Zacatecas-Style Green Mole With Chicken (Pollo en Mole Verde Zacatecano)

  • Serves

    serves 6


Lighter and simpler than the nut-enriched moles of Puebla and Oaxaca, this Zacatecan version is made with fresh tomatillos, cilantro, jalapeños, and garlic.


For the Chicken

  • 1 (3–4-lb.) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 12 cup chopped cilantro stems
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf

For the Mole Verde

  • 8 oz. tomatillos, peeled and chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, stemmed and chopped
  • 12 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 (8-inch) flour tortillas, toasted, plus more for serving
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • Mexican rice, for serving


Step 1

Cook the chicken: Place chicken, cilantro, salt, peppercorns, garlic, onion, bay leaf, and 12 cups water in a 6-qt. saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

Step 2

Remove chicken from saucepan and strain liquid through a fine strainer; reserve 4 cups, and save remaining liquid for another use. Set chicken and liquid aside.

Step 3

Heat tomatillos and jalapeños in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until darkened and thick, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender with cilantro, salt, garlic, tortillas, and 1 cup reserved cooking liquid; puree.

Step 4

Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; add tomatillo sauce and fry, stirring constantly, until it thickens into a paste, about 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining cooking liquid and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes.

Step 5

Add chicken pieces and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve with Mexican rice and tortillas.