Occasionally I run into something that I have no idea how to cook. It’s not necessarily something that’s challenging, it’s just something I’m unfamiliar with. Tomatillos fall under that category. I did not grow up with tomatillos. They’re not something you come across in suburban New York, but they’re plenty common in New York City and many other places.
I made an unappetizing tomatillo salsa long ago. It was mediocre and not worth repeating, so for a long time I was convinced that I didn’t like tomatillos at all. I was wrong. So wrong.
I’m recently obsessed with this soup. It isn’t heavy, so it’s perfect for Spring and the warmer weather. It’s also on the healthier side, so no fear as bathing suit season has arrived. I don’t find this recipe to be particularly spicy, so if you want to spice it up with more intense peppers, then do so, but I really like it this way. It’s particularly perfect topped with some creamy, ripe avocado or a dollop of sour cream!
roasted tomatillo chicken soup
makes 6 servings
2 pounds tomatillos, paper husks removed and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless,
2 teaspoons chili powder
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 anaheim chili
1 jalapeño pepper
1 medium white onion, peeled and quartered
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken broth
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
Cut the tomatillos in half and lay them cut-side down on a sheet pan. Place them in the oven under the broiler with the rack on the second shelf from the top. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the tomatillos are charred. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet or heavy pan over medium heat. Halve the chicken lengthwise, sprinkle with chili powder and cook through, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and set aside. Trim the stems off of the Anaheim and jalapeño then add them with the onion and garlic to the skillet. Over high heat let them char on all sides. Combine the charred vegetables and tomatillos with the broth, cilantro, lime juice, and spices in a large soup pot. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Alternatively, puree the soup in a blender in batches and return it to the pot. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Cook the soup over medium-high heat for 20 minutes until heated through and the flavors combine. Serve hot. Garnish with sour cream or avocado.