It’s time to make green chilli stew, a dish that is so simple, so basic, yet so well loved, its fans are legion.
Typically pork, beef or lamb are used to make the stew, and often the only other usual ingredients are onion, garlic and potatoes. Most cooks don’t veer far from this basic version, simmered on the stove-top until the meat is tender and served with warm tortillas.
Some cooks may add tomatillos or a little tomato. I have a friend who insists on tossing in half a lime and a bottle of beer. My tendency is to include toasted cumin and carrots, and lots of chopped coriander. Purists may raise an eyebrow to that sort of fiddling.
Though meat is traditional for green chilli stew, this delicious chicken version is a bit lighter and quicker to cook. But, packing a hot, spicy punch, it’s not a dish for the faint of heart.
Green Chilli Chicken Stew (Serves 6)
Total time: 1 1/2 hours
6 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, legs, or a cut-up whole chicken (about 1,3kg)
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil or lard
Flour, for dredging
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 cup chopped roasted green chillies, fresh or frozen and thawed
3 cups chicken stock or water
2 large potatoes, peeled, cut in 2cm cubes
3 large carrots, peeled, cut in 5cm slices
3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water (optional)
Chopped coriander, for garnish
Warm flour or corn tortillas, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
Season chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess. Brown chicken well on both sides, then remove and set aside.
Add onions to pot, season lightly with salt and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cumin, and cook for 1 minute. Then add chopped chillies and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Return chicken to pot; reduce heat to a brisk simmer, and cook, covered with lid ajar, for 30 minutes. Add potatoes and carrots and cook for 20 to 25 minutes more, until vegetables are soft but not falling apart.
Skim fat from surface of sauce. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt. For a thicker sauce, add dissolved cornstarch and stir well. Cook for 1 minute more.
Serve in deep wide soup plates with plenty of sauce.
Sprinkle with chopped coriander. Serve with warm tortillas and lime wedges.
The New York Times
By David Tanis