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Roasted Chile Verde Chili

I’m always making, experimenting with, and devouring new and different kinds of chili. It’s a yummy, satisfying dish that’s easy to make in large quantities, and it’s almost as delicious thawed from months in the freezer as it is after a day in the crockpot.  It’s also a versatile meal, and is great on rice, baked in a pie crust, or eaten “sloppy joe” style between hamburger buns.

I’m eating less beef and bison these days, and I’ve been using various meats and meat substitutes in my cooking in the past year.  I’ve recently put the finishing touches on this chile verde recipe — which, of course, uses pork, tomatillos, and poblano peppers — and I’m happy to share it with you today.  This particular chili has a savory and rich character, and is not fiery or overly spicy.  It’s likely to be a hit even with folks with a delicate palate.

A couple of notes about two of the ingredients which may be unfamiliar to some cooks: tomatillos and poblano peppers.  Tomatillos, despite the name and appearance, are not young green tomatoes.  Rather, they are a distinct vegetable with a tart flavor.  Tomatillos grow covered in a dull brown and green leafy husk which is removed before cooking; this reveals the bright green color of the fruit within.  Poblanos are peppers known for their mild flavor, though there are occasions where the heat of a small poblano can be surprisingly intense.  Therefore, it’s important to buy the greenest and largest poblanos for the greatest chance of imparting a mild flavor.

It may be difficult to get poblano peppers from your local market; if you are unable to procure them, you can substitute another yellow onion and an additional 1/2 lb of tomatillos (though it won’t be quite as tasty).

Roasted Chile Verde Chili

1 pork shoulder, trimmed
1 lb tomatillos
1 lb of large green poblano peppers
2 large yellow onions
6 medium cloves of garlic
4 jalapeño peppers
1 32 fl oz box chicken or vegetable broth
1 can vegetarian refried beans or white beans
6 tbsp of dried oregano
1 tsp cloves
3 tbsp fresh ground pepper
grapeseed or vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

  1. There are a couple of ways you can prepare the pork shoulder depending on the type. If bone-in, you should trim all fat and skin off. If boneless, you should trim the fat and skin and cut into large pieces (no smaller than 2″ cubes).
  2. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and brown the pork shoulder on all sides on medium-high heat. Place the browned pork in a large crock pot or soup pot. Set the skillet with any pork drippings aside.
  3. Husk all the tomatillos and rinse thoroughly. Slice the tomatillos in half. Roast the tomatillos in the skillet on medium-high heat with the pork drippings until the tomatillos are soft and become blackened.  If need be, add more oil if the skillet is dry.  Place the roasted tomatillos in a blender.
  4. Cube both onions.  Peel the garlic.  Cook both in skillet with oil until the onions turn translucent. Place the cooked onions and garlic in the blender with the tomatillos.
  5. While the onions are cooking, roast the poblanos and jalapeños by placing them directly on the flame of the stove until they are thoroughly blackened on all sides.  If you have an electric stove or no access to open flame, slice the peppers in half and roast skin-side down on the highest heat in the skillet until blackened.  After roasting, trim stems and seeds from the peppers and place in blender with the other vegetables.
  6. Add some broth to the blender. Puree the vegetables and broth until mostly smooth. Pour all the pureed sauce over the pork in the pot.
  7. Stir in oregano, cloves, salt, and ground pepper. Add the remainder of the broth to the pot.  Cover and cook under low heat for 4-9 hours, depending on the cut and quantity of pork.  Turn pork occasionally. The dish is done cooking when the pork easily falls off the bone or comes apart in shreds with a fork.
  8. One hour before serving, add can of beans; stir thoroughly.
  9. Serve with cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese, hot sauce, cornbread, or hot tortillas (or preferably all of the above).

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