You may have noticed that today is Cinco de Mayo, an important holiday in Mexican culture. On this day in 1862, the Mexican army defeated the French in the Battle of Puebla. Cinco de Mayo is not, as is commonly assumed, Mexican Independence Day. That’s on September 16th. No, today is a holiday commemorating an underdog’s victory in battle, and most specifically, the last time European forces invaded North America. Hopefully ever.
It’s no coincidence this recipe was posted on Cinco de Mayo! What better way to celebrate than getting a little more familiar with traditional Mexican ingredients and cuisine?
Serves 5, cooking time approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds tomatillos, husks removed
- 1 white onion, cut inch 1/2 inch slices
- 2 jalapeños
- 2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 dried bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- 1 29-ounce can hominy, liquid drained
- 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Optional garnishes:
- crispy tortilla strips
- sliced radishes
- additional chopped cilantro
- fresh or pickled sliced jalapeños
- lime wedges
- crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
- sliced avocado
- sour cream
- First, you need to roast the vegetables to give them a charred flavor. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Toss the whole peppers (tomatillo and jalapeño) and sliced onion in about 1 tablespoon of oil, and place them in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes, shuffling and flipping the vegetables halfway through. When they are charred on a few sides and releasing their juices, remove the pan from the oven and let cool.
- Meanwhile, put the chicken thighs, cilantro, cumin, oregano, hominy, bay leaf, a pinch of salt, and vegetable broth in a large dutch oven.
- Remove the stems from the jalapeños and transfer all the roasted vegetables to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth; the sauce will look like a thick salsa verde. Add the mixture to the dutch oven.
- Bring this mixture to a boil over high heat on the stove. Then turn the heat to a low simmer and cover, cooking for 35 minutes.
- Prior to serving, remove chicken thighs and shred them with a knife and fork. This step will also help you assess the done-ness of the chicken. Return the chicken to the pot; if you noticed any pink and underdone pieces, leave the stew to simmer for 15 more minutes, uncovered. Otherwise, let the stew simmer for just a few more minutes, while you prepare the garnishes.
- Spoon the stew into bowls and add whatever garnishes you desire.
Some of you may have never tried hominy before. Pictured above, hominy is most often sold canned in the United States. Hominy is simply a corn kernel that has been dried, and then soaked in lye and other additives. It has many different uses, including being ground into a flour to make masa, but pozole is one of the most popular recipes using for hominy.
So whether or not you’ve tried hominy, and whether or not you’re commemorating Cinco de Mayo, whip up a batch of Green Chili Chicken Pozole today and thank me later! Make sure to go hog wild with the garnishes– the bright colors and variety of textures are bound to make this dish even more appealing.