Monday, September 1, 2014

Pork Chili Verde

Hatch chile season is here folks! 

You are probably seeing mounds of them piled up at your local grocery store and farmers market and  you should get them while you can because the season is super short, only running from August to September each year. I got a call from my cousin's fiancé last week; he had driven out to La Puenta to pick up his pre-ordered chiles that had been trucked in straight from Hatch, New Mexico. He waited as they were fire-roasted to his liking and packed into a burlap bag for him take home. He knew he would never be able to use all of them and I was excited to take them off his hands. Perfectly roasted and hand-peeled, I thought about how to do these hatch chiles justice as I drove home with them sitting on my passenger seat, filling my car with their sweet, smokey aroma. 

That night we made ground chicken burgers laced with chopped chiles, then a few days later it was hatch chile queso dip and finally, most recently, it was hatch chile verde. The chile verde was a home run - so incredibly delicious. I recommend that you source the best pork possible - look for all natural, free range pork. I used mild hatch chiles for this recipe and then adjusted the heat level using jalapeños - you can control the heat level by the amount of seeds you leave in the chiles. 

Pork Chili Verde
Serves 8

5 pounds trimmed boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1” cubes
2 large yellow onions, chopped
8 large cloves garlic, minced
8 poblano peppers, fire roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
5  jalapenos, fire roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
10 mild hatch chilis fire roasted, seeded, peeled, and chopped
(you can sub anaheim peppers if hatch chills are not in season)
3 pounds large fresh tomatillos, husks removed, fire roasted
1 bunch cilantro, stems discarded, chopped
 3 limes , juiced
2 quarts chicken stock
1 Tbsp coriander 
1 Tbsp cumin
kosher salt, to taste 
pepper, to taste 

Fire-roast the peppers and tomatillos.  You can do this on the grill, over a gas burner, or under your broiler turned on high.  You want to char the skins, bringing out their natural sweetness, concentrating the flavor, and adding a bit of smokiness. 
 Once blackened, place the peppers in a heat proof bowl cover with plastic wrap.  The heat from the peppers will help the charred skin come off easily. The tomatillos do not need to be peeled. 
Blend all of peppers and garlic and tomatillos together into a chunky puree.

Next, trim off any excess fat from the pork and cut into 1 inch squares.  Liberally season the pork with salt and pepper. In a large stock pot, over high heat, brown pork in some oil or pork fat (or bacon fat even). Brown the pork in small batches being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Remove the pork from the pot and pour off the fat drippings. In the same pot, over a medium heat, add the chopped onion, and sauté until transparent, scraping up any browned bits.  Add the cumin, coriander, pork, chicken stock, and pureed pepper mixture and cook simmering over medium-low heat for approx 2.5 hours.

Roughly chop the cilantro.  Add it to the pot along with the fresh lime juice and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, for a total cooking time of three hours. Now taste and adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Serve with warm corn tortillas, shaved radish, pickled onions, cilantro, and sour cream.  

Note: You can make this recipe a day or two in advance - the flavors actually develop further this way and get better each day. 


  1. Looks delicious as always, Sarah!! Any suggestions for a vegetarian replacement for the pork? Beans

  2. Hi Linds!! YES!! I recommend Peruano beans - they look like pinto beans but are slightly creamier in texture and lighter in color - soak for 24 hours and then drain and add to recipe instead of the pork - a 2 lb bag of beans would be plenty for this recipe. xx

  3. Perfect--thanks!! This will be our Sunday night meal--can't wait.