Chicken Pozole Verde

It was kind a weird weekend, weather-wise. It’s mid-November and yet, it was 60 degrees and sunny. I mean, I’m not complaining or anything, we can put off the impending chill for a bit longer, but it certainly didn’t lend itself to fall cooking.

For me, mexican flavors, bright with lime and cilantro, scream summer- or at least warm weather. And like most people, thick stews, teeming with potatoes and starches, shout winter. This chicken pozole verde, with its verdant tomatillos and earthy hominy,  was a perfect bridge for this not-so-fall-like fall weekend.

This recipe is beyond easy. The original calls for poaching some chicken breasts; I decided to roast them because I have a general problem with cooking anything in water that doesn’t need to be. I realize that poaching is a completely valid (and healthy) method of cooking, but whenever I think about trying it, I can’t figure out why I would want to sap out the flavor of something instead of  concentrating it in an oven. I have a feeling my logic is flawed, but eh, I’m stubborn like that. Anyways, after the poaching, all that’s left is to purée the remaining ingredients and sauté them until fragrant. Throw in the shredded chicken and a couple cans of hominy and call yourself fed.

The stew is both warming and incredibly healthy. I only used one jalapeño because I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to heat. Next time I’ll use both. The hominy imparts a distinct corny flavor; but not like sweet yellow corn- more like  that of a good corn tortilla. If you aren’t familiar with hominy, it’s basically a savory, super-starchy, overgrown cousin of corn that’s commonly used to make grits. Almost all pozoles contain hominy and if you haven’t tried one, you should get on that. This pozole was my make-ahead dinner for the week; It keeps very well and is absolutely delicious with some sour cream….but honestly, isn’t everything? Any excuse for sour cream… If you were to use left-over chicken, or poach/cook your chicken ahead of time, this would absolutely qualify as a quick, hangry meal. This one will go one my roster, for any season of the year.

Chicken Pozole Verde

Adapted from Food and Wine

If you want to roast the chicken breast instead of poach them, just liberally season them with salt and pepper and roast at 350°F on a parchment-lined sheet pan for about 30 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145°F- it will continue to cook after it comes out of the oven.

7 c. chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 c. water
4 chicken breast halves on the bone, with skin
1 lb tomatillos, husked and halved
1 small onion, quartered
2 poblano chiles—cored, seeded and quartered
2 jalapeños, seeded and quartered
4 lg garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1 T oregano leaves (I used dry, though I think they mean fresh)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
3, 15-ounce cans of hominy, drained

Serving suggestions: Finely shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, chopped onion, diced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and lime wedges, for serving

  • In a large pot or skillet, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil
  • Add the chicken breasts, and simmer over low heat for 25 min or until cooked through. Cool, discard the skin and bones, and shred
  • Puree the tomatillos, onion, poblanos, jalapeños, garlic, cilantro and oregano in a blender, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper
  • In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat
  • Add the green puree and cook until deep green and fragrant (~10-15 min)
  • Add the hominy and bring to a simmer, then add the chicken and warm through
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve
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