Chipotle-Lime Roast Chicken with Tomatillo Sauce

The best American name for this vegetable would probably be “Mexican green tomato”, but they actually taste nothing like regular tomatoes, In fact, the tomatillo is not a tomato at all. The tomatillo has a tart, lemony flavor that is enhance when cooked (especially roasted) and is an excellent base for salsas. While salsa (salsa verde) is the most popular way to enjoy tomatillo, they can be used in other ways. Tomatillos contain high amounts of vitamin A&C. Tomatillos are our #2 sales item!

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1 (3-3/4 pound) whole roasting chicken
2 tsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. chipotle chile powder
1 tsp. grated lime rind
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
cooking spray
8 oz. tomatillos
1 medium onion, quartered
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 (4-1/2 oz.) can chopped green chiles, undrained
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


Preheat oven to 375F. Remove and discard the giblets and neck from the chicken. Trim off the excess fat. Starting at the neck cavity, loosen the skin from the breasts and drumsticks by inserting your fingers, gently pushing between the skin and the meat.

Combine the butter, chile powder, rind, 1/2 tsp. salt, cumin and 1 garlic clove in a small bowl. Rub the seasoning mixture under the loosened skin and over the breasts and drumsticks. Tie the ends of the legs together with twine. Lift the wing tips up and over the back, then tuck under the chicken. Place the chicken, breast side up, on a rack coated with cooking spray, then place the rack in a roasting pan.

Discard the husks and stems from the tomatillos and cut into quarters. Arrange the tomatillos and onion evenly around the chicken and bake at 375F for 40 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 450F, and bake an additional 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the meaty part of thigh registers 170F. Remove the chicken from the pan and let it stand for 15 minutes.

Place the tomatillos and onion in a food processor. Add the remaining 1/4 tsp. of salt and the remaining 3 garlic cloves, cilantro, juice and chiles. Process the ingredients until smooth.

Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Carve the chicken and serve it topped with the sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.

Yields 4 servings (serving size: 5 oz. meat and about 1/2 cup sauce).

Recipe by Lorrie Hulston Corvin, Cooking Light Magazine, May 2006.