Chiles and Tomatillos in the Market: Time for Chile Verde

A couple of weeks ago I looked out the window and, though it was a hot day, I noticed that the light had the look of fall. It happens so suddenly—that subtle change in the quality and angle of the light, but it’s unmistakable.

So then I started to think about warming stews and soups, which led me to thinking about what’s in the market, which led me to chiles, then tomatillos, and finally, pork.  It was clearly time for Chile Verde. It’s one of my favorite dishes on the planet and one we used to make all the time at The Jimtown Store. In fact, I still use the recipe from The Jimtown Store Cookbook.

It’s rich and porky, tender and savory, warming and deeply flavorful and just spicy enough to heat your belly. It’s true comfort food. I like to serve it with Lupe’s Red Rice (from the Jimtown book) and some simply cooked beans and homemade tortillas. There are several steps involved in the making but none are hard and the actual cooking is effortless. It can be done in a low oven, on the stove in a heavy pot, or in the crockpot. Plus the leftovers get better every day and are so easily reheated for a quick lunch.

Speaking of Jimtown—I’ll be there this Sunday, the 19, from 2-4 with bites from DIY Delicious and I’ll be signing books and answering questions. Would love to see you there.

Here’s the method, if not the actual recipe:

Start by charring about a dozen poblano peppers right on the top of your gas stove. (if your stove is electric you may do it in a hot oven but they won’t get quite as charred)

Place them in a bowl and cover with a towel to let them steam

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil about a pound of husked tomatillos for 15 minutes until they turn a dull green. Cool.

Cut up about 3 pounds of boneless pork shoulder (this one from my new friendly neighborhood butcher shop run by Marin Sun Farms)  into stew-like pieces, removing some, but not all of the fat.

Puree the tomatillos in a food processor with salt, pepper, garlic, half an onion, a handful of cilantro, and 2 or 3 Serrano chiles, depending on heat desired

Peel the poblanos, seed, destem and dice.

In a heavy pot, sauté one diced onion and two or three cloves of garlic in olive oil or lard. Add the pork, the pureed tomatillos, the diced poblanos, salt, pepper, about 3 cups of chicken or pork broth, and some freshly toasted and ground cumin. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until tender 1-1/2 hours on the stove, 2-2 ½ hours in the oven, or 6-8 hours in a crockpot. (in which case you just sauté the onions and garlic and then dump them, along with everything else into the crock-pot)

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