Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pork Chili Verde

This recipe is such a stand by for our family,  I wasn't sure I was even going to blog about it. Nevertheless, I bought a bunch of pork the other day on a "Buy one, Get one" sale and whoa... I suddenly had too much pork that I needed to use!   I actually made this two days in a row... yep, it's that good! Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of the ingredients I used, or any of the steps.  I did have lots of fantastic leftovers, so I did get a picture of the finished dish (above) that just happened to be my lunch today. This is called Chili Verde, but it is not necessarily all "Verde" (green).  I will give you some ideas below for a true "green" Verde if you prefer. 

I used boneless pork country spareribs because that is what I had on hand.  You could use many other cuts of pork, a pork loin roast (cut into pieces) or even pork tenderloin successfully.  The boneless country spareribs have a bit of fat, which adds to the flavor, but you will want to trim off some of the excess pork fat, or skim the oil off at the end.

 I've shared this recipe with friends over the years, and it always seems to be a hit.  I'm going to give you the basic recipe, but I strongly encourage you to make adjustments as you feel fit.  I do this a bit differently every time I make it based on what I have around.

Makes approx 6 servings. 

3 lbs. boneless pork country style ribs, cut into 1 1/2"-2" pieces
Olive oil
3- 14oz cans of diced tomatoes, (with chilies, if you can find)
1 7oz. can of diced green chilies
     -Or- 2-3 Anaheim chillies, chopped & 1-2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1-2 med onions, chopped
1-2 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 cup chicken, or beef, stock
2 Tsp. cumin
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
Salt & pepper, to taste

Cut your pork into large 1-2" pieces.  Heat a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium high heat with some olive oil, and brown your pork in small batches.  If you overload your pan with too much pork at once, it releases a bunch of juices and you will not get any nice brown searing on the meat which adds to the flavor.  As the meat browns, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside while you finish the rest of the meat.  When complete, add the retained meat, and any accumulated juices, back to the pan.

Add the onions, and fresh chilies (if you are using) and saute until the onions start to turn translucent.  Add the garlic. Add the 3 cans of diced tomatoes (plus juices), canned chilies (if you are using), and also the cup of stock and the juice of 2 limes.   Add the cumin, some salt and pepper.  (You will adjust the seasoning again at the end). Bring back to a boil, then immediately turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 1 1/2- 2 hours on low heat. 
Check on the Chili Verde occasionally to make sure there is enough liquids and it doesn't become dry.  It's okay to add a cup of water if needed.

The goal is for the meat to be nice and tender, and just ready to fall apart into nice shreds of pork.  Even if you cook this too long and the pork falls apart, it is still very good.

Serve on top of white, or brown, rice.

Crock pot!?!
Yes, you can easily do this in your crock pot, just brown your pork and then add all the rest of the ingredients on top and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  I will admit to NOT browning the pork before adding to the crock pot and having it turn out fine.  Browning adds a bit more flavor to the dish though.

True Verde?
Substitute canned tomatillo's for the tomatoes, or even green salsa!  You may want to reduce the amount of extra chilies that you add, but this isn't a too spicy dish as the canned chilies are mild. You will need to adjust your salt as the salsa is already highly seasoned.

What else can I do with this?
  • This recipe is great with beef stew meat also, and I have even used a combination of pork and beef successfully.
  • Use leftovers rolled into flour tortillas and topped with melted cheese for fantastic burritos.

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