Chicken Braised With Tomatillos, Cumin and Hominy
- 1/2-cup olive oil
- 6 chicken quarters (legs and thighs)
- 3/4-cup (approximately 1 medium) finely diced white onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2-tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 1/4-pounds fresh tomatillos, husked and cut 1/2-inch dice (about 4 cups chopped)
- 1 to 2 chipotle peppers, canned in adobo sauce, chopped
- 5 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1/4-teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 28-ounce can hominy, drained
- 1 9.6-ounce bag fresh spinach
- Lime juice, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4-cup cilantro, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a heavy 4-quart saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat ¼-cup of olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers in the pan. Add the chicken and brown well (in batches, if necessary). Take care not to burn the juices that cling to the pan. Remove the chicken to a plate.
Add the onions and garlic and sauté while you scrape the pan to deglaze (loosen the browned bits on the bottom). When the onions are translucent and the garlic is aromatic, add all of the spices and cook briefly in the oil to prevent burning.
Add the tomatillos, peppers and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Skim off any foam, add the chicken back to the pot and cover. Place the pot in the oven and braise for 35 minutes, after which time the chicken will be cooked and just becoming tender.
Skim off the excess fat floating on the surface. Season with salt. Add the hominy and return the covered pot to the oven for 30 more minutes. By this point, the chicken should be very tender; when pierced with a knife, it should pull easily from the bone. Remove the chicken from the sauce and keep warm.
Adjust the consistency of the braising liquid sauce by either boiling to reduce the sauce and thicken it, or adding a small amount of stock to thin. Season to taste with salt and lime juice to brighten if it tastes too rich or dull.
Heat the remaining ¼ cup olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the spinach a few handfuls at a time. Once the spinach begins to wilt and there is more room in the pan (about 1 minute), add more handfuls of spinach. Season lightly with salt and pepper and sauté until just wilted.
Return the chicken to the finished sauce and add the cilantro just before serving. Serve over 1 large spoonful of sautéed spinach. Serves 6