Charring can add depth and complexity to any cooking technique. In an oven braise, for instance, I love the crispy burnt bits of vegetables peeking above the liquid. For this recipe, I embrace the concept by fire-roasting the components beforehand to add an extra layer of flavor.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Char the poblano peppers over an open burner flame (or under the broiler if working with an electric stove) until completely burnt on all sides, then put in a tightly covered bowl to steam. Char the onions slices, tomatillos, and green onions over the open burner until 3/4 burnt black.
- In the meantime, season each chicken leg with ½ tsp of salt and heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed braising pan that’s wide enough to fit all four legs snugly without stacking. Brown the chicken legs deeply on both sides, then remove and reserve to finish cooking later. Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring it to a boil, scraping off any bits and pieces that have stuck to the bottom. Add the tomatillos, chipotle, adobo sauce, and stems from the cilantro and cook, simmering for 15 minutes.
- Clean the pepper, discarding the charred skin, pith, and seeds, then dice along with the charred onion slices into 1-inch pieces.
- In a blender, make the braising liquid by pureeing the chicken stock, cilantro stems, tomatillos, and chipotle with their juice until just smooth, then turn off the blender and fold in the diced onion and peppers and season with the remaining salt and to taste. Place the partially cooked chicken legs in the braising pan and cover with the liquid, bring to a boil over a medium-high flame, then place the pan in the oven to braise for 35 minutes.
- Serve garnished with the cilantro tops, charred green onions, and a quartered lime.
TASTE editor in chief Matt Rodbard and chef Daniel Holzman are friends. Matt has many food and home cooking questions. Daniel has many food and home cooking opinions. Their column is called 100 Food Questions for My Friend the Chef.