Cooking With Cilantro: Pollo Encilantrado

<em>Serves 8<br />
<br />
Serve this dish with small bowls of chopped cilantro, chopped white onion, chopped serranos, and lime wedges. It’s also good with rice instead of corn tortillas or tostadas (deep-fried tortillas). Any extra sauce keeps for several days in the refrigerator. Tomatillos look like small, green-husked round tomatoes. They have a sweet-tart flavor and are widely used in Mexican cooking.</p>
<p>• 2 pounds (about 20 medium) tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed<br />
• 1/2 white onion, quartered<br />
• 13 cloves garlic, peeled<br />
• 10 to 12 serrano chiles, stemmed<br />
• 1/2 teaspoon salt<br />
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste<br />
• 1 white onion, coarsely chopped<br />
• 1 1/2 cups cilantro sprigs, packed<br />
• Pinch of sugar (optional)<br />
• 5 teaspoons canola oil<br />
• 4 green onions, chopped<br />
• 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded into bite-sized pieces<br />
• 20 corn tortillas or tostadas</p>
<p>1. Place the tomatillos in a pot with enough boiling water to barely cover along with the quartered onion, 4 garlic cloves, serranos, and salt and pepper; reduce the heat and simmer for 7 minutes, or until the tomatillos lighten in color and become soft. Don’t cook them so long that they burst open. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.</p>
<p>2. Puree the cooked ingredients in a blender with the chopped onion, 6 garlic cloves, and 3 to 4 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Add the cilantro and coarsely blend. Season to taste with sugar, more salt, or additional chopped serranos. Set aside and keep warm.</p>
<p>3. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large pan; add the green onions and remaining garlic, minced, and sauté briefly. Add the chicken and toss over medium heat for 2 minutes.</p>
<p>4. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining oil and add the cilantro/tomatillo sauce and cook for about 3 minutes on medium heat.</p>
<p>5. Place the chicken in a large bowl and pour about 3 cups of the warm tomatillo sauce over it. Serve over tortillas or tostadas. Pass the remaining sauce.</p>
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<em>Lucinda Hutson is the author of</em> The Herb Garden Cookbook, 2nd edition (<em>Gulf, 1998) and</em> Tequila: Cooking with the Spirit of Mexico <em>(Ten Speed Press, 1996). She lives and gardens in Austin, Texas.</em>
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<strong>Cooking With Cilantro</strong>

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