Pollo en Salsa Verde con Calabacitas (Chicken With Squash in Green Salsa)

October 8, 2020 Updated: October 8, 2020

Pollo en Salsa Verde con Calabacitas (Chicken With Squash in Green Salsa)

This recipe is one of the many ways you can use tomatillos, which are also known as tomates verdes. For this recipe, I added Mexican squash, but you can add zucchini, chayotes, green beans, and other green vegetables. The addition of vegetables to this dish is widespread in Mexico; it adds more flavor and texture to the stew, and it’s a great way to eat your daily amount of veggies.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serves 4

  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 whole plus 1/4 chopped medium white onion, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, divided
  • 2 sprigs fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1 pound tomatillos (about 11 medium tomatillos), husks removed
  • 2 serrano peppers or 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces Mexican squash or zucchini, diced

To Serve

  • Arroz rojo (optional)
  • Warm corn tortillas (optional)

Season the chicken pieces with the salt, then place them in a stockpot with the 1/4 whole onion, 1 garlic clove, and 1 cilantro sprig. Cover with water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and soft. Remove from the heat and drain, reserving the chicken broth and discarding the onion, garlic, and cilantro.
Set aside.

While the chicken is cooking, place the tomatillos, remaining garlic clove, and serrano peppers in a separate large saucepan, cover with water, and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat.

Transfer the tomatillos, garlic, and serrano peppers to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the squash and continue cooking for 4 minutes, then pour in the sauce and add the chicken. Let simmer for 10 minutes. If the sauce gets too thick, add about 1/2 cup of the reserved chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, garnish with the remaining cilantro sprig and serve with the rice (if using) and the tortillas (if using).


Some people like this stew to be served more like a soup, in which case they would add more of the broth. The quantity added depends on how soupy they want the dish to be.

Recipe reprinted with permission from “The Mexican Home Kitchen: Traditional Home-Style Recipes That Capture the Flavors and Memories of Mexico” by Mely Martínez. Text and photography copyright 2020 by Mely Martínez. First published in 2020 by Rock Point, an imprint of The Quarto Group.