Posted on 26 August 2009.
You can roast your own, or pick them up already roasted during August chile fests around town.
If ever a dish was green, this is it. Along with pork, green chiles aplenty go into the pot. You almost can’t put too many in. Then you add more green things: tomatillos, cilantro, lime juice.
Texans tend to call it this dish pork green chile stew, and there’s nothing exactly wrong with this. One also might refer to it as a pork and green chile guisada. Guisada means “stew.”
But in states further west, where the dish is insanely popular, it is generally referred to as Pork Green Chile, or even just green chile. I learned to make green chile when I was in college in Arizona and have made it ever since. One can also make it with beef, a mixture of beef and pork, or venison. I’ve had it all ways.
Fry the cubes of pork, give them plenty of room in the pan so they brown rather than stew.
One good thing about this recipe is that no starch-based thickening agents are required — no flour, no cornstarch, no nuthin’. How does it get so wondrously thick? By the tried and true method of reduction. The chiles and their juices simmer down to a thick, delicious green sauce. At the same time, the meat is getting fork tender as it imbues the chiles with all that good, porky flavor.
This dish is forgiving. If you don’t have tomatillos, leave them out. Add a little more lime juice for that little acidic zing. Or, use a can of Herdez Salsa Verde. (I always keep a supply of these in the pantry since it’s a good product and can be used for any number of dishes. ) If you don’t have very many fresh green chiles but you have canned, augment the fresh with the canned. If you don’t like a lot of heat, use more poblanos and Anaheims than jalapeños and serranos. But, keep in mind that Anaheims labeled ‘hot,’ as in hot Hatch chiles, will be just that. And, we’ve all had a few fiery poblanos, too. Play it by taste.
Finally, maybe the best thing about Pork Green Chile: After you’ve done the prep work, the roasting, slicing and dicing, you just cover it up and simmer. The ingredients plus the heat will make the sauce for you from that point on. Take the cover off for the last part of the cooking so that it reduces.
Serve the chile in bowls with warm flour tortillas on the side. Put a bowl of shredded cheese on the side, wedges of lime and some finely chopped onion and cilantro, mixed together.
Another variation I’ve seen is to add this chile to a pot of fideo with a pinch of Mexican oregano in it. Or, if you have large flour tortillas, make a burrito out of it.
What’s best to drink with it? Cold beer. Period.
Pork Green Chile
4 pounds pork butt or shoulder roast
1/4 cup cooking oil or lard
Salt, to taste
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and diced
4-6 tomatillos, husks removed, washed, trimmed and diced
8 Anaheim (long green) chiles, roasted, de-veined and skinned
4 large poblano chiles, roasted, de-veined and skinned
1-2 jalapeños, seeded, diced (or to taste)
1-2 serrano chiles, diced (or to taste)
1 -2 tablespoons freshly cut cilantro leaves, minced
Trim the pork, cutting off most of the fat, silver skin and any other gristly parts. Cut the meat into 1-inch dice. In a large saute or frying pan, pour in the oil and warm it up. Cook the diced pork in batches. This way you can spread the pieces out so they don’t touch one another. This means it will brown rather than stew. Add a little salt to each batch that you fry. After each batch of pork is lightly browned, transfer it to the pot that you are going to simmer the chile in.
When you are browning the last batch, the pan may have become dry, with a lot of golden brown on the bottom. Before the last batch of meat is completely browned, add the onions, garlic and tomatillo and continue to cook, stirring. The moisture of the vegetables will help loosen up the browned bits. With a wooden stirring spoon, you also can scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and get all that flavor into your stew.
When the meat and vegetables are browned and in the larger pot, dice all of the trimmed chiles into pieces roughly an inch or two wide, add to the pot. Add the diced jalapeños and serrano chiles. Stir and cover the pot. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer, covered, until the chile has cooked down and the pork is getting tender. If the chiles are very fresh, they’ll put off more liquid. If you want the dish very thick, take the lid off the top of the pot and let it reduce. When the pork is fork tender, squeeze in the juice from half of the lime and add the cilantro. Stir and taste for seasoning (salt, more lime if you like).
Serves 6-8, depending on appetites.
From Bonnie Walker