When I developed this recipe my plan was to make a robust, flavorful chicken chile, packed full of roasted peppers, chiles, beans and tomatillos. I wanted a little smoke and a little heat, but not so much heat that the flavors were lost in the fire. But sometimes cooking has a mind of its own, and what I wound up with was a hearty soup and not a chile. Things took a turn when I decided I wanted to dirty only one pot, and I added a lot of chicken stock to the sauteed onions so I could poach the chicken in the same pot. I knew as I was adding the stock that I would no longer have chile. Let’s say I just went with the flow. That is the fun of cooking something new. It was a good improvisation. I knew I got it right when my husband’s poker buddies went back for seconds and thirds. I just love that!
—Kim at Something New For Dinner
red bell peppers
tomatillos (about 1.5 pounds), husked and rinsed
olive oil, divided
ears white corn, husked
garlic cloves, peeled
large onion, peeled and quartered
canned chopped tomatoes
Spanish smoked paprika (Pimento de la Vera)
ancho chile powder
2 1/2 pounds
boneless, skinless chicken thighs
cooked black beans
1 1/2 tablespoons
adobo sauce from a jar of chipotle chilies
Heat oven to broil. Seed and slice the red peppers so that each slice lies flat. Put a splash of olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan and wipe with a paper towel to oil the bottom of the pan. Spread cut peppers, whole tomatillos, whole poblano chilies and whole jalapeno chiles over the pan. Broil to blacken the skins of all the vegetables, turning to char all sides. Check frequently. It will take about 15 to 20 minutes total, but some vegetables will blacken more quickly. As the vegetables char, remove and put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to steam. Reserve any liquids that are left in the roasting pan or bowl to add to the soup later.
Put the corn cobs in the roasting pan and broil, turning frequently so all sides of the cobs are lightly charred. Set aside to cool.
While the vegetables are steaming and cooling put the garlic in a food processor and whirl until they are finely minced. Add onion to the food processor and pulse to coarsely chop. Heat 2 T olive oil in a large soup pot. Add onion and garlic mixture to the pot and saute over medium heat for 15 minutes until they soften and begin to color.
Stir in tomatoes, cumin, coriander, Spanish paprika, and chile powders to the onion and garlic mixture. Cook another 2 minutes.
Add chicken stock, chicken thighs and oregano to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken and set aside to cool, reserving all liquids.
Return to the roasted vegetables. Using your fingers, slip the peels off the red peppers, the poblano peppers and the jalapeno peppers. Remove the seeds and discard.Chop the red peppers into 3/4" pieces. There is no need to remove the skins from the tomatillos, but you should remove and discard the hard core. Coarsely chop the poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers and tomatillos. Add the peppers, tomatillos, beans and any reserved liquid to the soup pot.
When the chicken has cooled shred it and add it to the soup pot along with any reserved juices. Cut the corn from the husks and add it to the soup pot.
Season with salt, pepper and adobo sauce to taste. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with lime squeezes, cilantro, grated cheese and tortilla chips.