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Chilie Verde

Whenever I find fresh poblano chilis at the market, I choose to see it as a sign from the cosmos, telling me that I need to make a batch of chili verde STAT. I am not one to ignore such signs but was seriously considering just taking them home to toast and freeze for a later date when I then turned the corner to see that pork shoulders were on sale. At that point it occurred to me that I would bring a pox on my house if I kept walking. It's like the universe wants us to eat more pork. Add to that the fact that I am working on a recipe that would require some sort of pulled pork and two pork roasts were in my cart before you could say Tha-tha-tha-that's all folks!

Chili verde, a soupy stew of pork, tomatillos and green chilis, is more Southwestern than straight up Mexican and if we are going to be all hung up on authenticity, we should be using hatch chilis. I have been told, much like Texans refuse to call anything with beans in it chili, the fine people of the southwest refuse to bestow the name of chili verde on anything that lacks New Mexico's famous hatch chilies. Well, I have never seen a hatch chili and I don't even know the difference so I use poblanos, which I can get my hands on and I am still going to call it Chili Verde and that's my story. If you can't find fresh poblanos, canned are okay but you will miss out on the smokiness that comes from charring them. If you can find some fresh tomatillos, by all means, use those but they are not easy to find all the time so I often rely on canned. If you do use fresh tomatillos, just half them and throw those on the baking tray alongside the chilis and broil them as well. Each 12 ounce can equals 1 lb of fresh tomatillos so use that as your guide. You could also cook this in your slow cooker if you want, just don't skip the browning of the pork and I would do all of the steps right up the point where you would put the pot in the oven to cook but pour it into your crockpot and cook it all day on low instead.

This is not a spicy dish unless you want it to be. Poblano chilis are not hot so if you want heat, you are going to have to throw in a couple of seeded, halved jalapenos when you roast the peppers. I wanted to keep the heat down because half of this recipe is destined for another dish and requires a milder taste. Sometimes I just like to use hot sauce on the side so that we can all adjust it to our individual tastes too since I like my food much spicier than the boys do. Our favourite way to eat this is over rice with  a handful of tortilla chips that I crunch on the top with some slivered red onion and a squeeze of lime.

Chili Verde

make approx 6 cups


a 4lb bone in pork shoulder (if you are getting a boneless pork shoulder or butt , 3 1/2 lbs)
1 large onion, unpeeled, halved
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
4 fresh poblano chilis, seeded and halved
1 28 oz can tomatillos
1 bunch cilantro ( clean and chop a handful of the stems for the sauce)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 tbls veg oil
1 bottle corona
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbls cumin
1 tbls mexican oregano
juice from 2 limes


Cut all excess fat off of the pork shoulder and discard. Cutting around the bone, chop the pork up into big chunks, about the size of your clenched fist or a bit smaller. Set aside

Preheat the broiler.
Put the poblano chili halves, skin side up, on a baking tray along with the unpeeled garlic cloves and the halved, skin on onion, cut side down.
Cook under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until the poblanos are charred.
Put the chilies in a covered bowl and set aside for ten minutes- use saran wrap if you don't have a bowl with a snug fitting lid.
Remove the skin from the onion and chop roughly. Remove the skin from the garlic and chop roughly. Set aside.
Drain the canned tomatillos.

In a blender, puree the tomatillos with the poblanos and a handful of cilantro stems. I also hold back two chili halves and chop those roughly and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325F
Heat a heavy, oven proof pot over med to med high heat. I use an enameled cast iron pot that gets very hot so I do this over medium. Working in batches so that you don't crowd the pot, start browning the chunks of pork. Salt and pepper each batch after you set them in the pot.

Once all of the pork is browned (leaving the bone with meat clinging to it for last if you use bone it pork), put the onion in the pot, add a bit of beer to deglaze the fond and saute for about 3 minutes, using beer again if the bottom looks like it's going to burn. Throw in the garlic, the cumin and the oregano and stir that so that everything is coated and let it cook for another minute before you add in the pork, the chicken stock and the chili/tomatillo puree. Pour the remainder of your beer into the blender container and swish around to get the rest of the verde sauce and pour that into the pot and stir to mix well.
The pork should just be submerged so if it's not, add a bit of water.
Bring this to a boil, cover the pot and pop it in the oven to cook for 3 hours.

Remove the pork and let cool until you can pick through it and discard the chunks of fat. Shred the remaining pork with your fingers and add back to the verde sauce. Right before you are going to serve it, add a couple big handfuls of chopped cilantro and the lime juice and stir.

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