When I smell the aroma of roasting chili peppers at Three Amigos booth in the farmers’ market I start craving some of our favorite Mexican dishes. I prepare Mexican food year around but when the market is bursting at the seams with fresh peppers, onions, tomatillos, and tomatoes I pull out all the stops and make my favorite Rick Bayless recipe. My daughter and son-in-law took me to his fabulous Frontera Grill when I was in Chicago several years ago and I had the chance to try first hand one of his signature dishes, chiles rellenos.
I posted this recipe several years ago and want to share it again in case you missed it the first time around. It takes time to prepare, but it can be done in stages and is so worth the effort. I had leftover pork picadillo and tomato broth from the chiles rellenos so I used it to make enchiladas which we liked just as much. The pork mixture contains raisins and slivered almonds so there is a sweetness and crunch that you normally don’t find in an enchilada recipe. So we enjoyed two fantastic meals for the price of one. Can’t beat that! I rolled up extra pork filling in tortillas and spooned the broth over them. If you don’t have enough use homemade or purchased enchilada sauce. Generously top with grated cheese.
Chicken Tomatillo Stew is another favorite recipes, again posted last year. I think it’s best when all the ingredients are fresh, but canned tomatillos will do in a pinch. It’s one of those recipes that is even better the next day and freezes well. One jalapeno adds plenty of heat for me but you can easily ramp that up by adding another one or two. I hope you will give these recipes a try because they are just plain delicious. Even if Mexican food isn’t one of your favorites I’ll bet money you will enjoy both dishes.
- TOMATILLO SAUCE
- 1½ lbs tomatillos
- 1-2 jalapeño chile peppers, or 2-3 serrano chili peppers (include the seeds if you want the heat, remove them if you don’t want the heat), stems discarded, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tbsp lime (or lemon) juice
- Pinch of sugar
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1½ cup chicken stock
- 2 cups tomatillo sauce
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped
- ½ cup packed chopped cilantro (about one bunch, rinsed and chopped, stems and leaves)
- Make the tomatillo sauce. Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse well. Cut the tomatillos in half and place them cut-side down on an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan. Broil for 5-7 minutes until blackened in spots. Let cool enough to handle. Place the tomatillos, any juice they have released, chile peppers, garlic, salt, lime juice and sugar in a blender, and pulse until well blended. If you make ahead, refrigerate until needed.
- Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium high heat until almost smoking. Pat dry the cubed chicken parts with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, and adding more olive oil when necessary, brown the chicken pieces on two sides. When you place the pieces in the pan, make sure there is room between them (otherwise they will steam and not brown), and don’t move them until they are browned on one side. Then use tongs or a metal spatula to turn them over and don’t move them again until they are browned on the other side. Do not cook through, but only brown. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and lower the heat to medium. There should be a nice layer of browned bits (fond) at the bottom of the pan.
- Add the onions to the pan, and a tablespoon or two more olive oil if needed (likely). Add ground cumin and coriander. Cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are softened and the browned bits from the chicken have been picked up by the onions and are no longer sticking to the pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, until fragrant.
- Add the browned chicken, the tomatillo sauce, chicken stock, and oregano to the pan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Add the cilantro to the stew in the last minute or so of cooking.
- Serve over white rice, accompanied with sour cream if needed to offset the heat from the chiles. The stew will thicken as it cools.
I’m linking this post to Foodie Friday at Design’s By Gollum, Seasonal Sunday at The Tablescaper, and On the Menu Monday at StoneGable. Thanks Michael Lee and Yvonne for throwing great parties. I hope you will stop by to visit.
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