I’m about to say something that will send some chili aficionados into a wall-eyed fit: green chili is a good thing.
Now, being from Texas, I know that’s not necessarily a popular sentiment. Unless you’re close to the New Mexico border. In fact, at the best-known chili cookoff in Terlingua, Texas, there’s not even a green chili category.
However, I do like it. I find it’s generally easier to make than traditional chili (if you’d like the recipe, see my post [Chili… Or, Them’s Fightin’ Words] from Feb. 14, 2012), it’s just as versatile, and mostly, it’s delicious.
So, off I go. On to the recipe:
A couple of notes:
1. Using canned Hatch chiles will save time and mess. But, if you have Hatch chiles from last year in the freezer, use them.
2. I’ve also used, in place of the thighs, a whole chicken from the deli. This will save time also and make this a reasonably quick after-work meal.
3. You can use pork instead or make the chili vegetarian. In place of chicken or pork, you can use beans. Yes… Beans. Also, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
4. Admittedly, my chili is not green, per se. I call it green because I don’t use any tomatoes or red meat. However, if you want a fully green chili, you can use green chili powder (usually ground jalapeno, hatch, or poblano chiles.) However, you will want to experiment and check the spice level and adjust the recipe accordingly.
5. Taste the chili before adding the lime juice. I like more citrus than most people, so I enjoy the added tartness. However, you may not.
3 lbs. chicken thighs
4 c. water or chicken broth
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 cl. garlic, minced
1 med. onion, diced
2 serranos, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed if you prefer
1 c. roasted, seeded, peeled , and chipped Anaheim, Poblano, or Hatch Chilies (roughly 4 – 6 chiles)
2 small cans chopped Hatch chilies
1 1/2 lbs. tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed, leave whole
2 tsp. dried Mexican Oregano
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp. masa
Queso fresco or Jack cheese and Tortillas for serving
1. Put the chicken thighs and stock or water in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Cover and bring the stock to a boil over medium heat. Once the liquid has started boiling , uncover, turn the heat down to medium-low and continue cooking until the thighs are cooked.
2. Place a large strainer or colander over a large bowl and drain the thighs. Reserve the stock and set the thighs aside to cool.
**If you’re using a pre-cooked chicken, you can skip steps 1 & 2.**
3. While the thighs are cooling, turn the heat on the stove back up to medium-high. Add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic, Saute until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the serranos. Saute another 2 – 3 minutes.
Add the chiles and saute another 2 – 3 minutes.
Add the tomatillos and mix them in well.
Choose tomatillos that are firm and the outer husk peels away easily. You don’t want tomatillos that are too small for the husk. They’re generally old and dehydrated. The tomatillo will be sticky when you peel off the husk, so be sure to wear gloves.
5. Add the spices and cook until they begin to have a scent. About another 2 – 3 minutes.
6. Add the reserved stock back into the pan.
Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover the saucepan, lower the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the tomatillos have softened, about 20 – 30 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, skin, bone, and shred the chicken. Set aside.
8. Make a slurry. Take the masa and add 2 – 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid or water. Mix together until smooth. Set aside.
9. Once the tomatillos are soft, remove the saucepan from the heat. Take a potato masher and carefully mash the tomatillos.
Place the saucepan back on the heat and cook for another 20 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently. Taste for seasoning.
10. Add the slurry and mix in well. Add the chicken, cilantro, and lime juice.
Cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Taste for seasoning. Stir frequently.
11. Serve with tortillas and a little queso fresco or shredded jack cheese.
Now, If you have some leftover chili, and I’m sure you will, here’s a great way to use it.
Take a couple of toastada shells and break them into large pieces on a plate. (Or, you can use tortilla chips.) Take a skillet and set it over medium heat. Add a little vegetable oil and heat. Add roughly 1 cup of the chili. Heat the chili and stir frequently. Spread the chili out as evenly as possible over the bottom of the skillet and crack 2 eggs on top of the chili. Cover the skillet and turn the heat to medium-low.
I generally like to spoon some of the warm chili over the top of the eggs to help with cooking. Carefully use a rubber spatula to get under the chili and eggs so the chili doesn’t stick to the pan and burn.
Let the eggs poach in the chili until they’re done to your liking. I generally like my eggs soft, so I’ll let them cook about 5 minutes.
When the eggs are done, carefully scoop out the chili and eggs and place them over the broken toastada shells.