Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Football Sunday Chile Verde

Football Sunday Chile Verde
Serves 4-6
Football Sunday Chile Verde
Its cold, rainy – perhaps snowing and it is Football Sunday! There is a crowd expected so double or triple this recipe and you will have a group of happy fans – regardless of the game outcome. One can find a bowl of green chili most anywhere in the American southwest, but New Mexico is particularly proud of its version of chili verde, with chunks of juicy pork shoulder and tart tomatillo-based sauce. This dish gets its oomph from green chilies, ideally the gorgeous ones grown around the town of Hatch.
Various peppers: Large=Anaheim, round=tomatillo, dark=pasilla, long green=serranno
Regional cuisine is a beautiful concept. It means cook what is growing in your backyard and I’ll make the most of what is growing in mine. World wide, regional dishes are celebrated for their diversity and ingenuity. We want to taste what’s growing in everyone’s backyard! New Mexico has fully embraced the concept of celebrating regional cuisine. New Mexicans are proud of their agriculture and the history behind their dishes. In a blazing arid climate, what can you grow? Chiles. So for generations, locals have chosen to honor them with great exuberance. Chiles are not just produce; they are a way of life. Locals would tell you the chili peppers you use matter a lot! The long green “New Mexican” style chilies are a state treasure. They say their dry barren soil produces the hottest and most flavorful chilies. Known commonly as HATCH chilies (grown in Hatch – population 1600 - these chilies are a source of great pride. Unfortunately finding fresh Hatch chilies outside of New Mexico is virtually impossible – the canned or frozen chilies are not a substitute. But using the Hatch Hot Sauce is a doable addition when available.
  • ¼ C canola oil
  • 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into ½” cubes
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • ½ C flour
  • 8 oz. ground breakfast sausage
  • 2 Tb ground cumin
  • 1 Tb green chili powder
  • 1 dried pasilla chile, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • ½ C chopped scallions
  • 15 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and finely chopped
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Serrano chilies, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 2 Anaheim chilies, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 Green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 C chicken stock
  • Garnish:
  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 1 15-oz can green enchilada sauce
  • For serving – Hatch Hot sauce, if in unavailable, use your favorite hot sauce
  • Roughly torn cilantro leaves 

Heat ¼ C canola oil in an 8 Qt saucepan over med-high heat. Season 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into ½” cubes with salt and pepper; toss with ½ C flour in a plastic bag to coat thoroughly. Remove from bag and shake off excess flour. Working in batches, add pork to hot pan; cook until browned all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside. Finish rest of pork.
Diced pork

....after browning 
Add 8 oz ground breakfast sausage to pan; cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with pork. Add 2 Tb cumin, 1Tb chili powder, and chopped, seeded and stemmed dried pasilla chili; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ½ scallions, tomatillos, onions, serranos, Anaheim chilies and bell pepper; cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Add reserved pork and sausage, stock and enchilada sauce; cook until pork is tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, husk and clean 2 ears of corn - place them on a grill or over a flame until charred all over, set aside when finished.

Chopped chilies and onions

Grilled corn

Cooking the chili!
Cut corn of cobs and separate kernels. Garnish with corn, torn cilantro leaves and serve with hot sauce. This freezes beautifully and can be made a day ahead. 
Garnished with hot sauce
You could certainly pair this with beer – a lager or pilsner. You could also pair with a refreshing sparkling wine – and if you want to maintain the regional connection, check your local wine shop from some of New Mexico’s most popular and well-distributed wines, the sparklers from Gruet – especially the Blanc de Noir. If looking for a red wine – you will need a big California Zinfandel – which would also pair beautifully.

By the way - if you are admiring that amazing grill surface for the corn - it is truly a gem.  I use it all the time when stove-top grilling any vegetable. In the past, I had held chilies, corn, whatever, over the gas flame but that gets tiresome to stand there and do them one by one.  I found this while visiting Santa Fe at the Santa Fe Cooking School.  Look for their cooking grill. http://santafeschoolofcooking.com/  

Next week I will feature a second Football Sunday entree - take your pick - or better yet with both college bowl games and post-season pro games - have friends over more than once!




  1. All of your recipes look so delicious! Looks like a good wintery recipe. I'll give it a try.

  2. I made this and it was delicious! Love the tangy flavor of the tomatillos.

    1. So glad it worked out so well for you. A bit of chopping for sure...but worth it in the end. You will also LOVE the Red Beans and Rice recipe published this week. Another football favorite!