For today's installment of a Hispanic Heritage Month traditional recipe, we're tackling Guatemala!

There's a lot of Guatemalan dishes that I love but by far my favorite is the jocón, also known as pollo en jocón, which is a dish that's popular with the indigenous Mayan population of Guatemala. The chicken is simmered in a VERY taste sauce that's made with tomatillos and cilantro (which is what gives it that green color). Even if you've never had it, I guarantee that you'll absolutely fall for this recipe!


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Jocón, a.k.a. Guatemalan Chicken in Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce (recipe courtesy of

Chicken, cut into serving pieces -- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
Water -- 4 cups
Salt -- 2 teaspoons
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) -- 1/4 cup
Sesame seeds -- 1/4 cup
Corn tortillas, chopped, soaked in water, drained -- 2
Tomatillos, hulled and chopped -- 1 cup
Cilantro, chopped -- 1 bunch
Scallions, chopped -- 1 bunch
Jalapeño or serrano chile pepper, chopped -- from 1 to 5

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1. Place the chicken, water and salt into a large pot over medium-high flame. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Remove the chicken to a bowl and strain and set aside the broth. Let chicken cool, then remove the meat from the bones and shred it with your fingers. Set aside.

3. Heat a dry skillet over medium flame. Add the pumpkin and sesame seeds and toast, stirring, until lightly browned. Remove to a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.

4. Add the sesame and pumpkin seeds, tortillas, tomatillos, cilantro, scallions and chile peppers to a food processor or blender. Add 1 cup of the reserved broth and process until smooth. If using a blender you may have to do this step in batches.

5. Return the chicken to the pot. Pour over pureed sauce and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the remaining broth to give it a sauce-like consistency.

6. Heat over medium-low flame and simmer for an additional 15-25 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Image via lulun & kame/flickr

Topics: hispanic heritage month  guatemalan food