3 medium Anaheim or poblano chilies (Tip: When working with chilies, always wear rubber gloves. Wash the cutting surface and knife immediately afterward.)
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 medium chicken (about 3 ½ pounds), cut up
2 medium chicken breast halves, skin and bone attached
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cups chicken stock
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1½ pound tomatillos, husked and quartered
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Corn or flour tortillas Cilantro leaves, for garnish
To peel the chilies, place on a broiler pan and broil approximately 6 inches from the heat until blackened on all sides. Use tongs to turn. Close tightly in a brown paper bag. Let rest for 10 minutes. Remove the chilies from the bag, drain and peel. Make a slit in each chile and open it up. Core, cut off the stem and scrape out the seeds and ribs. Chop the chilies into ¼-inch pieces. Reserve.
Dry the chicken pieces carefully. In a large saute pan heat half of the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the chicken until lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. You may have to do this in batches, adding the remaining oil as needed. Remove to a side platter.
Add the onion and saute over medium heat until soft but not brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and deglaze the pan by turning up the heat and scraping the brown bits off the bottom.
Add the garlic, reserved chilies, tomatillos, cilantro and cumin. Bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer. Add the browned chicken pieces and simmer on low, covered, turning the chicken once to cook evenly. Simmer until the chicken pieces are just done, about 20 minutes. (Remove the smaller pieces and breasts first.)
Transfer the chicken onto a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Add the lime juice to the pan and then reduce the sauce until slightly thickened. Add the salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Pour over the chicken pieces. Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas and garnish with the fresh cilantro leaves.
Serves 4 to 6
Diane Rossen Worthington