rub side down. Grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the breasts over and continue grilling until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes longer.

Remove the chicken from the grill and tent loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve the over cilantro-pumpkin seed sauce and smoked red pepper sauce.

Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed Sauce
1/2 C. Packed Fresh Cilantro
1/8 Cup Pumpkin Seeds, toasted
1/4 Small Shallot
1/2 Garlic Clove
1 T. Red Wine Vinegar (this is not considered Paleo, so use lemon or lime juice if you'd like)
1/2 C. Fresh Spinach Leaves
1 tsp. Raw Honey
Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste

Combine cilantro, pumpkin seeds, shallot, garlic, vinegar, spinach, and 1/8 C. of water in a blender and blend until smooth.

With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified.

Add honey, salt, and pepper. The mixture should be a slightly loose sauce consistency. Store in the refrigerator, for up to one week.

Smoked Red Pepper Sauce
4 roasted, peeled, seeded red bell peppers (roast over a gas flame, on the BBQ, or in a 425F oven), chopped
½ small red onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves roasted garlic, peeled
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chipotle puree
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup canola oil

Combine peppers, onion, garlic, vinegar, honey, mustard, chipotle and salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.

With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified. Strain sauce into a bowl.

(recipes can also be found on

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Roasted Pumpkin Seed Enchilada Sauce

While we love a traditional red or green chile sauce, we wanted to elevate our enchilada game. Enter roasted pumpkin seeds. These seeds add a crunchy, fragrant element to the typically smooth sauce. Combine with the earthy heat from our Hatch Green Chile Powder, chile peppers and a few fresh ingredients for a creamy, unexpectedly delightful flavor profile. Enchilada night just got a whole lot tastier! Enjoy!

Makes 4.5-5 cups

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds or pepitas

4 cups chicken broth or veggie broth

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Dash of apple cider vinegar or piñon vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roughly chop onions. Halve serano and jalapeño chiles lengthwise and remove stem (remove seeds if you want a less spicy version of this sauce). Toss chiles, onion, crushed garlic with olive oil. Roast on parchment paper on a baking sheet in the upper rack of the oven for 25 minutes. At 15 minutes, toss to redistribute and roast another 10 minutes or until onions and chiles start to blacken.

While ingredients are cooking, dry roast pepitas in a cast iron skillet over medium heat while constantly tossing (to avoid burning). Seeds will start to crackle and then pop and smell nutty (although these are seeds, not nuts). Continue to roast about 2 minutes after seeds begin to pop. Remove from heat and pan and place in a small bowl to cool.

Carefully remove baking sheet and place all ingredients into a food processor or blender. Add roasted pepitas, Hatch Green Chile Powder, Sonoran Sea Salt, a dash of vinegar, and cilantro (if using). Pulse until ingredients begin to create a paste. Caution: Contents will be hot so be mindful when pulsing. Slowly increase speed and add chicken broth until fully pureed.

Taste and adjust seasonings to taste. Here you can add more salt or chile powder. Store in the fridge for 2-3 days before use in an airtight container or use immediately to make enchiladas or chilaquiles.

Cook's notes: This sauce is best used with corn tortillas to make enchiladas or chilaquiles. Use your favorite enchilada recipe and sub the red or green chile sauce for our version. Like it spicy or more mild? No problem. Remove the seeds from the chiles if you want a more mild version or leave them in (or add more) if you want it super spicy. Not into enchiladas? You can use this sauce to poach chicken, fish, or eggs. If all else fails, pour over rice and add your favorite veggie or protein.

Turkey with Creamy Green Pumpkin Seed Sauce

1. Prepare the pumpkin seed sauce. Remove 1 cup of the sauce to a medium pan and keep it warm. Store remaining sauce in a covered container and freeze up to 3 months. Add the cream to the sauce and bring to a boil. Add salt, if needed. (The pumpkin seed sauce will contain salt, but after adding cream, it may need a bit more.) Reserve in the pan off heat.

2. Season the turkey with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the butter sizzles. Add the turkey and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until lightly browned on the outside and no longer pink on the inside, but still moist. Serve the heated sauce over the turkey. Garnish with cilantro.

From "1,000 Mexican Recipes." Copyright 2001 by Marge Poore. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Nutritional Facts:

This Turkey with Creamy Green Pumpkin Seed Sauce recipe is from the 1,000 Mexican Recipes Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

Shredded Chicken in Green Sauce

1. In a medium saucepan, simmer the chicken with the chicken broth, over medium-low heat until the chicken is no longer pink inside, about 12 minutes. Remove the chicken to a bowl, cover and let stand while making the sauce. Reserve the broth.

2. In a skillet, heat the oil and cook the onion and garlic until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor. Add the tomatillos, serranos, cilantro, oregano, cumin, sugar, and 1/4 cup of the chicken broth. Purée until smooth.

3. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook about 8 minutes, stirring, to reduce the liquid and blend the flavors. Add salt and pepper. Shred the cooled chicken and mix with the sauce. Use as a filling for burritos or tacos. Store the remaining chicken broth for another use.

From "1,000 Mexican Recipes." Copyright 2001 by Marge Poore. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Nutritional Facts:

This Shredded Chicken in Green Sauce recipe is from the 1,000 Mexican Recipes Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.


To make the pumpkin seed filling: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds. Cook, stirring and shaking the pan, until fragrant and slightly golden, about 4 minutes. They will pop as they cook, so stand back. Transfer toasted pumpkin seeds to a food processor to cool slightly.

In the same skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the jalapenos and cook another minute.

Stir in the chicken broth, turn heat to medium, and cook for another 3 minutes, until the stock is slightly reduced and the jalapenos are softened.

Add the mixture to the pumpkin seeds in the processor. Blend until the mixture is a coarse but spreadable paste. Place in a medium bowl and cool while you prepare the butternut sauce.

To make the butternut sauce: Wash leeks thoroughly and then thinly slice the white and pale green parts only.

Peel the butternut squash. Cut it in half, and scoop out and discard seeds and stringy flesh. Cut the squash into 3/4-inch pieces.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leek and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the squash and chicken broth, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. When it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook until the squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer to a blender. Add the cumin, salt, and whipping cream. Puree until the sauce is completely smooth. Return to the skillet. If the sauce is too thick (possibly because you started with too heavy a squash), thin with a bit more chicken broth.

To make the chicken breasts: Lay each breast flat and pound until 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. Spread 1/4 of the pumpkin seed filling across each breast. Sprinkle 1/4 of the Dry Jack cheese over the filling. Fold each breast in half, short-end to short-end, to create a pocket.

Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and carefully dredge each chicken pocket in the flour. Add to the pan, one by one. Cook until all pink is gone, about 5 minutes per side.

In the meantime, gently reheat the squash sauce. Divide the rice among 4 plates, top each with a stuffed chicken breast. Spoon the butternut sauce over all.

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