The charming mountain oasis where I now live has turned into a frigid bitch this winter. And nothing makes me feel better when I get home from a long walk (slide) in the snow than a warm meal. Chili tops my list of best winter meals, but I’m a little tired of my standard tomato-and-bean. Green tomatillo salsa is one of my absolute FAVORITE things of all time, so I decided to try and capture that in a hearty winter recipe. I like to think this dish is just as comforting but a little more interesting than a standard white chili.
Bonus: this feels exotic but can be made on the cheap with ingredients from any ol’ grocery store. Hooray!
Also, leaving out the chicken breast makes this dish completely vegan and vegetarian. If you’re veg, feel free to replace the bird with some crumbled tofu. A can of drained chickpeas would also be delicious and keep up the protein.
AND ONE MORE THING I’m sure this would be more authentic with shredded chicken, but I am lazy. My way makes the whole thing in one pot. If you’re feeling fancy (masochistic), boil the chicken first until barely cooked, then shred with a fork and add with the beans.
1 large or 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 cloves of garlic, depending on your taste, crushed
8-10 fresh tomatillos, peeled, rinsed, and diced
1 sweet or hot pepper, seeded and minced
1 4 oz can chopped green chiles (I used the fire roasted kind)
3/4 cup dry green lentils
1 can sweet white corn, drained
1 can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 2 limes
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
salt and red or white pepper, to taste
optional but delicious: a sprinkle of chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
Cut the chicken into small pieces. In a large non-stick pot, heat up the olive oil. Add the chicken and season with a big pinch of salt. Sauté for 1 or 2 minutes, then add the onion. Sauté another minute or two, then add the garlic. Sauté another minute or two, then add all of the chopped tomatillos. These should cook down and give you plenty of liquid. If the mixture is sticking, add a spoonful of water or broth. Next, add in the lime juice and canned chiles with their liquid. Reduce heat to a simmer.
You should now have a juicy, fragrant, flavor base. Time to add in the beans. Add the corn, Great Northerns, and the green lentils PLUS 3/4 cup of water. Add a big handful of cilantro, more if you love it. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until lentils are soft.
Serve with sour cream or grated cheese and tortilla chips.
This is crazy good and super healthy. Low fat, high fiber, loads of protein, and tons of vitamins. But fear not, it’s game-day tasty and my carnivorous boyfriend loved it.