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Chicken with Pumpkin Seed Sauce (Chicken Pepián)

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 -8 servings 1x


This easy Chicken with Pumpkin Seed Sauce recipe can be made with any kind of chicken you’d like (breasts or thighs, baked or grilled or sauteed, skewers or served whole), and it is served with the most delicious tomatillo pumpkin seed sauce!



Chicken Skewers Ingredients:

  • wooden or metal skewers
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosh salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • optional toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, thinly-sliced green onions, chopped pepitas, etc.

Pepitas Sauce (Pepian Verde) Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos, rinsed and halved (with the papery husks and stems removed and discarded)
  • 1 poblano pepper, cored and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2/3 cup raw pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), plus extras for garnish
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper


To Make The Chicken Skewers:

  1. Preheat the broiler on your oven.  (Or see alternate instructions below, if you would like to cook the chicken on the grill or stovetop.)
  2. If using wooden skewers, soak them in a large pan of water for at least 30 minutes before cooking.  (Or skip that step if you’re using metal skewers.)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the chicken and olive oil until combined.
  4. Thread the 5-6 pieces of chicken onto each skewer, then place the skewers on a large baking sheet.  Season the chicken with a generous pinch of salt and black pepper, then flip the skewers over and season once more.
  5. Broil on the second-to-top shelf of your oven for 8-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink on the inside) and golden on top.  Keep a close eye on the chicken so that it does not overcook!  Remove and serve immediately with the pepitas sauce (see below), garnished with your favorite toppings if desired.

To Make The Pepitas Sauce (Pepian Verde):

  1. Preheat the broiler.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, or grease with cooking spray.
  2. Place the tomatillo and poblano halves in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and toss until evenly coated.  Place the tomatillo and poblano halves skin-side-up on the baking sheet.  Broil until charred, about 8-10 minutes.  (Keep a close eye on them while cooking so that they do not get too charred.)
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pepitas, and cook until they are fragrant and start popping, stirring occasionally, about 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. In same saute pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the garlic and jalapeno, and sauté for 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  5. Immediately transfer the onion mixture to a food processor or blender.  Then add in the cooked tomatillos and poblano pepper, pepitas, cilantro, vegetable stock (or water), lime juice and cumin.  Puree until smooth.  Then season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 4 days.