Friday, September 6, 2013

Pork Green Chili

by Ann
The finished product garnished with grated cheese and chopped cilantro.
We do whatever we can to get out of the heat in the summer in the Phoenix area. A quick solution to that problem is to drive about three hours to the mountainous pines of Flagstaff, which is what my husband and I did a couple of months ago with another couple for three days.  While there we ate at MartAnne's cafe, and I ordered the best pork green chili I could remember ever tasting in my life served over eggs and tortillas as huevos rancheros. The hubby had another iteration of the green chili as a key component of their popular posole soup (of which I am not a fan since I don't like hominy, another key component).

Unfortunately I didn't think to take a picture of the dish, but I can guarantee you I'd been thinking OF the chili for the rest of the hot summer, until I decided to make it last week. As has become my routine, I looked up several recipes on the Internet and grabbed ingredients from each that I thought would work.  Can I say that mine was as good as MartAnne's?  Unfortunately, no, but it was close, and next time it will be even closer.

Here's what I used:

pork shoulder roast* - you need at least two pounds of edible chunks of pork to make this worthwhile
4-6 T oil or bacon fat
1 large chopped onion
1 whole head of garlic
6 T flour
2 c diced green chilies (details below)
1 pound tomatillos
4 c chicken broth, stock, or water
2 T cumin
2 T chile powder
salt to taste

Here's what I did:

Prep the meat.
Being a bit handicapped due to my second bunion procedure, I sent the hubby to the store for a bone-in pork roast for two reasons; "half off pork sale" at the store that week, and that my misguided vision thought that if I crock-potted the roast prior to making the chili the bone would impart extra richness in flavor.  Bad idea.  Or maybe the complication came with the male perspective of "bigger is better" because the 8.5 pound roast did not even fit into the crock pot.  So, I monkeyed around with it until I could get the meat cut into bit sized chunks, which would have been a heck of a lot easier if I'd started with a boneless pork loin!
*  The quantities of ingredients other than the pork would work with 2-4 pounds of meat depending upon how spicy you like your food, and how hot the chilies are.  This is a recipe that you add liquid and spice as needed and to taste.
Ooops... Lid won't fit...
Regardless of how you get there, the pork needs to be cut into about 1" cubes and browned in fat or oil.

This was a portion of what I got off of the roast in several stages, but gives the idea about the chunk-size.
Prepare the tomatillos.  
In spite of the fact that I have lived in Arizona since I was a small child, and love to cook I had never cooked with tomatillos before!  They have a papery husk that needs to be removed, and when that's done they have a funky sticky texture, but you'll cook that out of them.  
Tomatillos are interesting - if you try them raw they have a very tart, bitter bite, but cooking them mellows the flavor out tremendously.
Remove husks, rinse, slice in half, and place on foil-lined baking sheet to broil.  Broil for 5-8 minutes until outsides become a bit blistery.  Turn over and broil for another 5 or so minutes.  Tomatillos will cook down quite a bit, so what starts as a tray full ends up being a third of a tray.  Pick any black scorched skins off and toss.  Place in a large bowl.  (In my case, I put them in the crock pot once the meat was removed.)
Broil each side.  Some of the skin will char -- remove the black stuff -- once cooled that's a snap.
Prepare your chilies.  
In the southwest we have lots of options that might not be as readily available in other parts of the country. For the produce-seeking grocery trip I had the hubby cart me around since I still couldn't drive, so we went a few places looking for New Mexican Hatch green chilies, to no avail.  You could use canned, but if prepared are your only option, better yet look in the freezer section for frozen.  I have been very happy with the Bueno brand of chopped, frozen green chilies.  I bought Anaheim chilies at the first store, but then we went to a Hispanic market and bought some that had already been roasted, which is a huge time saver.
If you're using fresh chilies, broil them just like the tomatillos.  Then place them in a sealed bag to loosen the skins.  Toss skins, stems, and seeds.  Dice the  remaining flesh of the peppers into about 1/2 inch pieces. 
Prepare your roux.
Add chopped onions and garlic to 4-6 T oil or bacon fat.  If you have any residual fat from the meat prep, use it.  Saute the onion and garlic until translucent; add the flour, and cook until golden brown.  Add the stock or water and cook until thickened.  Stock adds another layer of flavor, so is preferable, but not necessary. 

Cook the onion (and garlic which hasn't been added quite yet) in oil or bacon fat until translucent.
Add flour and cook until the fat is fully absorbed and the flour turns a nice golden brown color.
Create your sauce.
Add about 2/3 of the chilies you plan to use to your bowl with cooked tomatillos (mine included a couple of cups of stock).  With an immersion blender (or you could do this in a regular blender) liquefy the tomatillo/green chilies/broth and spices to have a creamy sauce that isn't too chunky. You will add the remaining chopped green chilies in tact to add a few chunks.

Spices were blended with an immersion blender to the 2/3 of the green chilies, tomatillos, and remaining liquid that I had unsuccessfully tried to cook the too-big roast in the crock-pot in.
Put it all together to simmer until tender.
Put all above mentioned "parts" in a Dutch oven or crock pot.  Add diced tomatoes and remaining diced chilies that were not blended. Cook until meat is very tender (half a day in the crock pot or a couple of hours on the stove).  Serve garnished with cilantro, grated cheese, and whatever else sounds good (sour cream?).

On a farewell for now note:

As you have most likely gathered from my dear friends' past two posts, this is the last regular post that will appear on Friendship, Life, and Style.  For many reasons we've decided to take a break.  It saddens me in lots of ways, but is a bit of a relief as well.  As a former teacher I sometimes compared writing my posts to papers that needed to be graded...  I knew it had to be done, but there was often more pressing (or fun) things to do instead.  The papers were part of a job -- this whole adventure was designed to be fun, which it certainly has been, yet could also feel like one more thing to do.  

Thank you for reading our ramblings.  This is our 202nd post. Had it not been for the blogging adventure I would have never:
  • Truly understood what blogging was all about, nor looked to fellow bloggers for recipes, ideas, and inspiration.
  • Been motivated to apply for the "Kitchen Assistant" position at Sur la Table; and therefore not had the many fun experiences with the interesting people that I work with at the store.
  • Made fresh pasta... or for that matter using tomatillos!
  • Connected in a new way to people I will never know personally, but through the virtue of blogging feel like I know.
  • Had an audience who chose to read what I had to write (as opposed to the teachers who have to read what I write!)
  • Had a grand adventure with my best buds, Sheila and Heather.
Who knows....  We may decide we miss the pressure of deadlines and resurrect the blog at some point.  But for now, I am feeling empowered to continue to post and occasional recipe if I do something fabulous since we will keep our site live if anyone wants to refer back to a previous post.   

Bon Appetite!
With love and thanks, 


  1. Always thought this was a great idea for friends to do but also understand it could be a huge commitment. Will miss reading your blogs. Thanks and enjoy your future adventures.

    1. Thanks for reading our ramblings. Who knows... maybe at some point we will be ready to resurrect the project!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, but even more importantly, thanks for reading our blog.

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  4. omg i used to make curry a lot too - that green curry is my absolute favourite! <3

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  5. Wow!!! very interesting recipe.. can I cook the same dish with chicken?

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  6. Loving your amazing recipes - this is my personal fave - we love cooking it!

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  8. Your recipie is so detailed that I can even smell the flavor of this chili :) I'll try it for sure.