Jocón (Chicken and Tomatillo Stew) Recipe

March 15, 2024

Published March 7, 2024

Armando Rafael for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Jocón — whose name comes from jok’, meaning to grind or mash in Mayan K’iche’ — is a fresh chicken and tomatillo stew that is popular throughout Guatemala. The stew stems from Mayan culture but some of its ingredients today, like sesame seeds and chicken, were likely introduced by Spanish colonizers. Some Mayan groups also made theirs more spicy, or with red tomatoes rather than tomatillos, depending on in which part of the country they lived. This bright recipe is from Jorge Cárdenas, an owner of Ix Restaurant in Brooklyn, who was taught by his Mayan grandmother to make it. This soup base is blended until creamy, but there can be some variety in texture, depending on how someone grinds the seed mixture and purées the soup itself. Though the tomatillos, peppers, onions and jalapeño are typically scorched on a comal or pan, this recipe makes the process easier by broiling them in a sheet pan. —Christina Morales

Featured in:

Read More



Yield:8 servings
  • 1cup roasted, unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼cup white sesame seeds
  • 1pound tomatillos (about 9 medium), husked and washed
  • 3medium green bell peppers, halved and destemmed
  • 1sweet onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1jalapeño, split lengthwise
  • 6½ cups chicken broth
  • 2pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • 2garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt
  • 3scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1large bunch cilantro (leaves and tender stems), roughly chopped
  • 3large russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ⅓-inch cubes
  • 4medium carrots, peeled and diced into ⅓-inch cubes
  • Cooked white rice, for serving
Add to Your Grocery List
Nutritional Information

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

529 calories; 20 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 8 grams monounsaturated fat; 6 grams polyunsaturated fat; 52 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams dietary fiber; 11 grams sugars; 38 grams protein; 1570 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


  1. Toast the pumpkin and sesame seeds in a medium pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and the sesame seeds start to turn light golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender and pulse until sandy, scraping the sides and stirring as needed. Set aside ground seed mixture.

  2. Set the broiler to high. In a large sheet pan, arrange the whole tomatillos, halved peppers, quartered onion and halved jalapeño, cut sides down, in an even layer. Broil until the skin of the vegetables is soft and blistered, rotating the pan as needed, 6 to 8 minutes.

  3. To a large pot, add the chicken broth, chicken thighs and the blistered jalapeño, bell peppers, onion and tomatillos; bring the mixture to a boil over high. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer it, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes.

  4. While the soup cooks, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add the minced garlic and 2 teaspoons salt and fry just until golden, swirling the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

  5. Remove the chicken from the broth and set aside in a medium bowl. Add the scallions and cilantro to the broth. Purée the broth in a blender, or directly in the pot using an immersion blender.

  6. Add the garlic mixture to the large pot with the soup, along with the potatoes, carrots and the ground seed mixture. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are fork-tender and the soup thickens.

  7. Using two forks, pull the chicken into small chunks or bite-size pieces. Stir the chicken back into the soup to warm it, and add more salt to taste.

  8. To serve, scoop cooked rice into a small cup and invert it into a bowl; surround with soup. The soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Your custom text © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.