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Turkey Chile Verde

Anaheim chilies have only a mild spiciness. They are known for their meaty flesh and green, vegetal flavor. They add their character to this spin on chile verde, a classic braise of Tex-Mex cooking, that marries the chilies with charred garlic and onions, tangy fresh tomatillos and the minty, citrusy hints of cilantro.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. tomatillos, husked, rinsed and dried 
  • 2 white onions, each cut into 8 wedges 
  • 2 Anaheim chilies 
  • 5 large garlic cloves, unpeeled 
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves 
  • 2 Tbs. ground cumin 
  • 2 Tbs. dried oregano 
  • 4 lb. bone-in, skin-on turkey thighs 
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste  
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste 
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth or stock 
  • 1 1/2 lb. red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks 

Directions:

Position an oven or broiler rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the broiler.

Place the tomatillos, onions, chilies and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and place under the broiler. Broil the vegetables, turning them occasionally and transferring them to a plate as they are ready. Remove the garlic when the skins are browned and the onion when the edges are browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the chilies when charred and the tomatillos when charred but not split, about 8 minutes.

When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skins from the garlic and chilies, and then discard the chili seeds and ribs. Discard the onion peels and coarsely chop the onions. Working in batches, combine the tomatillos, onions, chilies, garlic, cilantro, cumin and oregano in a blender and process until smooth.

Skin the turkey thighs. Cut the meat off the bone, then cut the meat into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Season with the 2 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper.

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Working in batches, add the turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil to the pot. Pour in the tomatillo mixture and broth and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Return the turkey to the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 45 minutes.

After the turkey has cooked for 45 minutes, add the potatoes, cover and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes more. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Ladle the chile verde into warmed deep bowls and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).