New Mexican Chile Verde

Happy Valentines Day Friends!

Sorry, no pink food from me today. I tried to get that in earlier in the week, so you’d have time to bake-ahead. Today I want to discuss one of my favorite regional cuisines.

Regional cuisine is a beautiful concept. It means cook what’s growing in your backyard, and I’ll make the most of what’s growing in mine.

World wide, regional dishes are celebrated for their diversity and ingenuity. I believe that’s why America has become a melting pot, of not only cultures, but flavors. We want to taste what’s growing in EVERYONE’S backyard. This hasn’t occurred without consequence. American food culture has greatly benefited by this sort of exploration, yet many would argue it is taking a toll on our environment. Surely there is a happy-medium to be found.

More than any other state I can think of, New Mexico has fully embraced the concept of celebrating regional cuisine. New Mexicans are proud of their agriculture and the history behind their dishes. Their kitchen creations scream adaptability and survival. In blazing arid climates, what can you grow? Chiles. So for generations, locals have chosen to honor them with great exuberance! The state question afterall is, RED or GREEN? As in, “Do you prefer to eat red or green chiles?” Chiles are not just produce, they are a way of life.

New Mexican Green Chili, also know as Chile Verde and Green Chile Stew, is a dish I discovered years ago on a cross-country trip. A friend served it to me and I was baffled by the concept of chili that wasn’t red…and didn’t contain tomatoes, beans and beef. What was this strange and wonderful concoction!?!

Chile Verde is known for NOT having an official recipe. It consists of slow cooked green chiles and pork; all other ingredients are optional.

Locals would avidly tell you the chile peppers you use matter a LOT! The long green “New Mexican” style chiles are a state treasure. What I buy at the market in North Carolina would only be considered a shadow of “real” chiles. They say their dry barren soil produces the hottest and most flavorful chiles. Known commonly as Hatch Chiles (grown in Hatch) or Big Jims, these chiles are a source of great pride.

I asked my friend what kind of chiles I should use to make Chile Verde. She answered, “Green.” Looking over the selection in the market I asked, “What kind of green chiles?” With a tinge of exasperation she replied, “GREEEEEN!” Like I said, in New Mexico, it’s green or red.

So trying to BE the happy-medium, I’ve prepared my version of Chile Verde with locally grown chiles; that is, NO Hatch chiles. Sniff, sniff. I substituted a mixture of Anaheims (a milder NM style chile), Poblanos for depth of flavor, and a couple Jalapenos for heat. The addition of stewed tomatillos, cilantro, and a splash of lime juice at the end make for an exciting bowl! It’s spicy, zesty, and GREEN in more ways than one!

To Prepare:

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the pork and 2 tsp of salt. Brown the pork on all sides, stirring regularly.

Remove the pork from the pot and pour out all rendered fat, saving about 1 Tb. Add the onions, remaining salt, cumin, coriander and oregano. Saute for 3-5 minutes. Then add the garlic and peppers. Saute another 3-5 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatillos, bay leaves and cilantro. Toss the pork with the masa and add back to the pot. Stir well.

Finally add the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 3 hours, or until the pork is falling apart.
Take 2 forks the break the pork up even more. Salt and Pepper to taste.

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Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 3 1/2 hours

New Mexican Chile Verde

Ingredients:

¼ cup oil
4-4 ½ lbs. pork butt, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
1 Tb. salt, divided
1 Tb. ground cumin
1 Tb. ground coriander
1 Tb. oregano
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
4 coves garlic, minced
2 Anaheim peppers, chopped
2 Poblano peppers, chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1 lb. cleaned and chopped tomatillos
2 Bay leaves
1 large bunch of cilatnro, chopped
3 Tb. masa (corn flour)
4 cups of water or chicken stock
Lime Wedges for garnish

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the pork and 2 tsp of salt. Brown the pork on all sides, stirring regularly.

Remove the pork from the pot and pour out all rendered fat, saving about 1 Tb. Add the onions, remaining salt, cumin, coriander and oregano. Saute for 3-5 minutes.

Then add the garlic and peppers. Saute another 3-5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatillos, bay leaves and cilantro. Toss the pork with the masa and add back to the pot. Stir well.

Finally add the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 3 hours, or until the pork is falling apart.

Take 2 forks the break the pork up even more. Salt and Pepper to taste.

*This recipe can easily be adapted to a "Slow Carb" dish, if you omit the masa.

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64 Responses to “New Mexican Chile Verde”

  1. #
    51
    http://yemekteyizbiz.blogspot.com — February 19, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

    I can’t imagine a chili that’s not red and made with beef and beans either, but this looks really good and you can’t go wrong with pork butt. Love your green pot too

    Reply

  2. #
    52

    That picture at the top of all the green vegetables is amazing. I agree with the eating what grows around you until one runs up against the wall of cost. Many folks can’t afford to hit the co-ops or farmers’ markets to buy local produce, especially in these days where is’t vogue and more expensive than it used to be, which is unfortunately. As much as possible though, it’s the ideal way to cook. Obviously, you’ve made the most of it and created this divine dish.

    Reply

  3. #
    53
    mike — February 23, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

    I am definitely gonna try chili verde tonight, thank you for enlightening me.

    Reply

  4. #
    54
    Sandy — May 28, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    Once a year Hatch Chiles are available here. I buy a case and then roast them and put them in the freezer. Only special recipes get my Hatch peppers. This recipe certainly deserves the peppers from my secret stash.

    Reply

  5. #
    55
    cheap frames glasses — May 31, 2013 @ 11:08 am

    Pretty! This was a really superb article. Thank you for delivering this details.

    Reply

  6. #
    56
    Cerelle Stauch — June 28, 2013 @ 10:43 pm

    While this looks very good, it is not a true New Mexico Green Chile Stew (I am a born and raised New Mexican). Substitute NM green chile for all the other peppers, omit the tomatillos, masa and cilantro, and your closer. This recipe is more what a Californian would think NM/ Mexican chile is. That being said, I occasionally like a more traditional Mexican tomatillo chile verde, and this does look good.

    Reply

  7. #
    57
    pamela — October 31, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

    What would the cooking time be using chicken? I don’t eat pork or beef
    so was thinking about doing this with chicken.

    Reply

    • Sommer — November 1st, 2013 @ 6:03 am

      Hi Pamela, the cooking time would probably be about the same, to be able to develop depth of flavor.

      Reply

  8. #
    58
    Susan — February 2, 2014 @ 2:20 pm

    As someone who grew up on Hatch green chile, it’s wonderful to see a recipe that captures the flavor as closely as possible. There isn’t a perfect replacement, but this is the closest I’ve ever seen. I can’t get the good stuff in Florida, so this will be a great alternative. Thanks

    Reply

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