Bourdain, Cinco de Mayo and Chicken Chile Verde

Bourdain, Cinco de Mayo and Chicken Chile Verde

Friday night, its Cinco de Mayo!  Time to make something yummy, kickback, relax and catch up on one of my favorite TV shows, Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown.  This episode features the Los Angeles Mexican community thus making my dinner choice easy, Chile Verde.  I am stoked.

When I was a kid our Friday night ritual was Swanson’s TV dinners (turkey for me, meatloaf for my brother) in front of the tube.  A multi-course meal contained in a cool space age aluminum tray with individual compartments for each course (so cool).   Later Swanson’s added a little square squished between the veggies and potatoes like a tiny jewel box.  It contained a perfect 2-bite apple cobbler or brownie. Since we ate Chinese food most of the time a meal of roast turkey or fried chicken was a special treat.  To top it off we got to watch The Flintstones while we were eating and then Jiffy Pop to finish the evening (kids ask your parents about Jiffy Pop or watch Real Genius).  The best, Friday nights were the bomb.

So there we were on Cinco de Mayo, sitting back on the couch with bowls of steaming hot Chile Verde and warm corn tortillas watching Bourdain gettin’ real with the homeboys in Eastside LA. Traditions should #persist don’t you think?

Still on my Instant Pot jag I searched for a recipe for a Chicken Chile Verde in a pressure cooker.  I found a couple that sounded good so I decided to do a mash-up.  I started with a recipe from Serious Eats by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.  Really difficult (NOT)-chopped tomatillos, jalapeños, poblanos & Anaheim peppers, add chicken thighs and legs, toasted cumin seeds, salt, bunch of garlic, a white onion also chopped and throw it in your pressure cooker.  Seal, set and dinner…It’s yours (Thank you, Stevie). Yep, thirty minutes later eating Chile Verde.  Happy Cinco de Mayo.

Serious Eats adds a bit of Thai fish sauce at the end for that secret flavor bomb.  Surprisingly it does round out the flavor. I like lots of veggies so I included potatoes and if my kids were home I would have added corn.  I also added a pinch of oregano, fresh ground pepper and some smoked paprika. Delish.

You can substitute pork for the chicken for a classic Chile Verde.  Use 3-3.5 pounds of Pork Shoulder (aka pork butt) cut into 2 inch pieces.  Set Instant Pot for 30 minutes and use quick release.  Also Delish.

The recipe makes a lot of sauce, so save the extra sauce to make some awesome enchiladas.

Chicken Chile Verde


    Adapted from Serious Eats and Lemon Lavender Love
  • 3 pounds skinless chicken thighs or legs
  • ¾ pound tomatillos (3-4 large tomatillos), quartered, husks discarded
  • ¾ pound poblano peppers, halved with seeds and stem removed
  • ½ pound Anaheim peppers, halved with seeds and stem removed
  • 2-3 jalapeño peppers, halved with stem removed (you can remove the seeds if you don’t want the heat – make sure you wear gloves or thoroughly wash your hands after cutting, trust me)
  • 1 white or yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 russet potato cut into good size chunks (6 pieces)
  • 6 medium whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Garnish:
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • avocado-sliced or cubed
  • red cabbage-shredded
  • Corn tortillas


  • Place chicken, vegetables and seasonings except fish sauce in Instant Pot bowl.
  • Cover and seal pot making sure vent knob is set on sealed
  • Select poultry or manual cook mode
  • Adjust cooking time to 30 minutes using the +/- timer
  • When Instant Pot beeps the cooking cycle is complete. Carefully release pressure by moving top knob from sealing to venting.
  • Once pressure is released, uncover.
  • Remove chicken and potato chunks and reserve in bowl.
  • Add fish sauce to pot. If you have an immersion blender, puree vegetables in Instant Pot to desired consistency or spoon vegetables and liquids into a blender to puree.
  • Shred chicken
  • Add potatoes and chicken to pureed sauce.
  • Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas
  • Garnish with cilantro, shredded cabbage, avocado
  • Yum!
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