Green pozole is a Mexican soup from Guerrero made with chicken, ample chilies, tomatillos and pozole corn (hominy). Light, spicy and clean, its captivating match-up of flavors is due to the highs and lows created by juxtaposing fresh and charred ingredients.

First, the chicken. We poach it in a liquid that becomes the broth in which we build the soup. This method preserves the clean, pure flavor of the meat and eschews the heaviness that results from browning the protein, as is common in European stews. Bony dark-meat cuts (like chicken legs) yield the best broth; the skin, bone and cartilage add more flavor and body than boneless cuts. And they won’t toughen up and dry out the way overcooked white meat does.

Likewise, we don’t brown the aromatics that flavor the broth. Rather, we add them raw with the chicken, straining them out once spent, to keep the broth’s flavor light. We use white onion, a whole head of garlic and cilantro stems (reserving the tender leaves for garnishing).

Now for the flavors that really define green pozole: fresh chilies and tomatillos. A common technique in the Mexican kitchen, charring fresh chilies develops smoky flavor without dulling freshness the way sautéing does. Charring also makes removing the skins easier. We blend grassy poblanos and spicy jalapeños (both charred, then peeled) into the broth base, along with tangy tomatillos for acidity.

To contrast the brightness, we use dried chilies to add smoky depth. Dried chilies usually are first toasted or soaked, then pureed. But we take a shortcut by simmering earthy anchos or pasillas with the chicken to infuse the broth, then strain them out with the spent aromatics.