This Fall, you’ll want to pull out this recipe for Grilled Chicken Chile Verde made on your TEC Grill. It’s the best combination of a stew, soup and/or chili, and is perfect for tailgating, busy weeknight suppers, or when you just want to appreciate the first cool days of Fall.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Chile verde is a traditional Southwestern stew typically made with pork, and is flavored by tomatillos and a variety of green peppers that give it its characteristic color (verde is green in Spanish).
Tomatillos make up the base of the sauce. You might think that tomatillos are “little tomatoes”. But they are their own variety of fruit native to Mexico. Before using them, be sure to remove the papery outer husk, and then rinse off the sticky coating. No need to seed them, though, you can use the entire fruit. We grill the tomatillos before adding them to the sauce to give them a little flavor, but also to soften them before adding to the pot.
As for the meat, we like to use bone-in chicken thighs or a whole cut-up chicken. But you can use whatever cut of meat you like, just don’t use something like boneless chicken breasts. Since chile verde is more like a stew, the meat will be cooking for a while in the sauce. So you want something that has a little more fat, and won’t easily dry out.
Grilling the chicken first on your TEC Grill will give it that charred flavor that we all love. But another tip is to not cook the chicken all of the way on the grill. Just grill it on medium-high heat until you have nice grill marks and a little char, and then take it off the grill. Add it to the chile verde sauce, and it will finish cooking while it simmers in the stew.
To serve grilled chicken chile verde, simply ladle it over a bowl of rice. If you like , you can also garnish with tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, cilantro and lime wedges. It also makes a great stuffing for burritos!
HOW TO ROAST PEPPERS
A key part of developing the flavor for chicken chile verde is to roast the peppers. Use a variety of green colored peppers, pretty much whatever you have available to you. Poblanos, jalapenos, green serranos, and even green bell peppers are the typical varieties that give the stew a deep roasted pepper flavor. But also try Anaheim, Hatch and even shishito peppers if available.
You can also control the level of heat of the chile verde by which peppers you choose, so feel free to use your favorites. Since the heat of peppers can vary greatly from one pepper to the next, taste a little piece of the pepper before putting it into the pot. Serranos tend to be the hottest, and then jalapenos, poblanos and Hatch chiles. Anaheim peppers are usually milder, and green bell peppers have no heat at all. Have a question about how hot a pepper might be? Check out this chart from Chili Pepper Madness.
To roast the peppers, brush the outside of the pepper with canola oil. Preheat your TEC Grill on high heat with the lid closed for 10 minutes. Place the peppers directly on the grates of your grill. Roast, turning occasionally, until all sides of the pepper are charred. Remove the peppers from the grill, and place in a bowl.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or foil, and allow the peppers to steam for about 5 minutes. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to wipe away the skin. Avoid rinsing the peppers under water. It will rinse off the skin, but also a lot of the good char flavor too. Seed and chop the peppers, and they are ready to use in your recipes.
GRILLED CHICKEN CHILE VERDE
Traditional recipes for chile verde have you place all of the sauce ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Since we like to keep all of the prep outside on our TEC Grill, we skip this step. The result is a chunkier sauce, but feel free to blend it after step 13 below if you like a smoother sauce.
2 pounds tomatillos, husk removed and rinsed
2 poblano peppers
2 Anaheim peppers
2 jalapeno peppers
1 serrano pepper
2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon dried marjoram or oregano
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, cilantro and lime wedges for garnish
Preheat your TEC Grill on medium-high heat with the lid closed for 10 minutes.
Rub canola oil all over the outside of the tomatillos, poblano, Anaheim, jalapeno and serrano peppers.
Brush the chicken with canola oil, and season with salt and pepper.
When the grill is hot, add the tomatillos and peppers to the grill. Roast, turning occasionally, until all sides of the pepper are charred and the tomatillos are softened.
Remove the tomatillos from the grill and roughly chop. Set aside.
Remove the peppers from the grill, and place them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or foil. Steam for 5 minutes, and then wipe away the skin. Seed and chop the peppers and set aside.
Add the chicken to the grill. Grill just until slightly charred and grill marks show. Remove the chicken from the grill and set aside. Note that the chicken may not be cooked through all of the way at this point.
Turn heat down to low. Place a stew pot or cast iron Dutch oven on the grill.
When the pot is hot, add just enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
When the oil is hot, add the onion to the pot. Saute until onion is softened and starting to brown.
Add the cumin seeds and marjoram (or oregano), and cook for about 30 seconds. Just until the herbs are fragrant.
Add the garlic, and saute for another 30 seconds. Just until you smell the garlic. Don’t let the garlic burn!
Add the tomatillos, peppers and chicken stock to the pot. Stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
Add the chicken thighs to the pot, nestling them into the sauce. Simmer for about 20 more minutes, until chicken is cooked through and sauce is reduced.
Remove chicken thighs and set aside. When cool enough to handle, shred or chop the chicken.
Add the cilantro and lime juice to the pot, and stir. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with tortilla chips, avocado, sour cream, more cilantro and lime wedges.
What’s your favorite Fall dish? Share with us by tagging your grilling pics @TECGrills!