This Zacatecas-style green mole chicken is intensely flavorful and wholesome! Tender, juicy chicken is smothered in a flavor-packed green sauce. Fresh tomatillos, cilantro, and jalapeños come together to make this irresistibly vibrant dish.
What Makes This Green Mole Chicken So Good
- It’s jam-packed with delicious, fresh flavor! Plenty of fresh cilantro and whole tomatillos give this dish it’s incredible taste. Herbs and veggies are perfectly complimented with a curated blend of spices to make this a restaurant-quality meal.
- The chicken is cooked to tender perfection! We start by boiling the chicken in a variety of herbs and spices. Then, the chicken sits in a bath of delicious green mole sauce and soaks up all of its irresistible flavor.
- It’s a total crowd favorite! With just the right amount of spice, everyone will love this delicious chicken recipe. If you’d like, you can even adjust the amount of spice to better suit your friends and family’s preferences.
Key Ingredients for Zacatecas-Style Green Mole Chicken
Cilantro – We incorporate fresh cilantro all throughout this Zacatecas-inspired dish. To prepare the cilantro for this recipe, start by washing it very well under cold water. This bright green herb has a tendency to be very sandy, and therefore needs a thorough rinse before eating. Once washed, cut off just the stems to use in the chicken portion of the recipe. Then, pluck off the leaves to use in the sauce as well as to garnish the finished dish with!
Whole Tomatillos – Whole tomatillos make up the base of the green mole sauce in this chicken recipe. Common in Mexican cooking, the country in which they originated, tomatillos are a bright green vegetable resembling a baby tomato. They’re enclosed in a husk that must be peeled off before cooking. To prepare tomatillos for this recipe, simply remove the husk and give them a good rinse. Once clean, chop each tomatillo into quarters and then cook them in a saucepan along with diced jalapeños to give them a pleasantly smoky flavor.
Flour Tortillas – Not only are flour tortillas used in serving this green mole chicken, they’re also blended into the sauce. For the sauce, start by toasted up two flour tortillas – I do this by sticking them under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Once toasted, add them straight into the blender with the other mole sauce ingredients. While optional, toasted flour tortillas make the sauce more rich, thick, and creamy.
- Don’t forget to reserve four cups of the chicken cooking liquid! This liquid will become a very important ingredient in the sauce, later on in the recipe. It’s packed with tons of flavor and takes the overall meal to the next level.
- Store leftover green mole chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. To reheat, simply transfer to an oven-safe dish and bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes or until warm throughout.
- Serve this Zacatecas-style meal however you’d like! I prefer enjoying mine with a side of rice and warm flour tortillas. The rice and tortillas are perfect for soaking up any extra sauce – yum!
Other Flavorful Chicken Recipes You’ll Love
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Zacatecas-Style Green Mole Chicken (Pollo en Mole Verde)
- 6-quart saucepan
- Fine mesh strainer
- 4-quart saucepan
For the Chicken
- 4 whole chicken legs drumstick plus thigh
- 1 cup chopped cilantro stems
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 garlic cloves smashed
- 1 large white onion chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 12 cups water
For the Mole
- 6 whole tomatillos peeled, rinsed, and chopped
- 2 jalapeños stemmed and chopped
- ½ cup fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 2 8-inch flour tortillas toasted
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil or other neutral oil
- fresh cilantro
- toasted flour tortillas
- Place all chicken ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender.
- Remove chicken from the pot, then strain the liquid through a mesh strainer and set aside 4 cups of the strained cooking liquid. Set chicken and liquid aside.
- Make the mole by heating tomatillos and jalapeños in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until darkened. Transfer to a blender along with the cilantro, salt, garlic, toasted tortillas, and just one cup of the reserved cooking liquid then blend until smooth.
- Heat avocado oil in the same saucepan over medium-high heat before adding in the tomatillo sauce and fry, stirring constantly until a thick paste forms, about 5 minutes. Whisk remaining 3 cups of cooking liquid into the sauce, then bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened.
- Add cooked chicken into the sauce until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve warm with additional fresh cilantro, toasted tortillas, or rice.
- Serve with fresh cilantro, toasted tortillas, and cooked rice!
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Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.