Chile Verde

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Walk into almost any taqueria in this country and you will find chile verde on the menu. The chile will likely be made with chunks of pork shoulder, slow cooked in a green chile sauce of jalapeño chiles, garlic, and tomatillos.

It’s a favorite filling for burritos and tacos, and wonderful just on its own with a bit of rice and tortillas.

Many recipes call for puréeing raw tomatillos and adding them to the pork to cook. In this recipe we roast the tomatillos first, browning their skins, to bring out more flavor.

I recently begged this recipe from my Acapulco friend, Arturo who was surprised I wanted it. “But Elise, it’s so easy, anyone can make chile verde.” Gracias, Arturo. We loved it.

Chile Verde

Chile Verde Recipe

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  • Cook time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
  • 5 garlic cloves, not peeled
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles (optional)
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork shoulder (also called pork butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp of chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp of dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • Pinch of ground cloves

Method

1 Roast the tomatillos, garlic: Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well.

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Cut in half and place cut side down, along with 5 unpeeled garlic cloves, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin. Remove from oven, let cool enough to handle.

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If you want the additional flavor of chilies other than jalapenos, you can add a couple Anaheim or poblano chiles. Either use canned green chiles or roast fresh chilies over a gas flame or under the broiler until blackened all around. Let cool in a bag, remove the skin, seeds, and stem.

2 Purée tomatillos with garlic, jalapeño, cilantro: Place tomatillos, skins included, into blender. Remove the now roasted garlic cloves from their skins, add them to the blender. Add chopped Jalapeño peppers, other chilies (if you are using them), and cilantro to the blender. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.

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3 Sear pork on all sides: Season the pork cubes generously with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat and brown pork chunks well on all sides.

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Work in batches so that the pork is not crowded in the pan and has a better chance to brown well. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, lift pork out of pan and place in bowl, set aside.

4 Sauté onions and garlic: Pour off excess fat, anything beyond a tablespoon, and place the onions and garlic in the same skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until limp, about 5 minutes.

5 Add pork, oregano, tomatillo sauce, stock, ground cloves: If your skillet is large enough to cook the entire batch of chile verde, with the sauce and meat, then add the pork back to the pan. If not, get a large soup pot and add the onion mixture and the pork to it. Add the oregano to the pan.

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Add the tomatillo chile verde sauce to the pork and onions. Add the chicken stock (enough to cover the meat). Add a pinch of ground cloves. Add a little salt and pepper. (Not too much as the chile verde will continue to cook down and concentrate a bit.)

6 Simmer 2-3 hours: Bring to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours uncovered or until the pork is fork tender.

Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with Spanish rice and warmed flour tortillas or freshly made corn tortillas.

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Links:

Green chili from Lisa Fain, the Homesick Texan

Showing 4 of 176 Comments

  • Missy

    I made this tonight and my pork is tough. I followed the recipe. Flavor is amazing. If I leave it simmering will it make the meat more tender?? We have migrant workers in from mexico and was going to surprise them with some home cooking. Please help!

  • Ryan

    I have made this dish at least 20 times. It is absolutely amazing.

  • Tanya Walker

    I cannot express how good this was! I used fresh tomatillos from the Farmer’s Market. OMG!

  • Linda

    This is just SO SO good. And, frankly, pretty easy.

    There’s a little labor involved, but there isn’t a lot of complex weird spices or ingredients.

    It’s just an absolute winner of a dish. Anyone I’ve made this for has gone ga-ga for it. Makes me look like seasoned chef :)

    I’ve served it over orzo/grains… I’ve also cooked in potatoes, as many others mentioned.

    Thank you.

  • David Lumpkin

    I make this and it was excellent. I used poblano peppers and did not add the cilantro, but poured in a cup or so of fresh made sopapito that I found at a local maket. Very tasty, sooo good!

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