I will just tell you right now that this might be the only recipe you EVER see here that has jalepenos. That is because I do not do spicy. I do not do peppers. I do not do red pepper flakes. I do not even put extra pepper on my food. I do not enjoy the sensation of my tongue/mouth burning, and with my super tasting taste buds anything that is spicy to a normal person is about 10 times spicier to me.
But for some reason this recipe stood out to me. Perhaps because I love braising chicken. I’ve also been intrigued by tomatillos for awhile now, but haven’t seen many ways of using them that sound good to me. I was attracted to this way of cooking them though because I could have the chicken without necessarily having to eat large amounts of the sauce.
Everything I thought I would love about his recipe I did love. The chicken was braised beautifully. The sauce gave the meat a nice flavor without being overpowering, while Gerrit could pile on as much tomatillo and jalepeno sauce as he wanted (making it the perfect compromise meal for us, and, I think, a great meal for a family with picky eaters).
But what I really really loved about this dish that surprised me was the way it smelled. Because to me, it smelled like Mexico. With the tomatillos and jalepenos and all that lime juice and zest, it smelled just like the Mexico I know, like the soup the women made in the Mayan village I once stayed in in the Yucatan. It smelled bright and sunny and full of flavor, and while I usually don’t do Mexican food (too many pepper and onions and spice), I plan on making this regularly.
Braised Chicken with Tomatillos and Jalepenos
adapted from Anne Burrell
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
For the chicken:
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
6 tomatillos, husked and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 jalepenos, roughly chopped (seeds removed for a less spicy option)
1 large white onion, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 cups chicken stock
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
For the lime sour cream:
1/2 cup sour cream
2 limes, zested and juiced
1. Start by browning the chicken. Blot the chicken dry with paper towels and then season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken skin down. Cook until the skin is brown and crispy and easily released from the bottom of the pot (3-5 minutes), and then turn to brown the other side (you’ll most likely need to do this in batches, adding fresh oil as needed). When the chicken is browned, remove from the pot and set aside.
2. Add the tomatillos and jalepenos to the pot. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, 3-5 minutes.
3. Add the onions and continue to cook until the onions are tender (the mixture will be a bit watery). Add the garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes.
3. Add the chicken stock, lime zest, and lime juice to the pot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Then add the chicken back in, nestling it down in the liquid.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer (medium-low). Cover the pot and let cook for 15 minutes.
5. Remove the lid and let cook for 15 more minutes (you might need to increase the heat slightly to make sure the liquid is still simmering).
6. While the chicken is cooking, make the lime sour cream by stirring together the sour cream, lime zest, and lime juice. Set aside until ready to use.
7. When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pot. Stir the cilantro into the sauce.
8. Serve the chicken warm (over rice is a good option), topped with as much tomatillo and jalepeno sauce and lime sour cream as you would like.