Pork Chile Verde

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What, you might say?  Another “green chile” recipe?  You betcha!

Adapted from a  Food Network recipe, this tasty chile stew features tomatillos and chile peppers as the stars of the show,  hence Chile “Verde,” which simply means “green.”  While the original slate of ingredients called for red onions, tomatillos, and jalapenos, I have also added long hots, poblano, serrano, and anaheim peppers to boost and enhance the inherent “chile” flavor of this most succulent stew.  In essence, this one should rightly be called “Pork Chile Verde Tomates Prohibidos, as there are no tomatoes in the ingredients.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely l-o-v-e tomatoes!  However, this particular recipes features such a melded variety of various green chile peppers, I thought it appropriate to give them star billing.

In my opinion, there is never a wrong time to have “soups & stews,” but around our house here in southwest Florida, January & February are specifically dedicated as “soup & stew” months. Because we don’t really get “serious winter” down here,  we have to take advantage of whatever “cold” season we get, which as we know is prime hot soup season. On top of that, Evelyn & I are both chile lovers, and we already have a host of both red “chili,” green “chile” and soup recipes from which to choose; there is Evelyn’s Arizona Style Green Pork Chile (which can be made with either pork or chicken or both); Evelyn’s Albondigas Soup; Of course there is Evelyn’s “down home Arizona” recipe for “Goldwater Beans;”  My Chili Rojo my Muy Sabrosa Mexicana Chicken Soup, and Will’s New Mexico-Style Chile Verde.  As you can see, we do love our soups, stews and chiles, and I like having a wide variety from which to pick and choose, depending on our culinary desires in a given moment.  

Any of these wonderful soup/stew recipes are just what the doctor ordered on a Winter’s day when “Baby, it’s cold outside,” and you just want something hot and nutritious to titilate your gizzard and warm up your innards.  This Pork Chile Verde recipe has an excellent sweet taste from the variety of peppers, as well as that nice pork flavor cooked in chicken stock.  You won’t go wrong with this one if you’re looking to brighten up a dreary winter’s day.

And, while we’re here, have you ever wondered what the difference is between “chile,” and chili?” This is a common question and has fueled many arguments and heated discussions over the subject. There are many accepted versions, but like many supposedly mysterious subjects, this one actually has an easy answer. Chile with an “e” at the end is the correct spelling in Spanish, and generally refers to dishes which emanate from the Southwestern United States, particularly Arizona and New Mexico. Chili with an “i” at the end is generally recognized as the more Americanized version, and often red version, such as you might encounter in a Chili con Carne dish. or in any restaurant in the great state of Texas which has “chili” on their menu.  Simple enough, huh? If you want to know more about this issue, check out my green chile recipe, “Will’s New Mexico-Style Chile Verde,” where I elaborate on this subject more definitively.

In any case, I’ve chosen to call this particular recipe very simply, “Pork Chile Verde,” to recognize the Spanish/Mexican/Southwestern influence on my cooking, to pay appropriate homage to the wonderful flavors of that region, to acknowledge its “green-ness,” and also to differentiate from our other excellent “chile” recipes.  

Pork Chile Verde

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Prep Time: About 30 minutes
Cook time: About 2 hours
Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

2 red onions, coarsely chopped
1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved
3 poblano peppers, sliced in quarters
3 long hot peppers, sliced in quarters
4-5 serrano peppers, sliced in half
4-6 jalapeno peppers, sliced in half
4-5 anaheim peppers sliced in half
5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 cups chicken stock (or two 26-oz containers)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Salt
Pepper
10 flour tortillas, warmed

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Directions

First, roast the fresh green chilies. (Poblanos, Anaheims, Serranos, Jalapenos,and Long Hots) This is an important part of the preparation, as the roasting process brings out the deeper flavors of the peppers. I’ve done it countless different ways and they all work well. On a propane-powered BBQ grill, (my favorite method) in the oven under the broiler, or on a hot cast iron griddle.  Roast them by closely monitoring them and turning them until the skins on all sides are blackened and blistered.  The skins do not need to be completely black, just blackened in areas and the rest of the skin loosened and browned. Then – and this is key – put them in a plastic bag or otherwise cover and/or seal them and allow them to “sweat” for about 20 minutes.  This will make peeling them a lot easier.

Here are some representative photos from another recipe, but they will give you the idea of the roasting process.

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After peeling off the blistered skins, continue the preparation process by seeding and stemming the peppers, which also includes removing the inner membranes.  (NOTE:  Around this family we like our green chile recipes “hot,” therefore, I do not normally “seed” peppers used in a recipe). This is strictly your choice, just be aware of who is going to be consuming this recipe and proceed accordingly.  Seeded peppers will produce a much milder product overall; unseeded ones just the opposite.

It is not necessary to “completely” remove all of the blistered skins, actually leaving some small bits of the roasted skin will enhance the flavor and depth of the finished chile.

When you have finished removing the skins, chop the chiles according to preparation/ingredient instructions, and set them aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the onions, tomatillos, garlic and the chopped “browned” jalapenos, anaheims, poblanos, long hots, serranos into a large mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and toss lightly.

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When the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, spread onto a baking sheet.

Note: This recipe essentially involves “roasting” the green chile peppers twice; once to blister them and remove the skins; the second time is to blend the deeper green chile flavors with the other ingredients, i.e., the red onions, garlic, and tomatillos.  The green chiles will be somewhat more blackened after this step, but this actually contributes to the overall flavor of the stew.  If you prefer, you can skip the initial browning step, however the skins should still be removed before adding them to the entire mixture.

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Roast/broil until soft and starting to brown, usually about 20 to 30 minutes.  Give them a stir a couple of times during this process, and be careful they don’t get burned.

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While the veggies are doing their thing in the oven, add 2 TBSP of EVOO to a large Dutch oven (I like my 7-qt Berndes) and bring slowly to a medium-high heat.

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While the oil is heating, liberally sprinkle all sides of the pork with salt and pepper. 

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When the oil develops a sheen and you can begin to smell its fragrance being released, add the pork in batches, (2-lbs will take about 3 batches ) until well-browned. Don’t overcrowd the pieces.

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Place the browned pieces in a bowl.

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When all of the pieces are browned, add all of the pork back to the pan and cover with chicken stock.

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Add the roasted vegetables, bring to a simmer, cover the pan and place in the oven. Cook until the pork is very tender, about 1- ½ to 2 hours.

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While pork is cooking, place the cilantro in a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons of water and puree. When the pork, vegetables, and broth mixture is done, remove from the oven and stir in the cilantro puree. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Serve with warm flour tortillas.

Notes:

1) Like most of our soup/chile/stew recipes, this one is even better if you put it in the refrigerator overnight, so the flavors can meld more thoroughly.  The next day, simply re-heat and serve.  It also freezes well for future leftover endeavors.

2)  I do not “seed” my peppers.  I like my food spicy and hot, therefore I leave the seeds and membranes in for that extra kick.  For those who have more tender palates, or just don’t care for “hot/spicy” dishes, you might want to seed your peppers used in this recipe.  There is a point that if it is too hot for some people, they won’t enjoy it.  Know your “audience” and just be careful how you deal with the peppers, but it is your choice.

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Buon Provecho!

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Will

 

 

 

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