Chicken breasts cooked with purslane greens and a homemade Mexican salsa verde. The taste is zesty, tart, and downright delicious. You’ll love how the chicken falls apart and how the citrusy purslane compliments the wholesome flavour of the tomatillo salsa. Pair the dish with some homemade Mexican pinto beans, rice, and a big pile of corn tortillas for an unforgettable meal.
In many countries purslane is considered a areeed. In Mexico it forms part of a group of edible greens called quelites. We call purslane verdolagas and we use it most commonly in stewed dishes like the one you see here. It can also be used raw and tossed into salads. Purslane is in the succulent plant family so the texture of every little green leaf is similar, it has a crispness and it also has a slightly mucousiness to it. The taste is fresh, a little acidic (or tart) and with savoury tones.
I personally love the flavour that purslane adds to some dishes, but having said that it isn’t something that I like to incorporate to too many foods. The taste is pleasant and it pairs great with dishes that can benefit from a tart touch. In Mexico the most common way that you’ll find verdolagas is when they are stewed with meat and salsa verde. Typically the meat used is pork, and though I’m not a huge fan of pork, I do have to admit that the pairing is a great combination of flavours — specially when you add a pile of warm corn tortillas and some pinto beans to the mix!
If you live in the US or Canada you may want to scope out your local Hispanic food market for fresh purslane, if not try the farmer’s market in the coming months. Those of you in the Mediterranean areas shouldn’t have a problem getting a hold of some purslane. I hear that in India they are common too. If all else fails try getting a hold of some purslane seeds and grow them in your garden — beware because they grow and spread like crazy.
- 2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts
- 1.5 cups of salsa verde (made from this recipe)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- half a cup of chicken broth
- half a pound of fresh verdolagas (purslane), throughly cleaned and roots cut off
- 1.5 Tablespoons of olive oil
- fine sea salt, to taste
- (extra chiles if want it spicier)
- To Serve:
- pinto beans (make your own fromthis recipe)
- white rice or Mexican rice (make your own from this recipe)
- warm corn tortillas
- To get the verdolagas/purslane ready, we first cut off the hard stems and only leave the thinner upper parts. Now throughly rinse them — you’ll have to repeat this step a couple of times until all of the dirt is removed. Set aside to throughly drain off any excess water.
- Heat oli in a large pan, once hot add the chicken and brown on both sides. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Gently pour in the salsa verde and allow to come to a light simmer. Next add the chicken chicken broth, a little sea salt, give the ingredients a gentle stir, cover, and over medium-low heat allow to simmer until the chicken is cooked through. (If using extra chiles you can roughly chop them and add them at the same time as the garlic.)
- The chicken should be cooked until it is very tender and pulls apart easily. Once the chicken is ready, taste the sauce and adjust the salt if needed. Next place the verdolagas (purslane) in the pan, making sure to distribute them around the sauce. Cook covered until the verdolagas have wilted and softened. Serve with warm corn tortillas, rice, and beans if desired.
- I like to use chicken because it is a less fatty and healthier cut of meat. Also, the pork takes longer to cook to the point of being super tender and falling apart easily.
Check out the following recipes for more ways to cook with purslane.
• Egg Purslane Tacos – Tacos de Verdolagas y Huevos by Fork Fingers Chopsticks
• Verdolagas (purslane) in salsa verde by The Mija Chronicles
• Verdolagas con Costillas de Puerco/Purslane with Spareribs Stew by Hungry Sofia
• Pork Chops with Purslane in Tomatillo Sauce by Mexico in My Kitchen
• Sautéed Verdolaga by Culinary Vagabond
• Purslane Bean Salad by Stylish Cuisine
• Golichi Bhaji…Purslane stir fry with Chayote and Tofu cubes by Sizzling Indian Recipes
• Spiced Chickpea and Purslane Salad by Babushka Table