Spicy Chili Verde with White Beans and Optional Chicken
The tomatillo is a plant of the nightshade family, related to the cape gooseberry, bearing small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit of the same name. Tomatillos originated in Mexico, and are a staple of that country’s cuisine.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 1 pound tomatillos
- 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- A couple turns freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth*
- 4 cups cooked small white beans (or 2 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed)
- 1 (4-ounce) can mild diced green chiles
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- Lime wedges (for squeezing over the top)
- Cilantro leaves
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
If adding chicken to half:
- 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
If adding chicken to all:
- 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse off any dirt. Place tomatillos and jalapeno peppers on a rimmed baking sheet. If you want to minimize the risk of the tomatillos exploding, score them by giving each a quick shallow slice with a knife – though I’ve never done this. Which is probably one of many reasons why I need to clean my oven.
- Bake, turning tomatillos and peppers over once about 15 minutes in, until they’re soft and blackened in spots, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- While the tomatillos and the peppers are roasting, assemble the base of the soup. To a large saucepan or medium soup pot over medium heat, add the olive oil. When heated, add the onion and oregano. Saute until soft and fragrant but not browned. Add garlic, coriander, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, for one more minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for three minutes. Slowly pour in the vegetable broth, stirring while you pour.
- Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook until thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Peel jalapenos and taste the flesh. If they’re very mild, you may want to add both peppers to the soup, seeds and all. On the other hand, if they’re particularly hot, you may want to discard the seeds entirely and only one pepper, or even half of one pepper. Jalapenos can vary greatly in heat, so I’ve learned tasting and then adding cautiously is the way to go. Add the tomatillos and juices from the pan to the soup as well.
- Remove soup from heat and, using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring to a blender in batches, puree the soup. Return to medium-low heat. Add the beans and the can of diced green chilies and stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
- If adding chicken to half, set a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and transfer about 3 cups of the chili to the pan. Add cooked shredded chicken and stir. Bring to a simmer then serve. If adding chicken to all, add it to the main pot now.
- Bring to a simmer to heat the chilies and white beans. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with cilantro leaves, additional lime wedges for squeezing over the top, and sour cream or Greek yogurt if desired.
- Leftovers keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days.