One-Pot Wonders

Pork Ribs in Chile Verde

May 15, 2021
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This is a recipe that I get so many requests for—it's one that I love and one that, for whatever bizarre reason, I haven’t written down until now.

I have been eating this dish for decades. The first time I tried it, I went to L.A. to visit my uncle. Growing up in Austin, Texas, this dish just wasn’t that common nor were tomatillos until the ’90s. And my Texas family at least just didn’t have this in our food repertoire. But, thankfully it was in the repertoire of my West Coast family.

I remember watching my uncle make it. He simmered pork neck bones with tomatillos, onion, garlic, and green chiles from his garden. I was blown away, particularly intrigued by tomatillos. When I got back to Texas, the first thing I did was introduce it to my mom and dad. They loved it too. Thank you, Uncle Eddie, for inspiring this dish.

In my version, I use ribs because I love the meaty flavor of pork ribs and the bones make the most incredible broth. Make friends with your butcher and ask them to cut them in bite-size pieces. Or you can use neck bones or bone-in pork shoulder, also cut into small pieces. Whatever you use, I highly recommend using some type of pork bone in this dish for the richness and flavor.

And of course, you need a good pot of beans to go with it. Here is my recipe for frijoles de la olla. I never soak beans because they are very absorbent and when you soak them in water—guess what?—they taste like water. And you only shave off about an hour of cook time so I would rather have a better tasting bean cooked in a flavorful broth even if it takes an extra hour. I mean, it’s not like I was doing anything to the beans, they were just sitting on the stove doing their thing without me. —Rick Martinez

What You'll Need
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Pork Ribs in Chile Verde
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons rendered lard or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 1/2 pounds (2kg) pork spareribs, baby back ribs, neck bones, or shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 5 teaspoons (20g) Diamond Crystal or 1 tablespoon Morton kosher salt
  • 6 chile poblanos, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • 4 large jalapeños, stemmed and seeded if desired
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 scallions, root ends trimmed, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
  • Warm tortillas and frijoles de olla, for serving
  1. In a spice grinder, grind bay leaves, cumin, coriander, oregano, and peppercorn until very finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a large heavy pot over medium-high, heat lard until very hot. Working in batches, add ribs and cook, turning once, until browned on at least 2 sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. To the same pot, add the onion and salt and cook until the onions are browned and tender, 8 to 10 minutes; stir occasionally and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan,. Add reserved spice blend and cook until very fragrant, stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Add poblanos, tomatillos, jalapeños, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until tender and just beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ribs and 2 cups water to the pot and bring to a boil; then cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until ribs are very tender and falling off the bones, 2 to 2 ½ hours.
  4. Let sit, covered, for 15 minutes, then stir in scallion and cilantro. Serve with warm tortillas and frijoles de olla.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Leslie
  • Chau Kelly
    Chau Kelly
  • Jennifer Jane
    Jennifer Jane
  • estydee
Rick Martinez

Recipe by: Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is currently living his dream—cooking, eating and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast in Mazatlán. He is finishing his first cookbook, Under the Papaya Tree, food from the seven regions of Mexico and loved traveling the country so much, he decided to buy a house on the beach. He is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, New York Times and hosts live, weekly cooking classes for Food Network Kitchens. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for “How to win the Cookie Swap” in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue.

4 Reviews

Jennifer J. January 10, 2022
I made this for the second time this weekend using country style ribs and frozen, roasted tomatillos from my garden haul. I didn’t use jalapeños because the poblanos were packing enough heat. I added cooked hominy for the last half hour of cooking which made it a truly one pot meal. So good on a cold night!
Leslie July 8, 2021
So. Darn. Good. The chili verde was rich with flavor and texture, and the pork was soft and tender. This recipe is a total keeper! Followed the recipe closely, and it really delivered. The only change I made was instead of simmering on the stovetop I put the chili in the oven at 300C for approximately three hours, stirring occasionally.
estydee March 16, 2021
love love love this recipe. subbed bacon fat for lard because I already had it. used homemade chicken stock instead of water and added some green bell to the other peppers - both needed to get out of my fridge.

i may have been a little heavy handed with the liquid, so i gave it some time with the lid off. might trying using a little masa to thicken it a little.

think it will be even better as we eat it all week!
Chau K. March 8, 2021
Made this for last night's dinner, along with Martinez's frijoles de olla, which were also magical. I used items I already had on hand, so that meant a small lean pork tenderloin and substituted canned Marzano tomatoes because I wasn't keen on a special trip to the store just to get tomatillos and jalapeños. I added some New Mexico dried chilis (I always keep four or five different dried chili types around) in the place of jalapeños, I had everything else. For a vegan version, I can see this being good with tofu chunks or perhaps less broth with just the beans and some rice on the side. It was delicious with the tomato base, though I'm also rather fond of tomatillos. I used the instantpot to cook the beans.