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José Andrés Shares World Central Kitchen’s Most Popular Dish: ‘This Chili Has a Reputation’

The chicken chili verde is one of many recipes served on the front lines and compiled in the new 'World Central Kitchen Cookbook'

<p>World Central Kitchen/WCK.org</p>

World Central Kitchen/WCK.org

After years of serving food from the front lines, José Andrés is bringing his comfort food home.

The dishes that the celebrity chef’s World Central Kitchen has served during natural disasters and war are now compiled into a cookbook. In The World Central Kitchen Cookbook: Feeding Humanity, Feeding Hope, the recipes to the stews, sandwiches and sweets served by the nonprofit are paired with photos and stories from the organization’s missions. The book also includes recipe contributions from WCK supporters like Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle and Guy Fieri.

Each dish stems from a specific front line mission, like the arroz con pollo served in Puerto Rico after Hurricane María in 2017, the lamb massaman curry given to Australian communities affected by the 2020 wildfires or this chicken chili verde handed out to firefighters in the U.S.

The World Central Kitchen Cookbook
The World Central Kitchen Cookbook

"The glowing reviews are unanimous," says Andrés in the cookbook of the recipe (below), created by chef Elsa Corrigan. "It’s super simple to make [and] has a nice balance of acid and heat."

The versatile green chili has been served all over the U.S. and “has a reputation,” he says. So much so that when serving the stew to firefighters in Santa Cruz, Calif., one first responder recognized it from assisting another tragedy. “A guy in front said, 'We met your team at the last fire. Is it the green chili? That stuff was incredible,'” recalls Andrés.

Cozy and full of bright, herbaceous flavors, this dish might be served in natural disasters but it's also fit for a weeknight dinner at home.

World Central Kitchen’s Chicken Chili Verde

5 scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped

1 (28-oz.) can whole or crushed tomatillos, drained if whole

1 (27-oz.) can whole fire-roasted green chiles, drained

1 jalapeño (optional)

4 medium garlic cloves, peeled

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

1 Tbsp. olive oil or canola oil

2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1½ tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 (15.5-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1½ tsp. ground cumin

1½ tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. ground coriander

Juice of 1 lime

¼ cup crumbled Cotija or shredded Monterey Jack cheese, for garnish

Cooked white rice or tortillas, for serving

1. Measure out 1/2 cup of the scallion greens and set aside for garnish. Place the remainder in a blender and add the tomatillos, fire-roasted chiles, jalapeño (if using), garlic, and cilantro and puree until just smooth.

2. In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is just translucent and the chicken has lightly browned and isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze it, then add the tomatillo puree, chickpeas, cumin, oregano, and coriander and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the chili is flavorful and thickened, about 2 hours.

3. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed, then stir in the lime juice before serving. Top each bowl with the reserved scallion greens, cilantro and cheese. Serve with rice or tortillas.

Serves: 8
Active time:
20 minutes
Total time:
2 hours, 20 minutes

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