Busy? Make a great dinner with minimal effort

Gretchen McKay
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The days leading up to the holidays can be exhausting, what with all the visitors and shopping and general merriment over the approaching holidays. So any meal that can be whipped up with minimal effort is a reason to cheer for the busy cook.

This tangy, tomatillo-forward pozole fits the bill, with an easy (mostly) stovetop preparation. Both filling and super-warming, it's a verdant showcase not just for the tender, shredded chicken that gives the stew its heft but also for the hominy — dried corn that has been soaked in an alkaline solution to remove the hull and germ. The plump, slightly chewy kernels add a mild and earthy flavor that's pretty irresistible, and it's also a good and (unexpected) source of fiber.

Optional toppings include shredded cabbage, diced onion and thinly sliced radish for crunch and lime wedges for an extra burst of citrus flavor.

I made the broth with more tomatillos and cilantro than the original recipe because, well, I love how both ingredients taste.

For the best prices, look for tomatillos at Mexican markets such as Las Palmas in Brookline. Mexican oregano is stronger and less sweet than Mediterranean oregano, with a peppery bite and lemony finish; if you can't find it, substitute dried marjoram. Look for hominy in the canned bean aisle.

It's doubtful there will be many leftovers but, just in case, pozole verde can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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This Chicken Pozole Verde derives its flavor from poultry that has been simmered in a tangy sauce made from tomatillos, cilantro, and green chilies. (Dreamstime/TNS)

CHICKEN POZOLE VERDE

PG tested

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 jalapeño peppers, halved and seeds removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 very large handful cilantro, stems and leaves
  • 2 15-ounce cans white hominy, drained and rinsed well
  • Optional toppings: lime wedges, sliced radishes, thinly shredded cabbage, diced onions and/or chopped cilantro

In a large pot or Dutch oven, add chicken thighs, tomatillos, onion, jalapeños, garlic, oregano, salt and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover partially, and simmer for 40 minutes until chicken is fall-apart tender.

Transfer chicken to cutting board and shred with a fork or, once it has cooled, shred it with your fingers. Set aside.

Using a large slotted spoon, carefully transfer the cooked tomatillos, onions, jalapeños and garlic to a large blender. Add in a cup of the cooking liquid and the cilantro, and blend until completely smooth.

Carefully pour the blended mixture back into the pot and stir in the shredded chicken and hominy. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Taste and season with more salt, if necessary.

Serve with toppings such as fresh lime juice, thinly shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, cilantro, diced onions and Mexican oregano.

— Adapted from isabeleats.com

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