Creamy Jocon Chicken with Green Tomatillo and Fresh Cilantro

Creamy Jocon Chicken with Green Tomatillo and Fresh Cilantro
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About This Recipe

Napa Valley, with its rolling vineyards and tantalizing aromas of dishes that pair perfectly with the region's famed wines, is a hub for culinary adventures. One of the dishes that has recently caught the attention of food enthusiasts and home cooks alike is the Creamy Jocon Chicken with Green Tomatillo and Fresh Cilantro. A rich and delectable chicken stew that seamlessly combines traditional flavors with the modern influences of Californian wine country.

This chicken stew, often referred to by locals as a "stew chicken recipe with a twist", isn't your everyday creamy chicken stew. The Jocon style, originating from Central American cuisine, has been revamped to fit right into Napa’s dining scene. The dish is built on the foundational flavors of roasted green tomatillos and fresh cilantro, simmered to perfection with chicken, leading to an aromatic and comforting dish.

Paired with the right wine, this dish elevates to an entirely different level. If there's one thing wine country teaches you, it's the art of perfect pairing. Two wines, in particular, come to mind when considering the rich and zesty flavors of this chicken stew: Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.

Sauvignon Blanc, especially from Napa's Frog's Leap or the renowned St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery, brings forth a refreshing acidity and crisp citrus undertones. These flavors resonate beautifully with the zesty tomatillo and lime found in the dish, making every bite followed by a sip an experience to savor.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a wine that contrasts and complements the spiciness of the dish, a Viognier is your answer. Robert Biale Vineyards in Napa offers a Viognier that’s fragrant and lush, ideal for the creamy texture and slight heat of the Jocon chicken. Meanwhile, Sonoma's Cline Cellars has a Viognier that strikes a balance between floral aromatics and a juicy acidity.

For those planning a trip to wine country, ensure you have this chicken stew on your menu. It’s an embodiment of how traditional dishes can be given a contemporary twist in the world of wine pairings. And while you’re in Napa or Sonoma, visiting the aforementioned vineyards is a must. Not only will you get a chance to taste the wines but also experience the rich history and culture of Northern California's wine region.

To sum it up, the Creamy Jocon Chicken with Green Tomatillo and Fresh Cilantro is more than just a dish – it's a story. A story of traditional flavors meeting contemporary wine culture, a tale of Napa’s culinary evolution, and a testament to how dishes can be transformed with the perfect wine pairing. So, the next time you’re looking for a stew chicken recipe that stands out, think of Napa, think of wine, and think of this exquisite, creamy chicken stew that captures the essence of the region.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Green Tomatillo

Tomatillos, also known as the Mexican husk tomato, are a staple in Central American cuisine and the primary base for many salsas and sauces, including the green sauce in this Creamy Jocon Chicken recipe. Encased in a papery husk, they resemble small, unripe tomatoes. When ripe, they have a slightly tart flavor, which adds a zesty touch to dishes. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, tomatillos not only offer unique flavors but also health benefits. These little green gems are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and niacin. When shopping for tomatillos, choose firm ones with tight-fitting husks. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

How To: Perfectly Sear Chicken Breasts

  1. Heat the Oil: Before placing your chicken in the pan, ensure your oil is heated properly. This prevents the chicken from sticking and gives it that golden-brown sear.
  2. Dry the Chicken: Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. This removes any excess moisture which can hinder the searing process.
  3. Season Well: Generously season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  4. Place in Pan: Once the oil is hot, gently place the chicken in the pan, ensuring not to overcrowd.
  5. Don’t Move It: Let the chicken sit untouched for a few minutes until the underside is golden brown. This ensures the chicken develops a crust.
  6. Flip and Repeat: Once the first side is perfectly seared, flip the chicken breasts using tongs and sear the other side.


  1. Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts? Absolutely! Chicken thighs can offer a juicier and more flavorful alternative. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly, as thighs may take a bit longer to cook thoroughly.
  2. I can’t handle too much spice. How should I adjust the recipe? You can reduce the number of serrano or jalapeño peppers or even omit them entirely. The tomatillos will still provide a tangy flavor to the dish.
  3. How do I store leftovers? Store any leftover Creamy Jocon Chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simmer gently on the stove until warmed through.
  4. I’m lactose intolerant. Can I substitute the sour cream or Mexican crema? Yes, you can use lactose-free sour cream or a non-dairy alternative like coconut cream. Keep in mind that the flavor profile might change slightly with coconut cream.
  5. Can I make this dish vegetarian? To make a vegetarian version, substitute the chicken with firm tofu or chunky vegetables like zucchini or bell peppers, and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

Tips for Success

  1. Use Fresh Cilantro: Fresh cilantro has a bright, citrusy flavor that dried cilantro can't replicate. For the best taste, always opt for fresh over dried in this recipe.
  2. Blend Smoothly: When blending the tomatillos and other ingredients, ensure you achieve a smooth consistency. This creates a creamier sauce that coats the chicken beautifully.
  3. Taste as You Go: Before adding the sour cream or crema, taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Remember, it’s always easier to add more salt or pepper later than it is to correct an overly salty dish.

By focusing on the authentic flavors of the tomatillos and fresh cilantro, paired with perfectly seared chicken, this Creamy Jocon Chicken dish brings the essence of Central American flavors to your table. Enjoy this hearty dish and transport your taste buds to a gastronomic adventure!

Recipe Overview

Creamy Jocon Chicken with Green Tomatillo and Fresh Cilantro
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 medium green tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and roughly chopped (reserve some for garnish)
  • 1 medium-sized white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 serrano or jalapeño peppers, seeds removed (adjust to heat preference)
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh lime wedges for serving

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a large pot or deep skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and sear until golden on both sides. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatillos and peppers to the pot and cook until the tomatillos start to soften and become aromatic.
  4. Transfer the sautéed tomatillos, onions, peppers, and half of the cilantro to a blender. Add chicken stock and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour the blended sauce back into the pot. Return the chicken breasts to the pot, ensuring they are submerged in the sauce.
  6. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and tender.
  7. Turn off the heat, and stir in the sour cream or crema. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Garnish with the reserved chopped cilantro and serve with fresh lime wedges.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

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