Last week, I was standing in our local market, looking in the produce department for inspiration as to what to make for dinner. I ran through the usual list of suspects – cauliflower (just made a fabulous souffle that I haven’t posted yet), collard greens (made those recently too), eggplant (hmmm, haven’t made eggplant parmigiana lately), and then, I spotted the tomatillos. I thought to myself, someday I’ll make something with those, since I’ve never prepared them before. I’ve encountered more than a few recipes for them (especially here in Texas), but have never taken the leap and actually bought them.
Until now. As luck (or fate, whichever you prefer) would have it, the current issue of Food and Wine showed up in my mailbox that very same day, and the recipe for Chicken Chile Verde practically jumped off the page at me. It was sign from the tomatillo gods, I was sure of it. I went back to the market that afternoon, grabbed a pound of the paper-covered green orbs, and set about making this chile. I did come home first, I didn’t actually start cooking right then and there, but I think that’s kind of a given, isn’t it? Although I’m sure my popularity would have increased dramatically if I had cooked in the middle of the market….
Anyway, this recipe gets extra props for being exceptionally simple to prepare and extremely good. In fact, the leftovers were turned into Chile Verde enchiladas, which the posse will enjoy this evening – while J and I dine with the Queen Mother (and Dad!) for her birthday. Something about crab legs for her (that’s crab with a “c”, not a “k”…) and copious amounts of pasta, chicken parmigiana and wine.
Disclaimer: The first part of the last sentence is true, the second part of the sentence may be what I’m hoping for ….
Chicken Chile Verde – adapted from Food and Wine
- 2 poblano chiles
- 1 pound tomatillos—husked, rinsed and quartered
- 3 cups water
- 1 large jalapeño, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 white onion, minced
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 2 tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Steamed rice, chopped avocado and sour cream, for serving
Roast the poblanos and jalapeño directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning, until charred all over. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool. Peel, stem and seed the poblanos and jalapeño, then cut into 1/2-inch dice.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, and sauce until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatillos, water, poblanos, jalapeño, garlic and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
In a blender, combine the boiled vegetables with the cilantro and reserved cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining onion and the poblanos and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is just starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the sauce and bring to a boil, then simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve the chile verde with steamed rice, avocado and sour cream.