A Bowl of Green

By • January 30, 2012 31 Comments

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Author Notes: This chili uses new Mexican chiles, that can be bought frozen or dry. However, it can be made also with poblanos, jalapenos and serranos: I am giving you quantities for both options. New Mexican chiles may be hard to find outside of the Southwest of the US . If you can't find them in your supermarket you can either buy them online (Amazon carries them), or you can simply make this dish using more common green chiles, like poblanos, jalapenos and serranos. The flavors will be different, but it will still be a smashing good chili dish.

This recipe is not particularly difficult, but it is time consuming: so I recommend that when you make it, you make it in large quantities, so that you can freeze the leftovers or make other dishes with it (it makes an excellent sauce for flat breads...).

This chili should not be too soupy: the texture will be that of a stew, and the pork will be tender and will have started to break down (see photo). If you want, you can add more chicken stock, so that the concoction will become more liquid.

Also: I am giving you two options to make this, with or without a slowcooker. And remember: as with any chili, this will get better the next day, and the next day, and the day after next...
tuscanfoodie

Food52 Review: We were won over by the gorgeous aroma of cumin and peppers filling the kitchen. Browning the pork in bacon fat is a nice touch. The end result is a seemingly mild chili with a good spicy kick at the end. We opted for the 2.5 hour dutch oven method rather than the long slow cooker process. The pork wasn't quite falling apart after 2.5 hours, but we didn't mind because the flavors were so good.favabean

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Serves 10

  • 3 pounds pork shoulder, cut in 1/2 inch cubes, with some fat removed
  • 3 thick slices of bacon
  • 1 pound fresh tomatillos
  • 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic gloves, finely chopped
  • 3 New Mexican green chiles, if available (dry or fresh)
  • 1 poblano peppers (3 if the NM green chiles are unavailable), stemmed, veined and seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers (4 if the NM green chiles are unavailable), stemmed veined and seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 serrano peppers (4 if the NM green chiles are unavailable), stemmed veined and seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 habanero pepper, stemmed, veined and seeded and finely chopped (optional, for heat)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup of masa harina (or simple flour, if you don't find the masa) to dust the meat
  • 1 tablespoon masa (or flour) to add to the concoction
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 lime
  • Monterey cheese for garnish
  1. Bring some water to boil, and boil the tomatillos, husked, for 20 minutes, or until they are soft and they have changed their color to brownish. Once they are cooked, put them in a blender or a food processor to pure them with 1/2 cup of water. Remove from the food processor.
  2. If you are using dry peppers, reconstitute them placing them in hot water for one or two hours, or until they are soft (don't throw that water then, because it has a lot of flavor: add it to the tomatillos in the blender).
  3. Seed and vein all the peppers (the reconstituted ones and the fresh ones) and chop them. You can either chop them with a good old knife, or you can put them in a blender or food processor. I am weird, and I like chopping with a knife: it is time consuming, but it gives me peace of mind. But your choice.
  4. Coat the pork cubes with the masa harina: I put the pork cubes in a plastic ziplock bag with 1/3 cup of masa harina (or flour) and shake the bag, so that the pork cubes gets coated. But feel free to use your preferred coating method.
  5. Cook the slices of bacon in a large pan until they are crisp. Remove them from the pan and put them on a paper towel to dry. Chop them in small pieces. DO NOT remove the bacon fat from the pan.
  6. Sear the pork in the bacon fat, until all the sides of the pork cubes are golden brown. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in 2-3 batches. If the bacon's grease is not enough, you can add more if you have it, or melt some butter. Do not overcrowd the pork in the pan.
  7. Place the pork cubes on a paper towel to dry.
  8. In the same pan where you seared the pork, add the onions, the garlic and the cumin, and cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Before you add the onions and garlic to the pan beware: you may have to melt some more bacon fat/butter.
  9. IF YOU HAVE A SLOWCOOKER: put the meat, the bacon the onions and garlic, the pureed tomatillos, the chopped peppers, the sugar in a slowcooker. Use 1/2 a cup of the chicken stock to deglaze the pan used for the pork and the onions, and then add the liquid to the slowcooker. Add the oregano. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cup of chicken stock and cook on low for 8-10 hours. One hour before the cooking is done, add 1 tbsp of masa (or flour) to the conction, stir and cook for an additional hour. Taste, and adjust for salt and pepper (if you want).
  10. WITHOUT A SLOWCOOKER: put the meat, the bacon the onions and garlic, the pureed tomatillos, the chopped peppers, the sugar in a dutch oven or a casserole with tall walls. Use 1/2 a cup of the chicken stock to deglaze the pan used for the pork and the onions, and then add the liquid to the dutch oven with the pork. Add the oregano. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cup of chicken stock, bring to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for at least 2 1/2 hours, stirring now and then. 1/2 an hour before the cooking is done, add 1 tbsp of masa (or flour) to the conction, and stir. Taste, and adjust for salt and pepper (if you want).
  11. You can serve it with fried dough or with some corn taco tortillas, over rice with some monterey cheese or even with naan bread, if you don't care so much for the New Mexican traditional spirit. A squeeze of lime over it before serving it will perfectly complement its flavors.

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