Although I love to cook (in the winter), I often have a problem figuring out what to cook. On Tuesday, I was taking inventory of our freezer, figuring out what I could put together and what needed to be eaten. Smart people keep a list on their freezer to know the contents, but I admit, I'm not that disciplined.
I had some chicken breasts and I went to my fairly large, by todays' standards, cookbook collection. Since I recently purchased The Best of Gourmet 2004: featuring the flavors of Rome (Conde Nast, 2004) and Maggie's husband swears by recipies from Gourmet magazine, I went to see what recipes they had for chicken.
I looked at green Pozole with Chicken on page 177, and realized that not only could I do this, but I could streamline it with what was in my freezer. While my freezer holds the bounty of my garden and isn't normal contents for most American freezers, all of these ingredients are available at your grocery store. At least my rationale is that if I can find it at Kroger's in Troy, Ohio, you'll be able to find it almost anywhere in the U.S.A.
I made it, and daughter and husband were VERY happy. In fact, my husband was so happy with it, he took it to work and shared a bowl with one of his co-workers. The co-worker asked for the recipe, so I think this is certifiably good.
Green Pozole is a Mexican dish which is basically a stew based on tomatillos. I love tomatillos for their acidic, lemony sweet taste and got one of my quilty friends to grow some in her garden this year too. They are a member of the nightshade family and have a papery husk on the outside. I'm always looking for new ways to use them, and this is definitely a winner.
Here's Gourmet's version, in case you want to do the longer version which is a tad more time consuming, total time for their version is about 2 hours.
Lisa's Streamlined Green Pozole with Chicken
3 pounds boneless skinnless chicken breast (or whatever chicken you might have) or 3 pounds of
cooked chicken removed from the bone. Using left-overs is great, and you can fudge a little
with the amount of chicken, using a little less if you desire.
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, chopped.
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup Mole Verde (available in the Mexican food section or gourmet section of your grocery store. The brand I used was Dona Maria. It's a Mexican condiment based on pumpkin seeds. You can add 1/2 cup or to taste, but I used 1/4 cup.)
2 cups Salsa verde (again, you can buy this at the grocery store in the Mexican food section, or it is easily made from scratch. I'll include a recipe at the end of this, or you can just follow Gourmet's section on this from the original article. Tomatillos are now commonly found in my grocery store, so you might find them fresh as well). I used a container that I had frozen from my garden's bounty.
3 cups chicken broth (home made, or purchased....this came from my freezer where I always reserve the chicken broth I get from making other dishes or from cooking down skin and bones).
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno chilies. You can use 2 fresh if you have them, I just always have pickled on hand in the fridge. Any hot chili will work, however.
2 1/2 tsp. salt (adjust to less if you desire or if you're using regular (not low sodium) chicken broth, just leave out and salt to taste at the table).
1 1/2 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 teaspoon oregano
2 cups frozen corn (or you can use canned corn, about 2 cans).
Accompaniments: diced radish; cubed avocado tossed with lime juice; shredded romaine; chopped white onion; lime wedges; dried oregano. (Note: the lime is a must use and will allow you to use less salt if you are watching your sodium intake. The shredded romaine was FANTASTIC! I wouldn't have thought of this, but the slightly sweet and crunchy aspect were perfect accompaniments! Don't skip the romaine.)
1. In a dutch oven or a large pot with cover, saute the chicken breasts in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you're using pre-cooked chicken, skip this step and just go to the next. Remove and allow to cool while doing step #2.
2. Saute the onion and the garlic in the pot, adding a little more oil if necessary.
3. Add salsa verde to the pot, it will steam up and complain, but that's ok. Stir and the acid should deglaze the bottom of the pot.
4. Add chicken broth, green mole, salt, bay leaf, cilantro, oregano, and corn.
5. Shred or dice the chicken. Add to pot.
6. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Roughly.
Bring to the table in bowls and serve with the accompaniments.
This would be a great dish to do in the crock pot as well.
OK, so I cheated and just gave you the link. It is, however, pretty much how I make Salsa Verde. Sometimes, if I have a lot of time or am so inclined, I will take my tomatillos and oven roast them or grill them on a large sheet of aluminum foil in my grill. This brings out the flavor of the tomatillos. It is, however, not imperative that you do this.
I think that if you did this and substituted 3 cans (or the equivalent of soaked dry....say, 8 ounces) of white, cannellini, great northern or white kidney beans for the chicken, and vegetarian broth or maybe some white wine and water, it would make a fantastic vegetarian entree as well. I'm going to have to try that next!