A simple Yankee take on a Mexican classic

By Jim Bailey

This dish can be made with beef, pork or white meat chicken as well, but stick with the goodness and bulk of Mexican husk tomatoes (tomatillos), it truly stands out!

And try to find squash or pumpkin seeds (pepitas) in your local supermarket (see NOTE below). Yankeefied because of its simplicity, but tastes like you spent a whole lot more time preparing it than you actually did.

2 tablespoons oil, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil
2 tomatillos, husked and roughly chopped
1 small onion, minced
2 tablespoons pepitas, shelled (see NOTE)
1 (7-ounce) can chipotles in Adobo Sauce
1 (15-ounce) can tomato puree or sauce
1/4 cup your favorite hot pepper jelly
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and cumin
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
1-3 teaspoons hot sauce
Hot cooked Cilantro-Lime Rice, recipe below

Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. When hot, add garlic, tomatillos and onion.

Cook, while stirring frequently until onions and tomatillos are tender, about 12-14 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the bowl of a food processor or blender.

Add pepitas, chipotles (with liquid) tomato puree, jelly and spices. Puree until as smooth as desired; set aside.

Wash out skillet and place remainder of oil in it over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until thoroughly done.

Add tomato mixture, stir to combine, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until thickened. I break the chicken up more when cooking, but this is optional.

When done add a little or a lot of blueberry hot sauce.

Serve hot with Cilantro-Lime Rice.

To make Cilantro-Lime Rice, simply add 2 cups water, 1 cup white rice, 1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro and 2 teaspoons lime juice to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until all water has been absorbed. Remove cover to fluff and serve hot. Enough for 3-4 people

NOTE: If you can’t find pepitas in your local supermarket, simply use shelled, sunflower seeds. These are the perfect substitution.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at theyankeechef@aol.com.

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