Since I have been all over the place lately, geographically AND mentally, I have been having trouble with food inspiration! One of the problems is that I have been eating REALLY well. I have my best flashes of brilliance when I am starving. (Really brilliance? Your a conceited snob Dan.) My Mom kept asking what we were eating for dinner this Monday. I had no idea! We agreed on a few points. Kinda Mexican, minimal oven/stove use, summery yet cooked hot and meaty. These requirements are specific and vague at the same time. This soup suddenly came to me and I am glad cause it was really tasty. I never feel like eating soup in the august heat, but the tang of the tomatillos and chayote made this hot soup feel refreshing and irresistible despite the weather.
The first step to ANY chili should be soaking dried chiles in hot water or stock.
Lots of tomatillos to peel. Your hands will be real sticky.
Red chilis tend to have a lot of ingredients. This green chili is no exception!
Have you ever used a chayote before? It is easy. Just peel them, cut them, core them, and use them!
Straining out the chiles. Normally when I use dried chiles, I put them in the blender with the soaking liquid to retain as much flavor as possible. Today, I wanted the chili to be green so i strained them out. There was still tons of chile flavor in the stock.
Chopped chayotes. Put these into the strained stock with the tomatillos and simmer for a half hour.
Here are the radish greens I labeled earlier in the food processor.
The finished stock. After the chayotes and tomatillos were tender, in 3 batches I put them in the blender with the hot chile stock they had been simmering in. In the first batch I added the radish greens. In the second batch, a handful of cilantro. In the third, some basil. The hard part of making this chili is complete! Taste the stock and realize to yourself how awesome this soup is going to be! Tangy!
Now it's time to build the chili! Some onions, the Italian peppers, and jalapenos are chunked up and headed to the pot.
My mom whipped up some cornbread to go with this meal. This is when we realized we weren't supposed to be using the oven that much! The kitchen was really hot.
After the veg sweated for a bit, some garlic goes in.
Now all of that beautiful stock you made.
Some radishes became a garnish for the chili along with cotija cheese and scallions.
Grilling some chicken for the soup.
Joanna wanted me to keep this picture in because of her beautiful hand modeling skills.
Small white beans from a can that I rinsed. At this point, also add some cayenne if it needs heat, dash of dried oregano, and a bunch of cumin.
Here is Jo again setting the table.
Lastly, in goes the shredded chicken from the grill.
Very tasty, and tangy enough that it is almost refreshing for a summer night!
Tomatillo Chayote Chile Stock:
1 small bag of dried anahiem or new mexico chiles
about 4 or 5 dried chipotles
1 box chicken stock
2 lbs tomatillos husked
2 chayotes, peeled, cored, chopped
about 10 sprigs cilantro
3 stems basil
1 bunch of radish greens
Remove stems and seeds from all dried chiles. Add to stock and bring to simmer. remove from heat and allow to sit for a half hour. strain and discard chiles. The stock should be very flavorful and also fiery hot. Return stock to pot and add tomatillos and chayotes. Top with water if you need more liquid to cover veg. simmer 20 minutes or until chayote is tender. You may want to cut the chayote smaller than shown in picture above. Put the mixture in a food processor with radish greens, basil, and cilantro and blend until there aren't chunks anymore. You will may have to do this batches.
1 small red onion chopped
2 poblanos chopped
4 jalapenos chopped
3 cloves garlic diced
tomatillo stock from above
3 grilled chicken breasts
2 cans small white beans
1 or 2 tablespoons cumin to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne to taste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Luice of 2 limes
saute the onion and peppers 10 minutes. Add the garlic 2 minutes. Pour in your tomatillo stock. Add spices and salt to taste. Add beans and chicken. Simmer 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Remove from heat and squeeze in the juice of 2 limes.