Smoky Tomatillo Chicken – Slow Cooker

When we were in Nebraska this summer I had an awesome Mexican meal and an unusual salsa. I asked the owner of the restaurant what was in it and she told me it was tomatillos an avocado and a serrano chile blended together. Amazing flavor! My kitchen adventures have never included tomatillos but they were immediately on my “to try” list. After some internet research to learn more about this little gem I was good to go!

Tomatillos 101

In Mexico they are called “tomato verde” which means green tomato and they are a staple of Mexican cooking. Although they are related to the tomato they grow and mature inside a papery husk.

Choosing -Choose the smaller ones as they are sweeter. The husk should be in tact and can range from light green to  light brown. Tomatillos can by very inconsistent in flavor, with some being sour and others tasting mild and sweet. If the tomatillos are too tart for your taste, try adding a little sugar to balance the taste.

Storing – Leave the husk on until ready to cook with them. Store in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks. They can also be frozen sliced or chopped.

Prep – Peel off the husk before cooking and rinse them well in cool water as they are covered in a sticky substance.

Raw – Raw or uncooked tomatillos are often in Mexican sauces. They add a fresh citrus-like flavor.

Blanching – Blanching mellows the flavor. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the whole tomatillos (husks removed and rinsed) and boil for approximately 5 minutes or until soft. Drain and crush or puree as directed in your recipe.

Fire Roasting – Roast under the broiler, or over an open flame such as a grill.  If the heat is not hot enough, the tomatillos will turn mushy before being charred. The charred or slightly blackened skins will enrich your sauces with a smoky flavor.

Dry Roasting – This will produce an earthy, nutty flavor. Place the tomatillos in a heavy fry pan (preferably a cast iron pan). Turn heat to low and roast for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

The ones I bought were about the size of fresh apricots. They are so cute!

A slow cooker recipe for Smoky Tomatillo Chicken caught my eye and seemed like the perfect recipe to begin with. It is a simple recipe with just a few ingredients and only took minutes to prep! I like easy. 🙂

Four hours later…  after shredding the chicken and thickening the sauce it was ready to sample.

Warm, smoky, garlicky with a slightly sweet undertone – it was delicious!  Serve over a bed of brown rice and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. The tomatillos are easy to cook with and I am ready to try some more recipes using them.

Smoky Tomatillo Chicken – Slow Cooker

  • 15 tomatillos, fresh — shucked, roughly chopped
  • 1 each onion — chopped
  • 2 chipotle chiles canned in adobo — chopped, remove seeds to make it milder, leave them in for heat.
  • 4- 6 garlic cloves — minced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar ( or less if you don’t like sweet)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth ( I used 1 cup of broth and it was plenty)
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 pounds chicken breast

To thicken the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoon water

Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Mix the tomatillos,onion, chipotle chiles, garlic, brown sugar, broth and oregano together and pour over the chicken breast. Put the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high for 3 – 4 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker, shred meat using two forks. Remove the sauce from the slow cooker into a medium size sauce pan, thicken with 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed wtih 2 tablespoons cold water. Stir over medium heat until thickened. Add the shredded chicken to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve over hot rice if desired. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Yield: 6 servings     Serving Size: 1 cup

Nutritional Information (not including optional rice)

Per Serving: 253 Calories; 5g Fat; 37g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 93mg Cholesterol; 305mg Sodium. WWPP 6

Nutmeg Notes

If you are looking for more slow cooker recipes (or any type of recipe)be sure to click on the recipe tab at the top of the home page as it takes you to a recipe navigation page. Click on slow cooker tab and check out my tried and true recipes. Sometimes I will have two slow cookers going at the same time – they are perfect for stews, soups and roasts. Be sure to use the print function for the recipes, you can print with or with out the photo. Love that feature!

I have been getting a malware warning when I try to log onto several of my favorite blogs. Has anyone else been experiencing this?

After seeing this <3 on a few blogs I asked my daughter what it was. She told me it was a sideways “heart.” Who knew?

To your health,


Add Your Thoughts

Have you eaten and or cooked with tomatillos?

Do you have a recipe using them that you can share with me?

Do you have a slow cooker?

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  1. Helen says:

    I’ve never tried to use tomatillos myself but I may just have to give this recipe a go. I’m always looking for both slow cooker and chicken recipes!

  2. Karen@WaistingTime says:

    Never used them. Love my crockpot. It has beans in it right now. I make them every week and eat them daily for breakfast.

    As for the malware thing… I have not seen that. But I do know that fitblogger had a malware issue not long ago. I actually pay money to have my site scanned daily for malware. I started this after I got attacked last summer. Freaked me out! I hate that it costs money but the peace of mind and safety of my blog are worth it to me.

  3. Biz says:

    I love this dish! I like how thick it is – perfect to scoop with tortilla chips – putting on my list of things to make next week – I think my SIL will like it too.

    I’ve always liked that tang of tomatillos – my one ethnic grocery store got damaged during a storm in July and has yet to reopen, hope I can find them at my other store!

    Here is my simple salsa verde recipe:


    And yes, I’ve got a couple blogs I can’t go to anymore – I’ve notified them and they hope to get it fixed soon.

    1. Tami says:

      Thanks for the link to your salsa verde recipe, I will check it out!

      This recipe has a sweet note to it so I know you will need to add plenty of hot sauce!

  4. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    I love tomatillos but have never cooked with them myself. My friend makes a really good salsa verde with tomatillos and also uses them in numerous dishes.

    I have slow cooker and plan to use it more. I’ll be checking out your recipes soon! Maybe I start with this one!

  5. Gina (The Candid RD) says:

    A slow cooker was the FIRST thing that went on my registry list! I need one so I can make all of these great slow cooker meals I see on blogs!
    I’ve never actually cooked with tomatillos, probably because most recipes with them also include garlic and onion (which I can’t eat, bummer). A fire roasted tomatillo sounds delicious.

    1. Tami says:

      Gina you will love having a slow cooker, they are so handy!

      What a bummer that you can’t have onions and garlic-I use those two items all the time.

      Be sure to check out my slow cooker section on the recipe navigation page once you get your slow cooker.

  6. Jan says:

    Love the flavor of tomatillos, but I’ve never cooked with them. Since slow cooker season will be here soon, this recipe will be definitely be on my list to try. Thanks for feeding my healthy Mexican food craving, Tami!

  7. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    I don’t have a slow cooker. 🙁 You are an amazing cook!

    I have seen the malware thing but my hubby has our computer blocking everything so it does not let me go there & pops up questions about sites I know are fine & has even asked me to scan for a virus from a safe blog so not sure what is up….

  8. sarah@spinach and spice says:

    That sounds phenomenal! I especially love that it’s slow cooker approved 😀

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