Friday, May 4, 2012

Chili Verde

Cinco de Mayo kinda snuck up on me this year. I mean is it already May? I am still stuck in January having a hard time writing 2012 on my checks and at this rate it is going to be Christmas again! I have a weakness for Mexican food. Living in California makes it pretty easy for me to succumb to this weakness. Mexican food is everywhere! You can find a good taco literally on every corner. So the fact that I know how to make Mexican food is a compliment from the women in my life. I pay attention when they cook and then go home and try and try again. Chili Verde is probably my all time favorite. This is a meal you make on Sundays. It takes time. I will not lie. You can short cut by letting it cook in a crock pot instead of on the stove but that is the only short cut I would make. Another alteration you could make is using chicken thighs instead of pork. I have done this and it is just as good. If you like it spicier add more jalapenos. By all means, go spicier! I like to serve it two ways, in a taco (my fave!) or over rice. If you have leftovers, you will have to fight me the next day because I want to scramble it into some eggs. It is heavenly. But that is if you have leftovers.

Chile Verde Tacos

1 pound to 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos (I just grab 12 and call it good)
5 whole garlic cloves unpeeled
2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles (you could leave them out completely)
2 jalapenos chopped (I de-seed them if you want it spicy leave the seeds)
3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork shoulder (sometimes called called "pork butt"), trimmed of excess fat and cut in to 2-inch cubes
1 bunch cilantro (remove the stems-because I am a stem snob)
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil or Canola oil
2 yellow onions
1 TB dried oregano
3 large garlic cloves finely chopped
1 carton chicken stock (you may not use it all)

Remove the paper husks from the tomatillos.

Rinse them well. They are going to be a little sticky. It's normal. Don't worry about the stickiness. Dry them off with a paper towel. Cut them on half and place them cut side down on a foiled lined cookie sheet.

Broil them for 5 minutes or until the skin is blackened. Let them sit for a couple minutes until they are cool enough to handle.
I like my Chili Verde a little more spicy. Trust me it wont be too spicy. So I take 2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles and blacken them under the broiler just as you did the tomatillos. Put them into a ziploc bag (they steam) wait five minutes and then remove the skin, stems and seeds. Give them a rough chop. You could also use a can of Ortega Chilis in place.
Place the tomatillos, Anaheim chilis, and squeeze the garlic out of the skins into the blender or food processor. Add the chopped Jalapenos and cilantro to the blender.

Pulse until mixed.

Resist the urge to grab tortilla chips!
My pork was a little bit too fatty for my family's preference so I trimmed it up. I also bought two packages of meat instead of one knowing that it was not trimmed up.


Season the pork cubes with salt and pepper. In a large pan (I use a extra large sauce pan and not a frying pan because I figure less dishes to wash) heat oil. You want enough oil to coat the pan so the pork doesn't stick. Brown the pork on all sides and transfer to a bowl that is lined with paper towels.
Do not crowd the pan. You will have to brown them in batches.

Pour off all the fat from the pan. (I had none..what's that all about?)

Add the onions and cook till translucent then add the garlic. I dont want the garlic to burn so add it last. Add the pork and the Verde sauce back into the pan.

Pour enough chicken stock in the pan to cover the meat. Don't over do it. I like my sauce to be on the thicker side and I always figure I can always add chicken stock but you cant take it away. (and I did add another cup half way through but I like it thick for tacos and thinner to put over rice)

Taste it. Does it need some salt and pepper? Don't over do the salt. The flavor will concentrate as it cooks. Bring the sauce up to a boil and reduce it to simmer. Do not cover it. I know you want to but dont. Cook for 2-3 hours until pork is fork tender.
See how it thickened up!

Traditionally this is served with Spanish rice and corn tortillas. I am making tacos out of it since it is Taco Tuesday. (Don't know how to make taco shells..see here!)

This is the most amazing the next day. In fact I think it is really the best on the second day. The Tortured Teenager likes it scrambled with eggs for breakfast. No joke! It is amazing!


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