We had a Chili Cook-Off at work over the weekend and I submitted my Chile Verde for the event. I know its non-traditional “chili,” but I was really trying to get away from the beef/kidney bean/red gravy definition of chili.
Though it may not be traditional chili, it’s a fairly traditional Chile Verde made with pork, but you could easily replace the pork with beef or chicken if you are so inclined. Chile Verde isn’t usually spicy hot, but if you like things on the hot and spicy side, you can add more serranos or your favorite hot sauce to up the Scoville count.
Chile Verde is a versatile stew, it’s a popular burrito and taco filling, terrific on its own or served with some rice, beans and tortillas. If you leave the broth a more soupy consistency and add hominy, you’ve got a green pozole, which is a popular soup and reputed to be a great hangover cure. It’s usually served shredded cabbage, lime, thinly sliced radishes to give it a crunchy texture and freshen and brighten the flavor. Though my personal favorite way to eat Chile Verde is Navajo style, simply topped with cheese and fresh from the fryer fry bread.
Chile Verde is essentially two separate preparations. The first part is seasoning and simmering the meat until tender and the second part is making a tomatillo salsa. Then you combine them together at the end so the flavors can come together.
5 lbs of trimmed pork loin or shoulder cut into ½” cubes
1 white onion, stemmed and quartered
1 head of garlic
2 dried Ancho Chiles
2 dried Guajillo Chiles
2 TBS salt
1 TBS Peppercorns
1 bunch Mexican Spring onions, trimmed (white and light green part only)
¼ cup fresh oregano
2 bay/laurel leaves
1 bunch cilantro roughly chopped
3 lbs. peeled tomatillos
1 white onion
1 head of garlic
4 Anaheim/New Mexico or Hatch Chiles
2 Serrano Chiles
4 Pasilla Chiles
2 limes, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
Place the cubed pork, salt, guajillo and ancho chiles, peppercorn, 1 head of garlic cut across, the Mexican onions, oregano and bay leaves into a large dutch oven. Cover with cold water and simmer on medium low until fork tender. This will take about 2 hours.
Strain the pork keeping the pork and pork stock. Discard herbs and all other solids. Wrapping the herbs, garlic and peppercorn in a cheesecloth will make this step easier. Return the pork to the dutch oven along with the quartered white onion and Salsa Verde. Simmer uncovered on low until the sauce reduces by half. Use the left over pork broth to adjust consistency to your preference. Salt and pepper to taste.
While the pork is simmering, peel the remaining onion, garlic and tomatillos. Toss with olive oil and salt and roast in. 425 oven.
Roast until the flesh of the tomatillos starts to blister. Remove from oven and place into a deep sided glass bowl and set aside.
Turn oven to broil, place serranos, hatch and pasilla chiles on a baking sheet and place under the broiler. Char the skin of the chiles on all sides,
Once all sides are charred, remove from broiler and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the chiles steam for 10 minutes.
This will loosen the skin and make them easier to peel. Remove all the charred skin and discard veins, stems and seeds.
If you are sensitive to capsicum then you may want to wear gloves for this part and avoid touching your face or any “sensitive” skin. Place cleaned chiles into the bowl with the tomatillos. Using either an upright blender or stick blender to blend the chile and tomatillo mixture together until smooth. Add lime juice and cilantro and continue to blend. If mixture is too thick, add some of the liquid from the pork. Season to taste and set aside.