Make this rustic tomatillo chicken casserole whenever you want something a little different. The tomatillos give you a different angle on Mexican cuisine. There are lots of Mexican chicken casseroles out there, but very few that give you this thick, luscious sauce. Toast a few tortilla wedges to garnish the pan when you set it on the table if you want to give it more of a typical Mexican look.
If you have never tried tomatillos, you are in for a treat. Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes wrapped in a papery covering. Also known as a Mexican tomato, ground cherry, and jamberry, tomatillos are one of the main ingredients in salsa verde. The flavor is slightly reminiscent of a lemon. Tomatillos were first grown by the Aztecs and are still a popular part of the cuisine in many Latin American countries.
This recipe can also be made with chicken thighs. They are often more affordable at the grocery store than chicken breasts. They also hold their moisture longer during cooking. Use whatever you have on hand for a delicious and easy meal. Other substitutions can also be made if desired. Leave out the poblano pepper if it is too hot for you. You can add a milder chili or choose not to use any. If you do not care for jack cheese, by all means use a type of cheese you prefer, or leave the cheese out completely.
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- 2 Tablespoons cane syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chopped pecans, slightly roasted
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded
- 3 tomatillos, shells removed and cut in half
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 4 chicken breast halves
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Season the chicken with cayenne, cumin, and paprika. Dust the pieces lightly with a bit of flour. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and brown the chicken on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the wine to the skillet, and cover the pan. Let it simmer for 15 minutes, turning the chicken occasionally.
- Remove the chicken and set aside where it can stay warm in a covered dish.
- Add the tomatillos, poblano pepper, onions, garlic, and pecans to the drippings in the cast iron skillet. Sauté
- everything for 10 minutes.
Put everything from the cast iron skillet into a food processor. Add the salt, syrup, and cloves. Process everything until it is smooth and sauce-like. Set aside.
- Put the chicken and any juice that released back into the cast iron skillet. Cover and let the food simmer for 10 minutes on medium-low. Cut the chicken into chunks. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with sliced green onions and pepper jack cheese. If you prefer, you can garnish with parsley.
- Serve over rice.