Though an almost identical dish of chicken in creamy-textured, nutty, herby pumpkin seed sauce will be called mole verde in much of Central (and other parts of) Mexico, in Puebla it is pipián. Celebrating the fresh greenness of all things herbal (cilantro, lettuce, even the easy-to-find bitey leaves of radishes), as well as sprightly green chilies, there’s an honest simplicity here that is very appealing. A typical mole verde made with tomatillos and numerous spices (like the one I detailed in Authentic Mexican) is rich, complex and very satisfying; but on a recent trip to Puebla I was struck again with the perfect balance of this very easy sauce. My version is based on the one in Comida poblana, one of the gastronomic guides published by the magazine Mèxico Desconocido. (I added the spicy, herby radish leaves to the pot, since they are commonly used in moles verdes and pipiánes verdes.)
Adding some blanched vegetables (like cubed zucchini and chayote or green beans) to the sauce just before returning the chicken to the pot will give a nice variety and completeness.
You Will Need
1 large white onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
1 good-size (3-pound) chicken, cut into quarters
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
A generous 1 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) hulled pumpkinseeds (pepitas)
12 large sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped, plus a few extra sprigs for garnish
3 small romaine leaves, roughly chopped
2 large radish leaves, roughly chopped
Hot green chilies to taste (roughly 3 serranos or 2 small jalapeños), stemmed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
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