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Jocon de Pollo Guatemalan food h

Jocón - Guatemalan Chicken and Tomatillo Stew

One of Guatemala's most famous dishes, jocón or pollo en jocón is a traditional stew of chicken and tomatillos that's very easy to make.
Course Main
Cuisine Guatemalan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people
Calories 605kcal
Author Michele Peterson
Cost $10


  • food processor
  • large cooking pot


  • 3 pounds chicken pieces whole chicken cut into serving pieces
  • 4 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds known as pepitas in Latin America shelled
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 whole corn tortillas fresh, soaked in water and torn in pieces
  • 2 cups tomatillos husked and poached or substitute 16 ounces canned tomatillos (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro fresh, chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions fresh, chopped. Scallions are the green part of the stalk of a green onion
  • 1/4 cup mint fresh, chopped (hierbabuena variety of mint)
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper seeded and chopped


  • Bring chicken, water or broth, and salt to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming the foam from the surface while cooking.
  • Remove the chicken and set aside in a bowl. Strain the broth and reserve the liquid, discarding any solids.
  • Bring a dry cast iron skillet or comal to a medium-high temperature. Add the pumpkin seeds and then sesame seeds toasting them until light brown. Stir while they're toasting so they don't burn.
  • Grind the seeds in a spice or coffee grinder or in a blender/food processor until very fine.
  • Add the pepitoria (ground seeds), cooked tomatillos, soaked and shredded corn tortillas, cilantro, mint, scallions and jalapeño pepper to a food processor. Add one cup of broth and process until silky smooth.
  • Return the chicken to the cooking pot. Pour the green sauce in the food processor over the chicken and add remaining 3 cups of water, stirring to mix well.
  • Simmer for 20 more minutes. Adjust seasoning and then serve.


  • The key to making sure jocón keeps its bright green colour is not to overcook the sauce.
  • Using fresh tomatillos will make the dish a brighter green than if you use canned tomatillos. To cook fresh tomatillos,  remove the papery husks, wash the tomatillos and place in a saucepan with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and the lower portion of the tomatillos. Cover and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, turning the tomatillos until they're fully cooked and soft.   
  • If you use canned tomatillos you'll need much less added salt. 
  • Add more jalapeño or serrano hot chiles to taste. But note that the traditional Guatemalan recipe for jocón makes a very mildly spicy dish.
  • Always wear gloves when chopping hot peppers. 
  • Be sure to process the sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds until very fine. A coffee or spice grinder works well for this.
  • Properly stored, this chicken and tomatillo stew will last for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.
  • If you can't find hierbabuena mint and are using spearmint, cut the quantity of  mint in half or omit it.  
Please note: Nutritional information is created by online calculators and figures are only estimates. 


Calories: 605kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 174mg | Sodium: 763mg | Potassium: 767mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 935IU | Vitamin C: 20.3mg | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 4.7mg