We had one last bag of green tomatillos in the freezer, but I didn’t want to use them because it meant there would be no more tomatillos until late summer. After our final harvest, we froze about 12 pounds of tomatillos last fall then over the winter I experimented with soups using those frozen tomatillos, and this was our hands down favorite. Of course you can also make this with fresh tomatillos.
Tomatillos freeze best when whole, though their cell structure breaks down like other high-water content vegetables and they tend to lose liquid, so some of them were a little mushy but still edible. I drained off that liquid before roasting because the tomatillos tend to swim in it while in the oven, not really roasting. The base of the soup is simply roasted salsa verde, then I added the chicken stock, roasted chicken, and spices to make it a meal. Michael was a little skeptical at first, then after a few bites he became a hard core fan and we decided we must plant even more tomatillos this summer so we’ll have enough to make this soup during the winter months.
This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, a blogging event that celebrates the dishes we create from foods we’ve grown, raised, foraged, or hunted ourselves. Nate and Annie of House of Annie have graciously volunteered to help out with Grow Your Own while we tend to some family matters this winter, and they are our hosts for this round, so be sure to visit their blog for more information about submitting your post. If you are new to the event, you can read more about the rules for participating at the Grow Your Own page.
[Updated April 2014.]
- 4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
- chili powder
- 4 pounds tomatillos, paper husks removed and rinsed (thawed and drained if from frozen)
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 anaheim chilies
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 10 stems cilantro
- 2 quarts (1.89 liters) homemade chicken stock or reduced sodium broth
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, Tabasco or Frank’s (optional, for extra heat)
- avocado, chopped
- cilantro, snipped from the stem
- lime wedges
- crushed tortilla chips
- CHICKEN: Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C. Pat the chicken breasts dry and sprinkle on chili powder until well coated. Place chicken in the prepared 9×13 pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, then shred with a fork.
- TOMATILLOS: Change the oven to broil. Spread the tomatillos out on the lined baking sheet stem side down. If you use frozen tomatillos, slice each in half and allow some of the juice to drain off, then place face down on the lined baking sheet. Place under broiler until charred, about 8 to 10 minutes. If using whole fresh tomatillos, some will crack and release juice, and that’s ok. Add half of the roasted tomatillos and juice to the blender jar.
- PAN ROAST: On a dry cast iron skillet, toast the onion, anaheim and jalapeno chilies, and garlic, turning until charred on all sides. Remove the stems from the anaheim and jalapenos, then cut into chunks. (Note: Remove the seeds of the chiles if you prefer mild heat.) Add half the onions, cilantro, chilies, and garlic to the blender jar. Blend until there are no chunks left, then pour it into the 6-quart pot. Repeat with the remaining tomatillos, onions, cilantro chilies, and garlic.
- Add the chicken stock to the pot and stir, then add the shredded chicken along with the cumin, chipotle powder, pepper, and salt. Cook over medium heat about 20 to 30 minutes. Taste it after 10 minutes and decide if you want to add the optional hot pepper sauce. Serve hot with the garnishes.
6 quart heavy bottom pot with lid
half sheet baking pan, lined with foil
9×13 baking pan, lined with foil
cast iron skillet or other heavy skillet
The leftover can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.