While working at Food & Wine magazine in my early twenties, some of the editors were raving about Hatch green chillies as we chatted, and, not wanting to seem like a total idiot, I nodded enthusiastically and then immediately went to search what these things were. They are, in fact, pretty awesome, and come from a town called Hatch in New Mexico, USA. You can add them to soups, stews, salsas or use as toppings for burgers or pizzas for a great depth of flavour. They range in heat level (and also offer a subtle sweetness to them), so buy whichever are better for your palate.
This recipe is in no way meant to replicate a traditional chili verde (from New Mexico) but, regardless, it is pretty good. It’s one of those dishes you’ll make and be like, whoa, that’s a lot better than I expected in this short amount of time. You may have to do a bit searching for fresh tomatillos if they’re not readily available, but the tinned variety will always be available online and in specialty stores.
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 jalapeño chillis, 1 seeded and diced, 1 sliced for sprinkling
2 poblano or green (bell) peppers, seeded and diced
1 tin tomatillos, drained or 6 fresh husked or 6 fresh green tomatoes, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
450 g (1 lb) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) low-salt chicken stock (broth)
125 g (4 oz) tin mild or hot chopped green chillies, preferably Hatch
2 limes, juice of 1, 1 sliced into wedges, for serving
15 g (1/2 oz/ 1/2 cup) fresh coriander (cilantro), fine stems and leaves roughly chopped
1 Hass avocado, halved, destoned, peeled and sliced, for serving (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish (Dutch oven) over a medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, jalapeño, peppers, tomatillos, salt and pepper, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, spices and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add to the pan. Pour in the chicken stock and raise the heat to maintain a gentle simmer (avoid bringing to a boil). Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. If the chicken pieces are not completely submerged, then turn them over halfway. Remove the chicken and place on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Use a fork and knife to shred the chicken, then add it back along with any liquid and the green chillies. Cook until the chicken is warmed through, about 2 minutes; squeeze in the lime and adjust seasoning as needed. Ladle into bowls and top with coriander, avocado (if using) and sliced jalapeño. Serve with lime wedges.
Recipe notes: You can add white beans when you add the chicken. Then, use the back of a wooden spoon to mash the beans against the side of the pan to thicken it.
Recipe excerpted with permission from Keeping It Simple by Yasmin Fahr, published by Hardie Grant Books February 2020, RRP $24.99 Flexibound.
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