Chicken! I’m sure you all were thinking that I’m vegetarian, since all of my recipes so far have been vegan and vegetarian! Not so. 😉 I love meat, but I don’t eat it very often, and when I do it’s usually chicken. The small amount of meat that I cook at home is a result of a shift towards being mindful of what I’m eating. Most meats that you find in grocery stores have been pumped full of antibiotics or growth hormones. (A little disclaimer here, this isn’t exactly pleasant and if you don’t want to read about it skip ahead to the next paragraph) In many cases these are one and the same. Not only is factory farming inhuman it is highly unsanitary. Chicken factory farms often have unsafe levels of ammonia where the animals are as a result of overcrowding. The farmers then pump the chickens full of antibiotics that help to fight of the diseases from the unsanitary living conditions. The chickens’ bodies no longer have to devote all of their energy to fending off diseases and as a result, they have enormous growth spurts. The antibiotics remain in the meat and therefore they make it to your dinner plate! This is more or less the same story for other types of factory farming, for cows and pigs, etc. Unsanitary living conditions make for sick and unhappy animals, all of which adds up to meat that’s not exactly good for you.
So, when I do purchase meat I go for the hormone free and when I can afford it, the grass fed and free range stuff. This meat does not taste gamy from the uncontrolled diet; it has great flavor and you don’t have to worry about the effect it will have on your health. Is this meat more costly? Yes. That’s another reason I don’t eat meat more than once or twice a week at home. But I buy it mindfully. When you buy chicken breast on the bone with the skin on you’re going to pay less per pound because the butcher puts less work into it before it reaches you. I often purchase a whole chicken or chicken breasts on the bone and roast them. They turn out juicy and more flavorful since they’re cooked on the bone and you get more bang for your buck. I often get 2 or even 3 meals out of a whole chicken.
Okay, that’s the whole lecture on meat for now. 😉 Onwards, to the recipe!
I got a bunch of tomatillos in my Chow Locally CSA box and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them- Salsa Verde! I decided to try something a little different and tossed them all in the skilled so they cooked and got a nice char before blending them with the jalapenos and parsley that also came in the Chow Locally box. I would have used cilantro, but I had the parsley on hand. Feel free to swap in the cilantro, it will be just as delicious. After a quick trip in the blender, everything goes back in the skillet then add the whole chicken breasts and cover, letting them simmer until they’re finished. Shred the chicken in there and you have a delicious filling for tacos. I’ve been dreaming up an enchilada recipe using this chicken, so keep an eye out for that as well!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with tomatillos, they’re a member of the gooseberry family. Tomatillos come ensconced in a papery husk that is removed before use. Although they look similar to tomatoes, they do not taste like tomatoes. Tomatillos are tart and slightly acidic fruits and are generally cooked before use, although you can eat them raw as well. They contain small amounts of various anti-oxidants, as well as small amounts of vitamins A, C, and E.
All I need to know about tomatillos is they are the main ingredient in Salsa Verde and I would pick Salsa Verde over most other salsas any day of the week. If you’re new to tomatillos, try this recipe out. You can certainly make the salsa without the chicken and just eat it with a big bowl or chips or top some home made enchiladas with it. 🙂
Chicken in Salsa Verde
1 lb tomatillos, quartered
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 of one large onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, halved and seeded
1 handful of parsley or cilantro (Maybe 1/3-1/2 cup?)
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/3 c. chicken broth or water
2 chicken breasts, bone in and skin on
Put a skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the tomatillos, garlic, onion, and jalapeno. Cook until the tomatillos are browned and softened, being careful not to burn the garlic. Once everything is cooked add the chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Put the contents of the pan into a blender. Add the parsley, chipotle powder, and salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Add more broth or water if necessary to get everything to blend smoothly.
Put the salsa back into the pan with the raw chicken breasts. Bring to a bubble and cover. Turn the pan down to low and cook until the chicken is done, 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan. Remove the meat from the bone and discard the skin. Shred the chicken and add back into the salsa. Bring to a bubble once more.
Serve with whole wheat tortillas, diced onion, sour cream, cheese, and additional salsa if desired. Enjoy!
Be Happy! 🙂