Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 1 of the Under 500 Calorie Meal Challenge: Braised Chicken withTomatillos and Rice

Over the last year, my husband has lost over 22 lbs with his eye on losing another 15. Since Halloween, he has been on a plateau and although he is happy with no gain during the holiday season, he is ready for the numbers to start going down again! He already works out 3-4 days a week so I thought I would shake up our meals in order to push him off the plateau. I went on a pinning frenzy and found several low calorie meals. Tonight's meal was a recipe from Leite's Culinaria. It is braised chicken with tomatillos over brown rice.

This meal took about 90 minutes from start to table.  This was my first time to roast a pepper and cook with tomatillos.  I only used 2 peppers instead of the 3 called for in the recipe because I didn't want to have too much heat for the boys. Next time, I'll cut back on the chicken broth by about a 1/4 cup.

Braised Chicken with Tomatillos:


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 pounds assorted chicken pieces, skin-on and bone-in or boneless and skinless
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 Anaheim or poblano chiles, fresh or canned, roasted, peeled, and finely chopped (in a pinch, 1 or 2 jalapeños will work)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  Cooked white rice or flour or corn tortillas, warmed


  • 1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the chicken until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  • 2. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion to the pan, and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the stock or broth, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the roasted chiles, garlic, tomatillos, chopped cilantro, and cumin. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Return the chicken and any juices that’ve collected on the plate to the pan, cover, and simmer, turning once, until the chicken is opaque throughout, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size and type. (Smaller pieces of chicken, boneless pieces, and white meat will cook more quickly than larger pieces, bone-in pieces, and dark meat.) Transfer the chicken to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
  • 3. Add the lime juice to the sauce remaining in the pan and simmer over medium-high heat until slightly reduced and thickened, 10 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If a smoother sauce is desired, pulse all or half the sauce in a food processor or blender until the desired consistency is reached.
  • 4. Meanwhile, shred the chicken, if desired, discarding any skin and bone.
  • 5. Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces or shredded chicken on the platter and garnish with the whole cilantro leaves. Serve with rice or tortillas on the side.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 371 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 380Calories from Fat 98
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10.9g17%
Saturated Fat 2.3g12%
Cholesterol 153mg51%
Sodium 338mg14%
Total Carbohydrates 8.1g3%
Dietary Fiber 2.1g8%
Sugars 1.0g
Protein 60.0g
Vitamin A 3% • Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 5% • Iron 16%
Nutrition Grade B+
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

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