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A Four Pepper Chicken Chili Verde  


The July Challenge was to use peppers. After some long thought in the matter I decided that chicken chili verde would fit the bill and that I would use four different kinds of peppers (Anaheim, pasilla, serrano & jalapeno)  and further use them both green and roasted as my entry - pretty much 50/50 green/roasted.


This was a delicious meal that was a bit involved but not really complicated.   Pretty simple ingredients and seasonings that result in a pot of goodness and plateful of absolutely outstanding flavor with multiple layers and depths.   The pepper heat level is easily adjusted and controlled to your preference.  Serve with steamed rice and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and some good sour cream.   I guarantee you will go back for seconds or thirds.





The ingredients:

  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 5 Green Pasillia (or poblano) peppers (for main dish and salsa)
  • 5 Green Ahaheim Peppers (for main dish and salsa)
  • 6 Green Jalapeno Peppers (for main dish and salsa)
  • 3 Green Serrano Peppers (for main dish and salsa)
  • 10 Tomatillos (about 1.5 lbs  - husked and rinsed)
  • 1 large and 1 medium sweet onion like Vidalia for the main dish
  • 2 medium yellow onions ( 1 for main dish and 1 for the salsa)
  • 10 garlic toes (includes some for the salsa)
  • 2  to 2 ¼ cups good low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 large Russet potatoes, peeled  (about 1 lb)
  • 3 Tablespoons dried Mexican Orgeano for main dish (plus additional 1 tablespoon for the salsa)
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons cumin (add more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Tapioca or Potato flour for thickener if required

Larger peppers are preferred.  This recipe will make 6 quarts of the chicken chili verde. 


First Steps (earlier in the day or a day or two) before


Set Aside Some Peppers to Use Green



Roasting the Peppers


  • 2 of the passilla
  • 2 of the anaheims
  • 3 of the jalapenos
  • 2 of the serranos
  • 5 of the tomatillos

and roast them in direct heat on the Kamado at 325-350 degrees until lightly charred almost all over, then put in covered bowl and allow to steam and cool and then peel the blistered skin.  If cooking ahead store in fridge, covered. 


These are Starting to Roast Nicely




Pre-Grilling the Chicken


Lightly oil the chicken and season with Sazon Completa  (I use Badia brand) or an equivalent seasoning on both sides.  After peppers are removed from the grill, raise direct temperature to 400 degrees and grill chicken for 3 minutes a side to get a grill browning and slight char on the chicken.   We are not cooking the chicken all the way – really just getting a good grilled flavor.   If cooking ahead,  let chicken cool and store in fridge, covered. 


The Thighs



On Big Joe



Nice Grill Flavoring



Next Steps  - Make the Tomatillo Salsa Verde Sauce


Prepare and make the salsa verde sauce.

  • 4 tomatillos roasted  
  • 3 tomatillos green
  • 1 roasted serrano pepper
  • 1 green serrano pepper
  • 1 medium  onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano (fresh can be used also)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 2 cups water


Chop all ingredients. Cut tomatillos into pieces.  Combine in sauce pan.  Bring to boil the reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes until the green tomatillos are soft.




 In blender or food processor puree the mixture including all the liquid.   This can be done with only green peppers but the use of roasted peppers adds to the flavor profile.  The pepper heat level is mild to moderate as one of the serrano’s  is roasted.




I want to thank my son for general assistance with the cook, especially for making the salsa verde from a recipe he has used before.   It is a very nice green salsa for any dish and use – not just in this chicken chili verde.   It is even better to let it mature for a day in the fridge.



Building the Main Dish


Coarse chop the remaining green peppers and tomatillos.  Seed the remaining roasted peppers and coarse chop.  Medium chop the onions and garlic.


  • 3 green pasilla and  2 roasted pasilla
  • 3 green anaheim and  2 roasted anaheim
  • 2 green jalapenos and 3 roasted jalapenos
  • 1 roasted serrano
  • 2 green tomatillos and  1 roasted tomatillo
  • 1 large and 1 medium Vidalia onion
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 russet potatoes 
  • Remaining garlic toes minced
  • 3 Tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons cumin (add more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Coarse dice 1 1/2 of the potatoes.   Fine dice the remaining  ½ potato.  This will help with thickening the sauce.


Add 1-2 tablespoons oil to 7 quart cast iron dutch oven.  Sweat the garlic, the onions and green chili peppers until softened  ~ 5  minutes .  Add tomatillos and continue sweating   ~5 more minutes. 


Green Chili Peppers, Tomatillo, Onion & Garlic 




Let Get Stuff in the Pot



Sweating The Raw Peppers, Tomatillos, Onion & Garlic



Cut the previously partially grilled chicken into bite size pieces.   Add to pot.  Cook for a few minutes to meld flavors.   Add roasted peppers and the oregano, cumin and smoked paprika.  Stir well. 


Add in the Chicken & Seasonings



Add the chicken stock and the salsa verde.   Stir to incorporate.   I used a defatted chicken stock I made from the carcass and residuals from two whole chickens I had roasted on Big Joe previously and had kept in the fridge.   When making this stock I did not use any skin, hence the stock had only a little smokiness.  The add the potatoes. 


Roasted Peppers, Roasted Tomatillo & Raw Potato Ready to Come Into Play



Gotta Add The Homemade Chilled Chicken Stock from Kamado Roasted Chickens



And Can't Forget the Salsa Verde



Now the Potatoes



Lastly, stir in the 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.  Be very respectful of the cinnamon.  


Bring to low boil for a couple of minutes , then remove from the heat.  


Time to Move to the Kamado


Immediately and carefully transfer the dutch oven to the Kamado which has been setup for indirect cooking at 375-400 degrees.   Using suitable spacers, set a pizza stone on the deflector  (or on the grill grate above the deflector , so that the pizza stone and the air gap act as a buffer for the bottom of the dutch oven to prevent burning. I actually used a double secondary heat diffusing arrangement.   


Getting Going on Big Joe



You want to cook at a good simmer or just above.    The dish should be cooked uncovered with a suitable smoking wood, if desired.   I used oak.   Stir often as the dish will cook from the sides also and the stirring additionally incorporates the smoke into the dish.  During the course of the cook, taste and adjust any seasoning as needed, including the addition of more peppers for heat.  I found that I did not to need to change anything other than adjusting the salt.


Simmering on Big Joe



If after 45 minutes the sauce still appears too fluid raise the heat to 425.  At an hour check the potatoes for doneness.   They should be almost ready.    If additional thickening  is required  to get a thick gravy consistency,  mix the tapioca or potato flour with cool water and stir some or all the mixture into the pot.  Cook for another 15 minutes and the dish should be ready.


Another 15 Minutes to Go (this is after adding the tapioca starch)



The pepper heat profile of this dish (using some of the seeds from the roasted and green serrano and jalapeno peppers) was very nice.  It did not burn up your mouth but was nicely balanced with the total dish.  Heat can be adjusted with additional and or different hot peppers to taste.


This cook may seem complex but it really is not and it comes together rather quickly especially with some ahead of time prep and forethought.     Like any great meal it is worth the investment.


To Serve


Ready to Serve



Sever over steamed rice.  Once on the serving plate, sprinkle with the chopped fresh cilantro and add a dollop of good sour cream. 


I assure you this is a dish worth the effort and would be excellent for company.  The result is flavorful with a balanced heat, layers of flavor from the different chilies, wonderful gravy, and a smokey richness.    It is difficult to stop going back for refills.


Another Look



You should try this!  Thanks for looking.


PS .. Please visit the July Challenge Sub Forum and Cast Your Vote

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