Chile Verde, Muy Delicioso!

It takes a whole day to make this pork chile verde, the best I’ve ever tasted in my life.  Plus, if you can manage it, another day to let it rest.  Or, if you’re like me, it might even take a couple of weeks.

You start by making homemade chicken broth, and although I always have a bag of roasted chicken bones in my freezer, sometimes it takes a while to accumulate enough to make a really good broth.  I’m almost convinced that the broth is the secret of this dish, so don’t skimp on the bones, don’t add any sort of vegetables or herbs, just make the richest, most chickeny broth you can.  And don’t bother skimming the fat from the broth, you’ll get a chance to do that later.

Get yourself a huge pile of tomatillos and poblanos, and the best pork butt you can find.  These days I’m hooked on the awesome pork I get from Rain Shadow Meats in Seattle, but any sort of farm-raised pork will do,

just be sure it is very well-marbled.  Cut the pork into three-bite-sized pieces, as the meat will fall apart as it gets more tender, especially if you choose to chill it over night and reheat it before serving, which I recommend if you have the time. And please, don’t trim the fat.  If fat bothers you you’ll have ample opportunity to remove it later.

When you brown the meat there’s no need to get it really dark, just an appetizing golden brown will do perfectly.  And although I’m normally not a fan of wearing gloves in the home kitchen, this is the perfect dish for gloves. You’re going to be cutting up a lot of peppers, some of which will be hot, and tomatillos are kind of sticky and icky to work with anyway, so go ahead and succumb to feeling like a wuss, don your gloves before tackling the poblanos, jalapenos, and tomatillos, and you’ll be glad you did.

It’s true that this dish is a lot of work, but the recipe serves 12-15 easily when served with a few other Mexican sides, so you can make it for a party and make all of your guests very happy.  Personally I’m planning never to make another chile verde recipe, as this one absolutely thrills me.  And since I’ve made it three times in the last few weeks, I feel pretty confident when I say that this is likely to be the best chile verde you’ve ever had as well.  But if, just if, you have a recipe that’s even better, please post it here.  It’s one instance where I’d love to be wrong, if it would mean that even more stellar chile verde would find its way onto my table.

Heavenly Pork Chile Verde*

6 pounds pork butt or shoulder
3 T canola oil
2 large yellow onions
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tsp whole cumin seed
9 cups homemade chicken broth
8 fresh poblano chile peppers, seeded and chopped
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
3 pounds fresh tomatillos, husks removed
1 bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Cut the meat into chunks about the size of three bites each.
Working in small batches, brown the meat in the oil until light golden brown. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, lightly brown the onions, seasoned with the salt and pepper, until onions are tender and golden. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two. Add the cumin and stir for another minute.
Return the pork to the pot and add the chicken stock. Simmer for 1/2 hour.
While the meat is simmering, seed and chop the poblanos and jalapenos, husk, and rinse the tomatillos.  When the half hour of simmering is up, stir in the poblanos and  jalapenos. Puree the tomatillos and cilantro in the food processor, and add the purée to the pot. Simmer an additional 11/2 hours.
You may serve the chile verde at this point, but it’s even better the next day. If you chill the stew overnight, you can scoop off the fat that rises to the top before reheating the chile verde very slowly.

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2 Comments on “Chile Verde, Muy Delicioso!”

  1. Lori Says:

    Hi Abra and Shel –
    This sounds yummy – so much so that I am going to have to go for the homemade stock, something I only do for special circumstances. Sounds perfect for a fall weekend gathering of friends. Thanks for the inspiration (again) :).

  2. forest Says:

    sounds really good…if only my damn jalapeno plant would give me some peppers!(I’m still keeping the faith….in the face of insurmountable odds!) 🙂

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