We are getting pretty good at making Mexican food with French ingredients, if I do say so myself. Having recently come into a glut of cheap chicken leg quarters, Nick decided to try his hand at some chicken chili verde. Yet another braise. It’s amazing how many different cuisines use this technique – but then who doesn’t love something you can put on the stove and forget about for a couple of hours?
Nick found some gorgeous green chilis at the market, and chopped them up along with some onion and garlic. After the chicken had been browned, into the Dutch oven they went.
You should know the drill by now. Liquid, skinned chicken, simmer, yada yada. What Nick did that was special, was that once the chicken was good and tender, he shredded it off the bones, returned it to the pot, and continued to cook it until the pot was almost dry. This really concentrates the flavors and gives the meat a texture that is absolutely out of this world. Unctuous, even. Here it is about halfway done:
Meanwhile, I was charged with making the tortillas. We have given up on finding any decent ones in this country, so when we make Mexican food, I usually make tortillas to go with it. It does take a little time and practice, but the end result is definitely worth it. This time, however, I found some lard in the grocery store, tucked away next to the butter, and used that instead of oil in the dough as well as for frying the tortillas. Let me tell you, the difference is huge. The dough was more pliable and less sticky, and they cooked up soft with the delicious flavor that only hog fat can impart. Mmmm… hog fat.
Nick also made a fresh pico de gallo to accompany our dinner. I swear the tomatoes are getting better every week. (Oh, right, can’t buy tomatoes in the US at the moment. Sorry.)
We each put together a couple of tacos. Even given the incredible smells emanating from the kitchen, we were still a little surprised at how extremely delicious it all was. The chicken was darn near rillette consistency, the tortillas were as fresh as we’ve ever had, and the pico made an excellent foil to the richness of the chili verde, all tempered by the smooth tang of crème fraîche.
So that’s one taste of home down. Now if only we could find a good cheeseburger…