Pork Chile Verde
Chile verde or green chili is slightly lighter, zippier version of regular chili. Unlike regular chili, however, it is almost always made with pork, or in my case wild boar. Either will work here. You will need tomatillos here, although green tomatoes can kinda-sorta substitute. You will also need some hot and mild green peppers, too. I prefer fire-roasted jalapenos and either pasilla or poblano peppers, but you can also use Anaheim or, as a last resort, green bell peppers.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs
Servings: 6 people
- 3 to 4 pounds wild boar or pork shoulder
- 3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, sliced root to tip
- 1 quart stock (chicken, game, etc)
- 4 to 6 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
- 1 head garlic, separated into cloves but not peeled
- 2 to 4 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
- 4 pasilla, poblano, Anaheim or green bell peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, loosely packed
- 3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- Cilantro, Mexican cheese and sour cream, for garnish
Keep the pork or wild boar in large pieces -- cut them only small enough to fit into your Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot. Salt the meat well and brown it in the pot in the lard over medium-high heat. When the pork has browned, remove it and add the onions. Cook the onions until they get a little brown on the edges. Return the pork to the pot, add the bay leaves, stock and as much water as you need to come halfway up the sides of the meat. Cover pot and cook over low heat until the meat falls apart -- about 3 hours for a wild boar shoulder.
To prep the sauce, slice the tomatillos in half and arrange, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Put the garlic cloves on the sheet, too and set under the broiler. Remove when they are a little charred, but not burned to a crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes.
While the tomatillos are broiling, set the jalapenos and the pasilla or Anaheim chiles directly on your gas burner or over your grill. If you have an electric stove, add them to the broiler as well. Blacken the skins of the peppers, turning them as needed. Once the skins are black, put the chiles in a paper bag. Close the bag to let the peppers steam themselves for 20 minutes. When they've steamed, take them out of the bag and remove the skins. Do this in the sink to minimize the mess. Remove all the seeds and the stems of the peppers, too. (Note: If you've ever been burned working with chiles, you might want to wear gloves for this. Working with the roasted jalapenos might irritate your skin.)
Put the tomatillos and the roasted chiles into a food processor. Peel the garlic and put the garlic in, too. Add the 1/2 cup of cilantro and a healthy pinch of salt. Buzz until everything is combined but there are still some little chunks; you want texture to the sauce. Mix in the oregano and cumin and set the sauce aside. Fry this sauce in the lard, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
When the meat's ready, lift it out of the pot and onto a baking sheet to cool a little. Keep the pot uncovered and turn the heat to high to boil down the braising liquid. Shred the meat with your fingers or two forks.
Once the braising liquid has boiled down by about 2/3, remove the bay leaves and return the pork to the pot. Add the chile verde sauce and mix well. Serve over white rice with cilantro, some Mexican hard cheese and sour cream.
A note on the chile verde sauce. I make big batches and can it, which is a lot easier. It's basically the same recipe as here, only with a bit of added vinegar. If you're looking for a base recipe, this one is a good start. Once you make this, it will keep for a week in the fridge.