Make Ahead

A Bowl of Green

January 30, 2012
2 Ratings
Photo by Joseph DeLeo
  • Serves 10
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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.
Contest Entries

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  • MexicoCooks!

31 Reviews

Sharon H. January 31, 2016
Sounds good - I love "garlic gloves" ;-)
Annie S. November 22, 2015
I loved this recipe! I lived in New Mexico for a few years and developed a green chile addiction. A friend sends us 5# of Hatch chile every year. I just made a pot and froze it to send to my 22 y o grandson. He will be thrilled.
Heather February 25, 2015
Absolutely love this! I love the multi-chili-ness. Hits comfort and complexity notes just right. I veined all peppers per recipe, worrying it might to too hot for hubby who doesn't love hot as much as I was perfect for him. I added picked jalapeños and....ahhhh! just right. I did roast tomatillos and poblano for fun...not sure I would again....just added a time-consuming step. Thank you for the recipe; definitely worth the effort. Perfect wintery comfort.
Wulffmom September 1, 2012
This recipe was delicious! We used the poblanos, jalapenos and serrano peppers, but roasted them under the broiler and served it with crushed tortilla chips on top. The chili was outstanding, I'll have to make it again boiling the tomatillos, but I couldn't resist the broiler! Thanks for the recipe!
tuscanfoodie September 2, 2012
Thanks Wulffmom, I am happy you enjoyed it!
LeBec F. August 31, 2012
mexicocooks and tuscan, your recipes are oh so different, but for my particular taste, i love the cumin , masa harina and varied chiles elements in tuscan's recipe.

but what i do not understand, in both your recipes, is why you boil your tomatillos and do not char them first- for that great added flavor? and char the chiles too.
tuscanfoodie August 31, 2012
For me it is just a question of flavors and acidity. If I char the tomatillos, I will detect that burnt flavor that I personally do not like. But that's just me.
MexicoCooks! August 31, 2012
This recipe bears very little resemblance to actual Mexican *carne de cerdo en salsa verde* (pork in green salsa) that is made everywhere in Mexico. New Mexico chiles? Poblano chiles? Not here in Mexico, where I have lived, cooked, and eaten for more than 30 years. For another, simpler, and more traditional version, see here:
My only tweak in the recipe is flouring and browning the pork. IMHO that step gives the final product a deeper flavor.
tuscanfoodie August 31, 2012
This recipe was never intended to be the Mexican "carne de cerdo en salsa verde". So saying that yours is a "more traditional version" os something that my recipe was never intended to be is quite odd. US Southwestern cuisine in general - and New Mexican cuisine in particular - are different from Mexican cuisine. This recipe was intended as a traditional New Mexican dish, not as a Mexican dish.

Just for the records.

Uncle J. January 6, 2013
Sounds yummy, but if you want traditional New Mexican, try omitting the cumin. We feel that it muddies the taste of the chiles. This version would be more Texan.
K D. May 16, 2012
I'm in the middle of preparing this dish and you mention a "bunch of cilantro." What do I do with the cilantro and when? Thanks. Looking forward to this dish. Yum.
HRH April 8, 2012
What a delicious recipe! I love Carnitas, and tomatillos so this is a win-win. Thanks for sharing, I will be making this for dinner!
tuscanfoodie April 8, 2012
Let me know how it turns out for you!
HRH April 20, 2012
Hey, foodie~
Thanks again for the recipe, it was delicious. We had it a couple different ways- first night in corn tortillas with shredded cabbage... then over rice, and served with black beans. My husband and I both enjoyed it immensely.
tuscanfoodie April 21, 2012
Glad to hear you liked it!
redbart February 23, 2012
When does the cilantro go in?
tuscanfoodie February 23, 2012
They are to be added to the cooked tomatillos in the blender. I would edit the recipe, if the website allowed me...
smokin February 19, 2012
Hi tuscanfoodie,

Ha Ha, at first I read your moniker as "tusc'o'nfoodie". Sooo, living in Tucson, Az., I thought I would check out your recipe. My error continued while reading the ingredience (although, did question the thought about New Mexico green chilis not being available, since they are a staple in man many Tucson kitchens). Everything in this chili shouts "Southwestern", and looks like it would be "muy sabroso".

In early March, the hospital I work in is having a chili cook-off as part of the festivities at our annual picnic, and I may enter this. Who knows--but I truly think--it will be a winner again!!!!!!!

Many thanks for sharing........
tuscanfoodie February 20, 2012
Hi Smokin, nope, not living in Tuscon. Just a guy from Tuscany living in Chicago. I love Southwestern food, and since I moved to the States I have been toying a lot with hot chiles in many recipes. I must admit that this is probably the one that came out the best.

Good luck with your chili cook off: let me know if you enter this and what the results are!
tuscanfoodie February 17, 2012
EDIT: In the list of ingredients, the serrano peppers to use are 2 (or 4, if NM chiles are not available). I tried to change it, but since the new version of food52 came along, I can NEVER change any of my recipes once I have inserted them. Apologies.
Kristy M. February 17, 2012
Hi tuscanfoodie,

You definitely should be able to edit your recipe. Just click the "Edit Recipe" button and make the changes on the form that comes up. If you can't do it, email us at [email protected]
LeBec F. February 17, 2012
foodie, i forwarded this page to [email protected] and asked them to edit the recipe per your comment. you might want to do same!
p.s. duh. tromatilllos right there! yay, perfect!(goooooooo Acid!!)
LeBec F. February 17, 2012
pps. i read anoher comment somewhere that said that if a recipe was in the 'lab' phase for recipe selection, it couldn't be changed while in that stage.
tuscanfoodie February 17, 2012
Hi Kristi - I have been having this problem since day 1 of your new site. I also contacted the webmaster, and every time he has been kind enough to make the edits for me. But I still cannot edit directly any of my recipes. The Edit button is non-functioning in my case, as if it was permanently deactivated.
tuscanfoodie February 17, 2012
Thanks Le Bec fin!
LeBec F. February 17, 2012
hi there; i'm new to 52 so am so glad to see this super recipe. my chili entries were both smoked (ha! i just realized that i meant that to describe that they involved the moking proces but now i also realize i made a pun because they were not chosen, hence, 'smoked'!! anyway, one of my citrus was a CP so i now you must be thrilled.

i think it's so smart that you gave 2 sets of ingredient info based on chile availability. (I'm in boston, for instance.) Just curious- did you consciously decide not to include tomatillos? and if so, why?thanks! i love learning how a chef goes about creating a dish, with all the relevant decisions.
tuscanfoodie February 17, 2012
Hi Le bec fin, thanks for commenting. I did include fresh tomatillos: one pound. They add acidity, and serve as the basis for your sauce. Plus they provide the fundamental green color...(see point 1).

I live in Chicago, and finding New Mexican chiles is not always easy. So I made this often with the other chiles I mentioned, and althought the flavor is different, it is still good! Let me know if you try it!
dymnyno February 16, 2012
This sound absolutely fabulous...a lot like green chile stew. I will be making this soon!!
tuscanfoodie February 17, 2012
Let me know how it works out for you!
fiveandspice January 31, 2012
Mmmm, pork chili. This sounds very tasty.
tuscanfoodie January 31, 2012
Believe me, it is! Let me know how it works out for you if you try it!