This classic Mexican recipe was featured in Marcela Valladolid‘s show on Food TV, Mexican Made Easy. It pairs a delicious sauce of cooked tomatillos and pumpkin seeds with boneless chicken breasts.  I decided to adapt her recipe for sous-vide cooking, and was very happy with the outcome.  The meat ended up perfectly cooked, not a hint of dryness.  The sauce is simply to die for, if you are a vegetarian, skip the bird, but make the sauce. Roasted cauliflower would be amazing paired with a little pipian…

(adapted from Marcela’s Mexican Made Easy)

for the chicken:
4 boneless chicken breasts
4 little pats of butter (probably ok to skip it)
1 large lemon, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the sauce:
1 + 1/4 cup green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 Serrano chile, stemmed
1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped
1 + 1/2 cups chicken broth, warmed (I used a lot less)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, place them in sealable plastic bags, add a tiny pat of butter and a few slices of lemon over each breast. Seal the bags. Place in the water-bath set at 140 F for three hours.

While the chicken cooks, prepare the sauce (can be made a couple of days in advance). Preheat a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot. Toast the pumpkin seeds, stirring constantly, until they have expanded and begin to pop, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a plate to cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, simmer the tomatillos, Serrano and onions in salted water to cover until the tomatillos turn a dark green color, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatillos, Serrano and onions to a blender and puree with the chicken broth, cilantro, sugar and toasted pumpkin seeds until smooth (the sauce will be a little coarse). Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, slice the chicken crosswise on the bias. Transfer to a serving plate. Spoon the green pipian sauce on top and garnish with the reserved toasted pumpkin seeds.


to print the recipe, click here



Comments: I am having a great time with my Anova sous-vide gadget. Most recipes I tried were big hits, a few disappointed me, but isn’t that true for any type of cooking?  You cannot win them all. For boneless chicken breasts, it is hard to come up with a better cooking method. I included butter in the bag, but it would probably be just as nice and tender without it. With sous-vide, you will never get the beauty of grill marks or that copper, enticing tone that roasting or broiling would offer.  But, in a recipe such as this one, in which the meat will be served under a sauce, the cosmetic aspect will be taken care of.  Imagine a very delicately poached chicken, boosted with the flavor of a spicy sauce with the crunchy pepitas on top: Mexican heaven, in sous-vide form! No sous-vide around?  Check Marcela’s original recipe using a regular oven.  I am sure it will be amazing too…

ONE YEAR AGO: Classic Shrimp Gobernador Tacos (another Marcela Valladolid’s recipe!)

TWO YEARS AGO: A Walk Towards the Sunset


FOUR YEARS AGO:  Heavenly Home-made Fromage Blanc

FIVE YEARS AGO:  A Perfect Sunday Dinner


  1. I’m enjoying watching you master sous vide. I have no doubt you have mastered this and that this is delicious. The sauce sounds perfect and I love the thought of it over cauliflower. Enjoy the weekend Sally!


  2. Don’t cook sous-vide and, unfortunately, do not believe in this current rather popular method, but absolutely love the sauce and shall attempt soonest🙂 !


  3. Ooh, now this is right up my alley!! I see tomatillos everywhere and I keep looking for a good excuse to use them🙂. Gorgeous combination of Mexican inspired ingredients in this sauce… and it sounds like the sous-vide really delivers – moist and juicy, just like we like it🙂. Can’t wait to try this Sally.


  4. I don’t think I’ll be going sous-vide anytime soon, Sally, but that sauce of yours is a different story. It sounds wonderful!
    I’m still “missing” you and tried “unsubscribing/subscribing” again. I’ll know soon enough. Fingers crossed.


      • I’ve “found” you, Sally, and have started getting notifications of your posts again. I don’t know whether the “unsubscribing/subscribing” trick worked, it fixed itself, or the WP faeries were at work. You’re back now, though, and I’m very happy for it. 🙂


  5. Pingback: Chicken Breasts in a Cream Sauce Recipe | Nosh My way

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