It’s no secret that Tulum, an archaeologically rich city on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, is one of the most popular vacation destinations for celebrities like Demi Moore and Cara Delevingne, to name a couple. Slightly less well known, but extraordinarily beloved by the A-list vacationers there (including Danish super-chef Reneé Redzepi), is Hartwood, a small, rugged restaurant nestled in the jungle. The open-air eatery was established in 2010 by New York-based couple Eric Werner and Mya Henry, whose “love project” was inspired by a visit to Tulum in 2009. The romance didn't stop there. The food, which is sourced from the surrounding area, is cooked on an open fire under the stars (seriously!). For an autumnal dish that is equal parts exotic, cozy and alluring, try Hartwood’s Roast Chicken with Poblanos and Tomatillos, below.
Roast Chicken with Poblanos and Tomatillos
One 4-lb chicken, excess fat trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head garlic (optional)
2 cups chicken stock or water
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
6 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
2 poblano chiles, sliced
6 dried árbol chiles
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. If you have a head of garlic on hands, slice off the top and place in the cavity of the chicken—it’s not necessary, but it adds flavor. Put the chicken in a cast-iron pan (with parchment and foil, if needed) or a Dutch oven and pour in the stock. Scatter the onions, shallot, garlic, carrots, celery, tomatillos, and chiles around the chicken.
3. Bring the stock to a low boil on the stovetop, then cover the plan, transfer to the oven, and braise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through—the drumstick should move easily when wiggled.
4. Preheat the boiler (or, if the chicken won’t fit below the heating element, preheat the oven to 500°F). Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a large cast-iron skillet; set the braising pan aside. Broil (or roast) the chicken, checking every couple of minutes, until the skin turns golden brown and crisp—move the pan around so that the chicken browns evenly. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter; reserve the skillet.
5. Strain the braising liquid and pout into the skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan, and simmer until reduced by half. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour the liquid over the chicken and serve.