This braised chicken with tomatillos has a slightly tart green sauce made from tomatillos, onions, peppers, garlic, lime, and cilantro that’s perfect with chicken cooked until falling apart tender, whether on the stovetop or in the slow cooker.
*What Are Tomatillos?
Small, round, and green, tomatillos look like unripe tomatoes and are known as tomates verdes, although they’re not actually tomatoes. Tomatillos have a tart and somewhat herbal taste and are commonly used in salsa verde, soups, and stews. To prep tomatillos prior to using them in a recipe, remove the papery husks and hold the tomatillos under warm running water while you scrub the sticky residue from the skin.
Braised Chicken with Tomatillos
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Serves 6
To make the Braised Chicken With Tomatillos in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.
To make the Braised Chicken With Tomatillos on the stovetop, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces on all sides. Working in batches, sear the chicken until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion to the pan, and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the stock or broth to the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the roasted chiles, garlic, tomatillos, chopped cilantro, and cumin. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Return the chicken and any juices that’ve collected on the plate to the pan, cover, and simmer, turning once, until the chicken is opaque throughout, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size and type.
Transfer the chicken to a platter and loosely cover with foil to keep it warm.
Add the lime juice to the sauce remaining in the pan and simmer over medium-high heat until slightly reduced and thickened, 10 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If a smoother sauce is desired, pulse all or half the sauce in a food processor or blender until the desired consistency is reached.
Meanwhile, shred the chicken, if desired, discarding any skin and bone.
Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces or shredded chicken on the platter and garnish with the whole cilantro leaves. Serve with rice or tortillas on the side. Originally published January 3, 2013.
Slow Cooker Variation
Sooooo simple. Soooo satiating. To make this in the slow cooker you can skip Step 1 above, then modify Step 2 so that you cook the onion and the cumin in the oil for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the chiles, garlic, and tomatillos and cook just until softened. At this point, add the stock, using only half the amount listed above. Pour half the mixture into the slow cooker, add the chicken, and then add the remaining mixture. Cook on low for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Remove the chicken. If desired, shred the chicken and/or puree the sauce. Return the chicken to the sauce. Add the cilantro just before serving. Note that chicken thighs work terrifically well in the slow cooker.
[Editor’s Note: Bear in mind, no two slow cookers are exactly alike, just as no two cooks are exactly alike. This slow-cooker approach worked really, really well for us, although if you have a different slow-cooker cooking technique you want to try by all means, do so. And, natch, we’d love if you’d share it with us in a comment below.] Curious to hear more about working magic with your slow cooker? Peruse our entire selection of slow cooker recipes.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This dish was a big hit at my house. The chicken was flavorful and juicy and the sauce was tangy with a smoky depth of flavor thanks to the roasted chiles. I used all 3 teaspoons of cumin and I’m glad I did, but I’m a big fan of cumin. There was enough leftover sauce for me to freeze and use for tacos down the road.
There’s nothing quite like a tomatillo and green pepper sauce, and this recipe really fit the bill. I used 3 chicken breast halves and 3 thighs. They emerged from the sauce fork-tender, juicy, and easy to shred. The sauce itself took about 20 minutes to thicken up after I removed the chicken. I used the entire amount of cumin specified in the recipe and the flavor was smoky but not overpowering. This recipe made for excellent comfort food on a chilly afternoon.