Prep 45 mins
Cook 2 hrs 30 mins
This is a simple and honest green chile and tomatillo stew that is always a hit and has won a few chili cook offs at work and parties.
- 3 -4 lbs cubed pork (I used country-style boneless pork ribs for the darker meat and nice marbling of fat.)
- 4 (28 ounce) cans tomatillos (drained) or 4 lbs fresh tomatillos, roasted on a grill (these offer better flavor but may not be worth the effort.)
- 12 poblano chiles (This is where the flavor comes from! Fresh pablano chiles roasted then peeled.)
- 3 medium diced onions
- 1⁄2 bunch fresh cilantro
- salt (to taste)
- garlic clove
- ground habanero (This is for a little heat, the Pablanos are very mild and need a little kick in pants. You could sub)
- Roasting the Chilies.
- To roast the chilies you can use a gas or charcoal grill, a broiler, or a stovetop burner, anything that will provide intense heat. Roast the chilies until the skin separates from the meat of the chile. It’s ok for the skin to burn a little; in fact it is what gives the chile its roasted flavor.
- After the chilies are roasted, place them in a plastic bag or tightly lidded bowel to steam. You want to make sure the stems are not actually burning, as this will melt the bag. I have melted a few bags doing this.
- After about 10 to 15 minutes, peel the chilies by gently rubbing the skin off. If you find burnt chile beneath the skin, DON’T cut it out or otherwise discard it, this is bonus flavor.
- Once the chilies are skinned, remove the stems or burnt nub of what used to be the stem. The seeds can be discarded or kept; it is up to you. The more seeds you have in your Chile Verde, the more intimidating it looks.
- Making the Chile.
- In a large stock pot, season the pork with pepper and brown. With three pounds of cubed pork you should do this in batches so it actually has a chance of browning.
- As the last of the pork is finishing, add the diced onion and let it soften-up a bit then add the garlic and salt to taste.
- Add the drained cans of tomatillos: they have enough liquid in them; they don’t need the excess from the can. Mash the tomatillos up a bit so they break up as they stew. You can do this by squishing them in half as you add them to the pot. Be careful – they will pop and squirt all over the place.
- Stir the mixture well, making sure you get all that stuff off the bottom of the pot from the pork and onions.
- Add the chilies in a similar manner to the tomatillos. You want the chilies to end up in bite sized pieces but you still want them recognizable.
- Chop up about half of the bunch of fresh cilantro and add it to the pot.
- At this point, you can transfer the chile to a crock pot (set to low) or just turn the stove down to low and keep an eye on it every once in a while and scrape the bottom of the pot as needed. Allow the chile to cook for a couple of hours; you’ll know it is done when the meat is very tender and breaks apart easily when you taste it. It seems it requires frequent taste testing. Add more chopped cilantro as need before serving.
- Depending on the chilies you may need to add some habanero powder. This stuff is powerful hot so add it sparingly; I use the tip of a coffee stir-stick to measure it out one scoop at a time, with mandatory tasting between each scoop. Heat it up as you see fit.
- Serve with warm white corn tortillas. Place a damp paper towel on a plate under a small stack of tortillas and top it off with another damp paper towel and a bowl to cover the stack. Microwave on high for a couple of minutes or until they are heated through.