Part II of my Facebook celebrity chef cook-off. I guess that's what you'd call it. When you ask a group of people who their favorite chef is and no one picks the same chef, you can't chose a winner. So you kinda have to do them all. Last week's chef was Tyler Florence and I made his Chicken Francese. It was simple and delicious. This time I made Anne Burrell's Braised Chicken with Tomatillos and Jalapenos
In case you're interested, here's the line up:
It took me some time to warm up to Anne. She had a particular expression (not facial...verbal perhaps) that really annoyed me. Once I got past that (and I think she's stopped doing it)...I really started enjoying her shows. She's funny in a a cool, corny..silly adult kind of way. And the tips and techniques she shares are great. This is the first recipe (I'm pretty sure...but don't always hold me to my memory) of hers that I've made, and....
It's easy. Not quick (bone-in chicken takes time to cook). There are a few simple steps. I wouldn't take any short cuts. The results are absolute deliciousness. You start off by grilling the tomatillos and jalapenos. This adds a slightly sweet, smokey flavor and takes everything to another level. You end up with tender chicken covered in a delicately smooth sauce with hints of heat and something almost sweet in the end. I think what surprised me here was that the sauce doesn't look delicate with those little chunks of tomatillos and onions...but when it hits your pallet, you want to close your eyes and go...mmmmm.
Braised Chicklen with Tomatillos and Jalapenos
6 tomatillos, husked
Extra virgin olive oil
4 chicken thighs (trimmed of excess skin and fat)
4 chicken legs
1 large onion (original recipe says Spanish onion, I used a white onion because that's what I had)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup sour cream (I used Mexican Crema)
2 limes, zested and juiced
You start off by grilling your tomatillos and jalapenos. Sure you can do this outside on the bbq grill. I used my indoor grill pan on my stove. If you don't have either....do it in a heavy, hot skillet (cast iron would be best). Or....broil them in your oven. The goal is to get them charred.
So...tomatillos have a papery husk on them that need to be removed before you do anything.
Underneath that husk, you have what looks like a miniature green tomato.
Thats kinda sticky. Wash em up and toss them on the grill
Once they're all charred, set them aside to cool.
Get out a large pan with high, straight sides (not a big ole pot...you just want something that will eventually be able to hold everything without slopping over), Coat it with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle your chicken with salt and place in the hot pan, skin side down. Brown on all sides (I had to do this is batches). Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Get rid of the fat in the pan and add in a little oil. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt and saute (scraping up the good stuff on the bottom of the pan that the chicken left behind) until the onions are soft, about 7 or 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the tomatillos into chunks. Finely dice the jalapenos into little bits. If you're not into heat...ditch the seeds before you start dicing (thats what I did).
Once the onions are tender and smell ooooh sooo good....add the garlic and continue sauteing for another minute or two. Add in the tomatillos and jalapenos, chicken stock, lime juice and zest. Give it a quick taste and add salt if necessary.
Put the chicken into the pan, bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another 15 minutes.
While that's going on, make the optional cream sauce but combining the sour cream, lime zest and juice (I added a small pinch of salt). Set aside until the dinner is ready.
Remove the chicken from the pan.
Toss the chopped cilantro into the sauce and stir.
Serve by spooning the sauce over the chicken and garnish with cilantro and lime sour cream. To be honest...this dish did not need the lime sour cream. Had I left the jalapeno seeds in, I might've needed the cream to tone down the heat.
All in all...I absolutely love this dish. I can't tell you what the rest of the family had to say. No one else was home and I dined alone (happens often since the girls are grown and Sir Sportsalot is out there coaching basketball). Good thing is....there's leftovers!!