9.16.14 Green Chile Pork
Now that cooler fall weather seems to be rolling in, it’s time to return to fall cooking. And while summer cooking is magnificent, there’s something to be said for being able to get away with making hearty, warming, braises and stews. You know, stuff you wouldn’t dare to make during those soaring summer temps. But on a cool fall day, it’s hard to beat the aroma of slow-cooked goodness emanating from your kitchen.
Case in point: chili. I’ve always been a fan of a good bowl of chili, and it only seemed appropriate to make some, considering the fact that the farmers markets are practically overflowing with chile peppers of all shapes, sizes and colors. Let’s add this to the fact that there may be no better food to eat while watching countless Badger and Packer football games than a nice bowl of chili. Obviously it seemed that making up a big pot was inevitable.
Now I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There are approximately fifty gajillion ways to make chili. And since this was my first chili-making endeavor of the season, I knew I had to make something pretty fantastic. Something that wasn’t just your everyday, run-of-the-mill chili. So here you have it: green chile pork. Technically, a chili, but also so much more.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can use it for so many things. Of course, I love to eat it in traditional chili fashion; straight up from a bowl, topped with a drizzle of hot sauce, a squeeze of lime, a smattering of fresh cilantro, and a couple of warm tortillas to sop it all up. But let’s not discount the other myriad uses for this delightful dish - piled atop nachos, stuffed into quesadillas, rolled up into enchiladas - really the possibilities are endless. And when it comes to pure aromatic bliss - well, let’s just say, your house is going to smell absolutely amazing with a pot of this stuff simmering away on your stovetop.
Green Chile Pork
serves about 6
- 5 anaheim chile peppers, halved and seeded
- 3 poblano chile peppers, halved and seeded
- ¾ lb tomatillos, husked and roughly chopped
- 1 14.5 oz can chicken broth
- 2 lb pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch pieces
- ¼ c flour
- 1 ½ tsp salt, divided
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp oil or bacon fat, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chile powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper powder (or more to taste)
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- Juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp)
- Fresh cilantro, warm tortillas, lime wedges and hot sauce for serving
1. Roast green chiles: place anaheim and poblano peppers, skin side up, in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Place baking sheet on top rack in oven and broil on high until peppers are blackened and blistering, about 10-12 minutes.
2. Immediately transfer peppers to a medium bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let tomatoes and peppers sit inside the bowl for 5-10 minutes (this steams them, which will make the skins much easier to remove).
3. Peel charred skins off of peppers, discard skins. Chop peppers into thin strips and set aside.
4. While peppers are roasting/steaming, blend tomatillos and chicken broth using a food processor or blender until a smooth consistency is achieved. Set tomatillo mixture aside.
5. In a large bowl, toss the chopped pork shoulder with the flour, 1 tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper, until pork pieces are evenly coated.
6. Heat 2 tsp of the oil or bacon fat in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, and once hot, add half of the pork pieces in a single layer. Cook, 1-2 minutes per side, until pork is browned on all sides. Remove pork from pot and place on a paper-towel lined plate.
7. Heat another 2 tsp of the oil or bacon fat in the pot and repeat step 6 with the remaining pork pieces. Once browned, transfer to plate as well.
8. Add the final 2 tsp of oil or bacon fat to the pot, add the onion, garlic, cumin, chile powder, ½ tsp salt, and cayenne pepper. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
9. Add the chopped roasted green chiles, and cook 1 additional minute.
10. Add the tomatillo mixture, tomato paste, lime juice, pork, and 1 cup water. Stir to combine.
11. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
12. After 2 hours, pork should be very tender and shreddable. Break pork apart with a large fork, and stir. Season to taste with salt. You can serve as is, or continue to cook, uncovered, for an additional 10 minutes for a thicker consistency, if desired.
13. Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh cilantro, warm tortillas, lime wedges and hot sauce.