Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tomatillo Chicken


A while ago, I saw this one-pot recipe on a PBS' Everyday Food.  My dvr is crazy full of cooking programs so I thought I'd start making some of these dishes before they got deleted.  I decided to make tomatillo chicken because I had most of the ingredients, it seemed straight forward and cooking time was gonna be minimal. 

 Tomatillo Chicken.

Over a high flame, brown the chicken parts but do not cook them through.  Just render the fat by crisping up the skin on both sides.   

You will end up doing this in 2 or 3 batches depending on the amount of chicken you use and the size of your pan.  Once the chicken is browned, set it aside.

 While the chicken is browning, mince garlic, chile of your choice (I used 2 serranos, seeds and all) and dice half an onion.  I decided to slice a serrano too just so you can see it in the final product.

 The star of the show -  I love the tartness of tomatillos.  Drizzle a tomatillo based salsa on a taco de carne asada and I'm good.

For this dish, you'll need about 2 pounds of tomatillos.  Husk, rinse and halve.  Then, give em a spin in the blender til they're broken down but not completely smooth.

Okay, so once the tomatillos are broken down and the chicken is browned, drain most of the fat and in the same pan, sautee the onions and chile.  Be sure to scrape all the bits of brown goodness of the bottom of the pan.  Once the mixture is softened, add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Drain a small can of hominy.

Then, pour the tomatillo sauce and dump the hominy into the pan with the onion, garlic and chile mixture.

Stir the sauce to incorporate everything well and place all of the browned chicken parts into the pot.

Simmer for 15 minutes and in the last minute stir in some freshly chopped cilantro.

Garnish with more fresh cilantro or thinly sliced chile and serve.

Overall, I liked the dish for what it was.  But I'm loving it more for what it can become.  I see it as a perfect base for a more flavorful sauce.  Let me reiterate that there is nothing wrong with the recipe as is.  Remember, this is from a show called "Everyday Food."  So before you go off making this recipe expecting a bigtime wow-factor, remember, it's from Everyday Food, so expect a no-fuss, no frills, good meal.  Do not expect something out of El Bulli.  C'mon kid, "ya playin' Yaself."

 Back to the dish...As much as I love crispy skin, I don't see the point in keeping it on, if the chicken is gonna go back in to the braising liquid.  I might remove the skin next time, crisp it further, then slice it thinly and use it as a garnish.  This way, skin lovers (like me) get to enjoy the crispiness rather than have flabby stuff inside the dish. Another thing I would do is use more than just salt and pepper to season the dish.  Or, better yet, I'd enhance the sauce with the addition of different dried chiles.  It would make for a more complex sauce as this one is fairly simple.  One thing I did enjoy a lot was the use of hominy. Seriously, aside from posole and menudo, what do we use it for?  Exactly.  So, next time, you want a straight forward tasty dish, give this one a try.                


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