With kids returning back to school, meal planning can be a chore. This Hatch chile chicken chili verde is simple to prep, and can be grilled or pan seared at home!
I always have mixed feelings as summer draws to a close and the kids return to school. Summer, by far, is my favorite time of the year. My family and I savor the weather, the carefree moments and the summer menu.
And of course, after a few months off of fun and sun, by the time school rolls around, the kids are restless and ready to go back. And quite honestly? I’m ready for them to return, too!
I look forward to having more free time, but I dread the hectic schedule, the carpooling, the homework battles and the weekly meal planning. Summer dinners at our house are simpler. We grill, picnic and dine out more often than we do when school is in session.
Why you must try this recipe
Hatch chiles are only available FRESH for a short time. They are harvested in August, so if you are a chile lover, look for them and buy as many as you can!
Although they look very much like Anaheim chiles, which are very mild green chiles, Hatch chiles come in mild, medium and hot intensities. I personally feel it has more flavor than an Anaheim chile, as well.
Hatch chile fans buy their chiles by the box load and then either smoke them, grill them or roast them. Once cooked, the skins are very easy to remove.
Then you can divvy the chiles up into resealable bags and freeze the chiles. Once frozen, you have all year to enjoy these smoky Hatch chiles. Until the next harvest.
Chile verde is a Mexican stew made of green chiles, tomatillos and pork shoulder. I have my instant pot pulled pork chili verde recipe that is delicious! The chiles typically used for chile verde are Anaheim and jalapeños. For my version, I used Hatch chiles.
If you are not familiar with Mexican cuisine, you may not have ever tried a tomatillo. No it is not a green tomato. It does not change color or turn red, but remains green.
It is a sour jewel wrapped in its own paper. When you unwrap them, they have a sticky film around the fruit. Just wash that off and they are ready to be used.
This combination of sweet and spicy makes a wonderful marinade and sauce. The acid in the tomatillos break down the chicken, both tenderizing the meat and adding wonderful flavor.
Ingredients you need
- Hatch chiles: For best flavor use fresh Hatch chiles and roast them. You need to remove the peels and seeds. Since Hatch chiles are only available fresh in August, I freeze my roasted chiles in small bags and use them throughout the year.
- Tomatillos: These look green tomatoes with a paper wrapping around it. You need to remove the wrapping and rinse off the sticky residue before using them. Choose smaller tomatillos as they are naturally sweeter than the larger ones, which tends to be bitter.
- Fresh cilantro: Again, the best flavor comes from using fresh herbs.
- Chicken breast: I used boneless skinless chicken breast, but you can also use boneless chicken thighs.
- Lime juice: You can use fresh or bottled lime juice. If you can’t find lime juice, use lemon juice instead.
- Remaining staple ingredients: Garlic cloves, extra virgin olive oil and cumin.
1. Add hatch chiles, tomatillos, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, lime juice and cumin into a blender and pulse until combined but still coarsely chopped. Reserve approximately ½-cup of the sauce and place the remaining sauce in a large ziploc bag or shallow dish.
2. You can either flatten the chicken breasts with a meat mallet or cut into strips. Prep chicken as you like and place into the plastic bag with the salsa verde and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
I like to flatten the chicken breast prior to marinating. This not only tenderizes the chicken but it also insures that the meat cooks evenly. It also cooks up very quickly, which is a great help during the hurried school nights.
The longer the chicken sits in the marinade, the more tender and flavorful it will be. You can assemble everything the night before or the morning of the day you will be grilling. You can grill outside, or prepare indoors over the stop using a grill pan.
3. To cook, heat a grill pan or any large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Place chicken breasts onto the hot pan and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until cooked completely.
You can also grill the chicken outdoors over medium high heat. Serve chicken with reserved chile verde sauce.
Recipe tips and FAQs
I like to reserve part of the chile verde sauce before adding all of it with the chicken to marinate. I use this reserved sauce to serve with my grilled chicken because it’s such a delicious sauce.
My kids enjoy eating this dish as tacos, so we cut the cooked meat into strips and stuff our tortillas with our favorite goodies: lettuce, cheese, guacamole and sour cream.
This also makes a fabulous dinner for camping. Simply prep and marinate the chicken at home, then all you have to do is grill it over the campfire!
Because this is not a traditional chile verde stew, I like to serve my Hatch chile verde chicken taco style. That means tortillas, shredded lettuce, shredded lettuce, sour cream and any other of your favorite taco condiments you love. This chicken also makes a fabulous topper for a healthy salad, if you are not fan of the tortilla carbs.
These delicious green chiles come from Hatch, New Mexico (hence the name) and are only available FRESH when harvested in August. Hatch chiles look very much like Anaheim chiles, which are very mild green chiles. But one major difference between the two is that Hatch chiles come in mild, medium and hot intensities. The skin of Hatch chile should be removed after roasting as it can cause an upset stomach if eaten.
- 3 hatch chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
- 5 tomatillos, peeled
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 2 TBS lime juice
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast
- Add hatch chiles, tomatillos, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, lime juice and cumin into a blender and pulse until combined but still coarsely chopped.
- Reserve approximately ½-cup of the sauce and place the remaining sauce in a large ziploc bag.
- Place one chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and flatten using a kitchen mallet. Do not hammer so hard as to shred the chicken, just enough so that the chicken breast is evenly flat, approximately ½-inch thick.
- Place the flattened chicken breast into the plastic bag with the salsa verde.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the remaining chicken breasts, seal the bag and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
- To cook, heat a grill pan or any large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
- Place chicken breasts onto the hot pan and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Turn chicken over and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until cooked completely.
- You can also grill the chicken outdoors over medium high heat.
- Place chicken onto serving platter and cover with foil. Continue cooking the remaining chicken breasts.
- Serve chicken with reserved chile verde sauce.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with tortillas, rice or over salad.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 325Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 97mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 39g
PS If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback.
You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. Sign up for my eMail list, too!
Disclosure: Melissa’s Produce was generous enough to send me a box of Hatch Chiles to sample. I was not compensated in any other way.