Cooking With Cilantro: Pollo Encilantrado

(Shredded Chicken in Cilantro Sauce)

| August/September 1998

Serves 8

Serve this dish with small bowls of chopped cilantro, chopped white onion, chopped serranos, and lime wedges. It’s also good with rice instead of corn tortillas or tostadas (deep-fried tortillas). Any extra sauce keeps for several days in the refrigerator. Tomatillos look like small, green-husked round tomatoes. They have a sweet-tart flavor and are widely used in Mexican cooking.

• 2 pounds (about 20 medium) tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
• 1/2 white onion, quartered
• 13 cloves garlic, peeled
• 10 to 12 serrano chiles, stemmed
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1 white onion, coarsely chopped
• 1 1/2 cups cilantro sprigs, packed
• Pinch of sugar (optional)
• 5 teaspoons canola oil
• 4 green onions, chopped
• 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded into bite-sized pieces
• 20 corn tortillas or tostadas

1. Place the tomatillos in a pot with enough boiling water to barely cover along with the quartered onion, 4 garlic cloves, serranos, and salt and pepper; reduce the heat and simmer for 7 minutes, or until the tomatillos lighten in color and become soft. Don’t cook them so long that they burst open. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.

2. Puree the cooked ingredients in a blender with the chopped onion, 6 garlic cloves, and 3 to 4 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Add the cilantro and coarsely blend. Season to taste with sugar, more salt, or additional chopped serranos. Set aside and keep warm.

3. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large pan; add the green onions and remaining garlic, minced, and sauté briefly. Add the chicken and toss over medium heat for 2 minutes.

4. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining oil and add the cilantro/tomatillo sauce and cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat.

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