Pollo Verde

Totally unplanned taco tuesday post 4 ur bodies ur minds ur spirits with something I’ve probably made 5 times with plans to shoot but something would always come up so I was just a man 5 batches of tacos rich. Obviously this leads to me eating 5 batches of tacos but I wasn’t mad about it.

Pro Tip: Never trust a man that’s mad about 5 batches of tacos.

The other day we were perusing the local Cardena’s for groceries when I walked past a *stunning* mountain of tomatillos, and my immediate reaction was to fill a bag and walk away from the mountain no questions asked no plan in mind just a bag of tomatillos and a life to live.

When I got home I was talking with Esteban about what I could do that wasn’t just salsa verde and then like a truck I was hit with the memory of this pollo verde and figured better late than never and here we are on this very day.

The recipe itself is actually from Anne Burrell with a much longer title of explanation but it’s basically a salsa verde braised chicken, and very similar to chile verde just assembled in a slightly different way. My only real change is the use of only thighs and shredding up the chicken so it can be used for a number of applications. The flavor is so insanely good, super limey, a little smokey, a little spicy, and perfect on a warm tortilla or bed of rice or other grain. It’s total weeknight dinner material while also being total weekend dinner party fare and you can make it 5 times without taking a picture and it doesn’t affect the excitement at all, not that I would know anything about that.

Pollo Verde
Serves 4-6
Adapted barely from Anne Burrell

6 tomatillos
2 jalapeños
2 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
kosher salt and pepper
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken stock
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few more leaves for garnish

Start by preheating your broiler to high, lining a small baking sheet (whatever can fit under your broiler) with aluminum foil. Prep the tomatillos by removing the husk and running them under cold water while rubbing off the sticky residue with your hands. Place them on the baking sheet then prep the jalapeños by stemming them and slicing lengthwise. Here’s where we choose our spice level. If you’re mouth is like that of a baby and you can’t do spice remove the seeds and ribs from both jalapeños using a teaspoon and place the peppers on the prepared baking sheet skin side up. If you really dig the spice leave all the seeds and ribs in or if you’re like me and you like just enough to enhance the flavor half baby mouth then remove everything from just one pepper. Do not touch your body anywhere, wash your hands thoroughly, then place the pan under the broiler and broil until the skin on both the tomatillos and peppers is charred and the tomatillos are cooked and slightly deflated, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool while we go on with everything else.

In a large dutch oven heat up a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and season one side of the chicken with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot, add half the chicken seasoned side down, then season the now exposed side of the chicken with salt and pepper. Once the first side is browned well and isn’t sticking to the pan flip over and brown the second side. After the chicken is browned on both sides remove from the dutch oven and place on a plate or do like me and invert the lid to the pot and use that to hold it until it has to go back into the pan. Repeat all this with the other half of the chicken.

While the chicken browns it’s the perfect time to dice up the onion and mince the garlic.

After the chicken’s done, pour out all but one tablespoon of the fat that’s leftover, add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until it’s softened and any brown bits from the bottom of the pan have loosened and picked up, about 5-7 minutes. While the onion’s going, 1/4 inch dice the jalapeños and chop up the tomatillos and set aside. After the onion’s done add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant, then add the tomatillos, jalapeños, chicken stock, and the zest and juice of the limes (zesting right into the pot to get all the oils) then stir together and add the chicken back into the pot, nestling it into a single layer, but don’t worry if it’s not all submerged.

Turn up the heat to bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, then pop the lid on and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and continue simmering for 20 minutes to help the sauce thicken and the chicken finish cooking. After the 20 minutes turn off the heat, remove the chicken, and let it sit for about 30 minutes to cool enough to handle so you can remove the skin and shred up the meat with your hands.

Once the meat’s cooled and shredded add it back to the sauce, along with the chopped cilantro, and heat the pollo verde back up over low heat if needed. Serve over rice, with avocado and radish and beans (probably my leftovers lunch today tbh) or eat as tacos. With these I usually go extra simple and eat them with crumbled cotija cheese and sliced radishes.

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