Hatch Green Chile Chicken Curry

The unique flavor of the Anaheim chiles grown in the area around the town of Hatch, New Mexico may be attributed to the intense sunlight and cool nights of the Mesilla valley. They are widely available during the late August harvest, and I use them any way I can -- in egg dishes, onion tarts, potato gratins, sauces, stews, etc. For this chicken curry, I like to use thighs because they can be cooked slowly for a long time, absorbing the flavor of the chiles without drying out.

  • 3 1/2 lb. chicken thighs 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 1/3 cup mustard oil 
  • 10 cardamom pods 
  • 1 stem curry leaves 
  • 2 medium onions, chopped 
  • 1 lb. hot Hatch green chiles, chopped 
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 2 tbsp. minced ginger 
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. ground cumin 
  • 1 large can tomatoes 
  • 1 pint coconut milk (optional) 
  • 1 tbsp. garam masala 

Wash the chicken thighs, pat dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a cast iron pot; brown on all sides in oil over medium heat. Remove chicken to a platter. Add cardamon and curry leaves to the pot, cook briefly, add onions and chiles, and sauté until soft. Add cinnamon, bay leaves, ginger, garlic, and cumin, and cook for several minutes more, stirring occasionally. Return the chicken to the pot. Chop the tomatoes and add them to the pot, either with their liquid or drained and with the coconut milk. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for an hour or so, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender. Before serving, reheat, uncover, stir in the garam masala, and reduce the sauce over medium heat as necessary.