Namesake: Chicken Chile Verde

January 25, 2012

J's signature chicken chile verde.

People constantly buttonhole me: “Robyn, the name of your blog is Chile Verde Chronicles, but you don’t have a single chile verde recipe: What’s up with that?”

OK. I exaggerate. It is a fair question, but no one has asked. Well, hold onto your hats, friends …

First, a little bookkeeping: I contemplated filing this under “Tradition” as this dish pops up frequently enough in our rotation. It could also fit naturally under the header “Sunday Dinner” as that’s the standard CV feast day. At the same time, it could just as easily fit under “Refrigerator Staple” because we always seem to have a batch of leftovers. But to me this dish deserves its own header, and perhaps some day a series of posts.

Safe to say that J’s chicken chile verde has evolved dramatically over the years. In one of the first versions, back in our early dating days, he used canned jalapeños instead of milder green chiles. The result was fuego — liquid fire — which he declared “practically inedible.”  Coming from him, that’s saying something.

Today the basic ingredients remain the same (chicken thighs, lots of veggies and chicken broth), but there’s always a tweak here and there. One batch he’ll use roux as a thickener, the next it’s barley. (Can you imagine?) At times, he’s rubbed and grilled the chicken first, finishing it in the stew, and other times he’s poached the chicken to make the broth base. Every time he makes it, it’s slightly different, and a little better.

So, without further ado, I give you his latest version which involved rub-seasoning and grilling the chicken:

J’s Chicken Chile Verde

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

2 strips bacon cut into 1 inch pieces

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 large jalapeño (or more to taste), chopped

3 7-ounce cans whole green chiles, 1 can chopped, 2 cans diced (will be divided)

1 green bell pepper, diced (will be divided)

3 small onions, diced (will be divided)

6 cloves garlic, chopped

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 chicken bullion cube

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon cumin seeds (less or more to taste)

8 to 10 black peppercorns

1/3 cup barley, rinsed

Pinch of chile flakes

Salt and fresh-ground pepper

Fresh lemon or lime.

For the rub: In a plastic storage bag, combine the paprika, granulated garlic, chipotle powder, salt and pepper, and shake to mix. Add the chicken, give it a little rubdown, and refrigerate for at least one hour while you start the stew.

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, crisp the bacon, rendering the fat. Add the carrots, celery, 2/3 of the diced onion, 1/2 of the diced bell pepper and cook in until soft, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, barley, cumin seeds and peppercorns and stir to mix with the vegetables. Add 1 can of chopped green chiles and half the jalapeño. Stir. Add the broth and the bullion and simmer, covered, for 1 hour to 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After simmering, blend the mixture until smooth, not grainy, using an immersion blender (this could take a few minutes — you don’t want whole peppercorns).  Add the remaining onion, bell pepper, jalapeño and diced canned chiles and continue to simmer while you grill the chicken, making sure to mark it well. When done grilling, let the chicken rest for a few minutes, then dice.

Add the chicken to the chile verde and stir. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Season to taste with chile flakes, salt and pepper. If you feel so inclined, add a squeeze of lemon or lime, to taste, for a bit of acid.

That’s it. The barley adds a rich nuttiness, the grilled chicken a smoky undertone and the peppercorns, well, a nice pepper flavor. Serve with warm tortillas, beans, shredded or melted cheddar, crumbled Mexican cheese, shredded lettuce, minced onion, habañero salsa, cilantro — whatever combination floats your boat. Hell, it’s good in a bowl eaten with a spoon. It’s better the next day, and the next.

Phone us on a Sunday night and chances are we’re drinking wine and cooking up a big batch of chile verde. Pretty nice tradition, I say.

Advertisements

4 Responses to “Namesake: Chicken Chile Verde”

  1. Levimike said

    Can’t wait to have the Chef fix this for some hungry Borregaens!

  2. We can’t wait either! Looking forward to it.

  3. julia said

    I’ll have mine over huevos please.

  4. Oh yeah … over eggs would be awesome, Julia!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: