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Chicken Tortilla Stew (Extended Version)


  • 1 whole chicken, about 3-3 1/2 pounds

  • 3 large onions, 2 roughly chopped and 1 cut into wedges

  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 3 celery ribs, halved

  • 2 plum tomatoes, halved

  • 12 garlic cloves, 8 with the skin on and 4 skin off and chopped, divided

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 fresh bay leaf

  • 8-10 tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed

  • 3 jalapeño peppers

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander

  • 1 bag of yellow or white corn tortilla chips (13.5 ounce bag)

  • 1 can hominy (28 ounces), drained and rinsed

  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped

  • Juice of 2 limes

  • Sour cream, for garnish

  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded


Pre-heat broiler to high. Add the chicken, 1 chopped onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, 8 cloves of garlic with the skin on, salt and freshly ground black pepper and the bay leaf to a large pot and cover with cold water, 2-3 inches above the chicken and veggies. Bring to a bubble and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 30-40 minutes. The chicken is done when the leg is loose and wiggles easily on the bone. Remove the chicken and place it on a plate. It will be very tender so break out all the utensils to grab it from the pot. Discard the skin and remove all of the chicken from the bones and reserve. A bowl of ice water on your countertop to dunk your hands into every now and then makes it easier to work with the hot chicken. Place the bones back in the pot of liquid and veggies to make a stock. Simmer for 1 hour. While the stock mixture is simmering, chop the chicken meat and set aside. After an hour, strain the stock, keeping the liquid and discarding the solids. While the stock is simmering, place the tomatillos, jalapeños and the onion cut into wedges on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of EVOO and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Broil for 2-3 minutes to char, then turn everything over to char the other side. Once black all over, seed and stem the jalapeños, and chop them along with the onion and tomatillos. Reserve. Place a large pot over medium-high heat, add 2 turns of the pan of EVOO. Add remaining chopped onion, chopped garlic, cumin and coriander, and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the reserved chopped onion, tomatillo and jalapeños and the strained stock, and bring to a bubble. While the mixture is coming to a bubble, place the tortilla chips (reserving a handful for garnish) in a food processor and pulse to grind, or in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or empty wine bottle. You should have about 2 cups of ground chips. Add the ground chips to the pot and cook for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, add the hominy and chopped chicken back to the pot along with 1/2-3/4 cup of cilantro and the lime juice, and cook for 2-3 more minutes, until the chicken is heated through. To serve, ladle the Chicken Tortilla Stew into a bowl and garnish with some tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream and some cheddar cheese.