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Jack's World Famous Chicken Thighs and Tomatillos Recipe

Updated on August 31, 2012

My Chicken Thighs and Tomatillos recipe is a great main dish for serving over white or brown rice, using as a filling for tacos and burritos, or as a topping for nachos. It serves four people as is, and is easily expandable for more people. You can make it completely mild, or totally wild as you prefer. On a difficulty scale I rate it about 3.5 out of 10, and it can be prepared quite well by a beginning cook.

Jack's World Famous Chicken Thighs and Tomatillos Recipe

5 stars from 2 ratings of Chicken Thighs and Tomatillos


You may have seen tomatillos at the vegetable market and passed them by. For many people the only time they taste them is when they eat salsa verde at a Mexican restaurant. Closely related to tomatoes, these little green balls of great taste need some special, but simple, treatment before cooking.

Buy tomatillos that are firm to the touch, and are largely protected by their dry skin wrapped around the fruit. It's okay if the skin feels sticky, that is normal. Tomatillos range from large marble size to about a golf ball. Both bright green and darker purple varieties are great tasting, but the purple ones tend to be a bit smaller. It the fruit itself is turning yellow it is over-ripe and may be a bit too sour.

Keep them in their skin if you are going to wait several days to use them. They do not have to be refrigerated. Immediately before using, peel the skin off and wash the sticky coating away with cold water and your hands.

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 2 hours 30 min
Ready in: 2 hours 45 min
Yields: Serves 4 adults


  • 4 Chicken thighs with skin on
  • 12 small or 8 large Tomatillos, Quartered
  • 1 Medium sweet onion, Sliced into half rings
  • 1-4 Jalapenos, Seeded and diced small
  • 1-4 Garlic cloves, Peeled and diced small
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon Chili powder or Cumin
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro leves and stems, Diced fine and packed


  1. Set the thighs skin side down in a covered skillet and let brown on medium high heat for about 15 minutes, until the skin is golden and crispy.
  2. Pull the chicken out of the pan and set the pieces to the side. Bring the chicken fat in the skillet up to a high temperature and add the onions, tomatillos, jalapeños, garlic and spices to the pan. Do not add the cilantro. Stir together and let sauté for about five minutes.
  3. Turn the heat to medium low and place the chicken, skin side up, on top of the vegetables, Spoon some of the vegetable mixture over the chicken. Cover the pan and let the chicken gently simmer in the vegetable and juices for about 90 minutes.
  4. Stir the cilantro into the pan juices and let simmer for another 30 minutes.
  5. When the chicken is fork tender use tongs or a fork to remove the bones and gristle from the meat in the pan. Shred the chicken and stir it together with the vegetables and juices. Serve warm over rice, tortillas or nachos.

Mouse around to some of my other World Famous recipes such as Jack's World Famous Adult Strawberry Shortcake Recipe and Jack's World Famous African Stew Recipe. I have main dishes, deserts, and all kinds of just plain good eating. I hope you enjoyed this hub and "like it" on Facebook.


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    • aylsbillones profile image

      Aileen Billones 4 years ago from Naga City, Philippines

      Wow nice recipe. Hope to try this out.

    • Jack Burton profile image

      Jack Burton 4 years ago from The Midwest

      our family considers that one can never have too much cilantro in a dish. The most fun I have with cooking is to modify recipes to make them my own so have fun making this one yours.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Awesome Recipe and relating food to fun and tasty. I am going a little less on the Jalepeno adding some way citrusy Sangrhia. It is cool how you pull out the chicken. So smart, once hot it cooks itself.

      I am going to do twice the cilantro and add half to extra in the grease fry.

      Mainly just to scent the house.

      Any warnings?

    • profile image

      rick schwartz 5 years ago

      We have several tomatillo plants and dozens of cilantro herbs growing in the back yard so I tried this with fresh produce direct from the garden.

      Most excellent. A little sweet, a little sour, and all delicious. I can't wait to try it with some pork chops.