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Chile Verde -- Submitted for Your Approval

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
To make a long story short, I found an interesting recipe for pork chile verde (chile verde de cerdo) on the Spanish language section of the National Pork Board. Last night my wife and I cooked it together. She likes to follow recipes pretty closely, but doesn't speak Spanish so was at the mercy of any changes I chose to make. Promise not to tell her. Anyway, we were delighted. She said, you've got to share this with the people at ChefTalk.

I translated the original recipe, and included the running changes we made, changed a few ingredients for those similar but more widely available. I also significantly expanded the instructions to make it more accessible for American cooks. This recipe is lighter than most, and really features the flavors of mild chiles with the other components singing harmony in the background.

Give it a try, and tell me what you think. The recipe is a work in progress and subject to change. And for heaven's sake, if you have questions -- ask.

(Six large servings)

2-1/2 to 3 pounds pork, cut into 1 inch cubes, well trimmed with all fat and any pieces of bone removed -- may be country spareribs or taken from the shoulder, butt, etc., but loin is too lean.
1 tbs salt
1 tbs black pepper
6 tbs flour
6 tbs vegetable oil or lard (preferred)
2 onions, cut in medium dice
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds tomatillos, husks, stems and cores removed, and cut in quarters
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs dried (Mexican) oregano
1 (Mexican) cinnamon stick
1 12 oz can beer
2 cups chicken stock (or 1 14-1/2 oz can)
3 Anaheim chiles, seeded, de-veined and cut into 1/2" squares
3 chiles poblanos, seeded, de-veined and cut into 1/2" squares
1/2 a yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded, deveined and cut into 1/2" squares
1or 2 jalapenos, seeded, de-veined and minced
1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tsp orange peel, or 1/2 cup orange juice, plus 1 tbs lemon juice
salt to taste
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1- 2 tsp Maggi seasoning sauce (optional, but very Mexican and Asian -- go figure)

Measure the flour, salt, and pepper in a bag. Flour the pork in two batches, as follows: Put half the pork in the bag with the flour, shake until coated. Set aside, and repeat until all the pork is coated. Set the pork on a plate or rack for a minute to shed any excess flour. Meanwhile, preheat your braising pan over medium-high heat. Add four tablespoons of oil or lard and bring it to cooking temperature (the air above the oil will appear to shimmer). Add half the pork to the pan, so as not to crowd it and brown it well on all sides. When browned, remove and reserve. Repeat with the remainder and reserve.

Check the oil level in the pan. If necessary, add more. Add the onions and cook them until translucent (they may appear brown as a result of the flour stuck to the bottom of the pan) – about 3 minutes. When the onions are translucent, add the garlic and stir. Add about a third of the beer, and deglaze the pan by scraping off anything which may have stuck to the bottom of the pan -- into the beer.

Add the tomatillos, the cumin, the oregano, the pork, the rest of the beer and the stock, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and allow to cook for 2 hours. After two hours the tomatillos should be nearly melted, and the pork should not yet have started to become tender.

Taste the sauce, and adjust for salt, leaving slightly under salted. Grind 1 tsp of black pepper into the pot. Add all the chiles and peppers. Cook for forty-five minutes at a slow simmer, covered. The pork will still be firm to the fork, but tender to the bite. The chiles will still be too crisp.

Add the orange peel or fruit juices. Add the cilantro. Add the Maggi, if using. Taste and adjust for salt. Simmer gently with the lid partly open (or off) for another 20 minutes. The chile verde is done when the pork and chiles are tender. Remove the cinnamon stick before plating.

General Note on Braising Meats: You want the meat tender but not stringy. For pieces this size, at simmer temperatures, that's about a half hour window. If the meat is fork and bite tender too soon, you'll have to remove it, finish the sauce, and return the meat to the pot a few minutes before serving. Don't think of this as a mistake. Checking as you go is just good technique.

Serve with Mexican rice; fresh tortillas; refried beans; a light lettuce, tomato and avocado salad; and beer.


PS. Please do not re-post or in any other disseminate this recipe without giving credit to me, Boar D. Laze. If you do, also please mention my eventually forthcoming book, (tentatively) titled, COOK FOOD GOOD: American Cooking and Technique for Beginners and Intermediates. Thanks. BDL

PPS. While the origin story is true, the recipe has undergone enough changes that I fell it's fair to say it's my own. If you like, you can compare yourself. BDL
post #2 of 23
I'm always looking out for a good chile verde recipe. This one looks good, and I've saved it for future use. However, it would be great to have the original recipe as well. Ingredients that may be hard to come by elsewhere, may noyt be too difficult to find here in the Ghetto area.

Thanks for posting.

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Forget pork shoulder and butt as an option, but think of head of spine. Replace the bell pepper with a (sweeter) yellow merrone. Use orange peel instead of orange juice and lemon juice. Use all poblano chiles instead of mixing anaheims and poblanos. Don't use jalapenos (sometimes Mexicans prefer mild-hot chiles like jalapenos or medium-hot like serranos along side a mild dish for heat). We wanted them, like the Anaheims, for a blended chiles taste. Use canned chicken soup (yum).

We didn't use cumin, because it doesn't agree with my wife. The recipe looks odd because it doesn't call for blistering and peeling the chiles -- I suspect it may have been unintentionally omitted or understood because it's always done. However, we didn't peel and were very happy. We feel that not peeling contributed to the fresh chile taste. I didn't mention that I took all meat completely off the bone before cooking, but I did. The optional Maggi was "my" addition, but trust me, Mexican home cooks use Maggi in everything -- if not on the stove, then on the table. Mexican Maggi is slightly different from Chinese Maggi but the differences aren't large enough to make stocking both in your pantry worthwhile, IMO. I slightly prefer the Chinese, probably for the slight tang of lead.

We ate leftovers last night and both agree this is the best chile verde we ever had. I'm thinking about adapting the recipe to push it in a more haute direction from the original regional-bourgeois by cooking the sauce separately and using it for grilled tenderloin or perhaps for finishing chicken. I dunno though. Some things are best left unscrewed with. What a concept.

If you want a link to the original recipe: El Cerdo Es Bueno - Recetas.

post #4 of 23
I always roast and peel my chiles as I hate those free-floating bits of chile skin.

And bacon fat or lard is the only way to go. Makes a significant change in the taste.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #5 of 23
I'd go a step further and recommend leaf lard, especially from organically raised pigs. Praise the lard

post #6 of 23
Wow that recipe looks great! Yum!

I'm growing some tomatillos in my garden this year and hope to have a bumper crop to freeze for future chile and salsa verde.
I love the combinations of fruit and chile flavors with meats.
Thanks Boar

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!


Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
The skin won't come off the chiles. The net effect is to give the pieces a litle bit of bite, and add a slightly grassy, pleasant "herbaceousness."

The original recipe called for vegetable oil. There's a lot of powerful flavors in this dish, and not much oil or fat. The difference the choice of lard or any light vegetable oil would make is probably very slight. As a lard fan, what's nice about lard is the clean absence of taste. Nearly all oils bring something to the party, but as long as you stick with something neutral they don't bring enough to stand out at this fiesta. Bacon fat, on the other hand ... I would have thought bacon fat -- at least from smoked bacon -- would harm more than it would help. But last night I added some smoke in the form of a chipotle hot sauce (El Yucateco), and it was good. Allow me to rhapsodize on El Yucateco Chipotle: The new favorite. Better than Bufalo, better than Tabasco Chipotle. Can't wait to try it on pizza. If you haven't tried chipotle hot sauce on pizza, you haven't lived.

As to Shel's leaf lard -- no. Not for this. Not if you can get good, clean lard. The best, but not all "leaf lard" is fat taken from specific parts of the animal. It's the fat likely to carry the least amount of flavor and is almost always sold as a DIY rendering project and only from high-zoot butchers. In other words, the user must render and filter. Compared to a good commercial brand like Farmer John (available in California), the taste benefits are slight; not worth the work or the money -- unless you're charging beaucoup bucks for the "best, regardless" and excess is a perceived virtue. Fall of American civilization, I tell ya.

Alice Waters like ingredient worship is a good thing -- changed the way we look at and cook food -- but can be carried too far. Given the cheap availability of Farmer John everywhere Spanish is spoken (in SoCal anyway), I'm not sure what I'd use leaf lard for. I certainly use FJ for biscuits, crusts, and pan frying. Shel, why leaf lard? What do you use it for? How much extra trouble is it for you to get it? How much does cost? Do you render and store your own? How much at a time? In what ways do you think it's superior? Compared to what?

post #8 of 23
I have a couple of sources for leaf lard - here's one: Boulette's Larder It's already rendered for me and sold in containers that are easy to store. The lard is from humanely-raised hogs, which coincides with my personal philosophy about eating organic and humanely raised products. I don't recall the cost, but it's certainly within my budget. I feel uncomfortable (literally) eating meat and poultry that is raised in more typical commercial production-type environments and fed who-knows-what. I don't use lard very much or very often except when making some meat dishes. I don't bake, so it's not an issue in that regard. A container from Boulette's will last a while.

I recall using lard some years ago and, according to my taste memory, the leaf lard that I get tastes "fresher" and "cleaner."

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 

I can't argue with your ethical concerns. In fact, I applaud them. When it comes to taste though -- you certainly won't notice the difference between good lard and leaf lard in this application.

However, please note that every time I talk about the distinction with you I always specify good lard. There are certainly many commercially produced lards which aren't very good and carry some taste with them. (With lard, the less taste the better.) I do like Farmer John lard quite a bit, as well as the un-labled lard sold by a couple of nearby carnecierias. I'm not sure where FJ buys their pigs. I know their slaughter operation is pretty good, as those things go. The carnecerias I favor (El Rancho -- Monrovia, Los Toros -- El Monte, Gonzalez -- El Monte) get their pork and lard from pigs sold and slaughtered by (fairly) local co-ops -- not from huge, pork factory-farm operations. Not exactly free range, but not the end of the world as we know it either. I can get good leaf lard from the Prime butcher shops around here, but it costs a mint. Even if I knew where to find organic pork, I probably couldn't afford it.

I buy all of my birds from fresh, local slaughter. I'm not sure how the birds are raised, but they're in pens or large cages immediately before slaughter. Are they "organic?" I don't know. These are Hispanic and Asian outfits. The Chiu-Chow Chinese just pretend not to understand. The Mexicans laugh at the question, but don't worry. I told them you told me to ask and they laughed at YOU. "Ay Shel, que payaso! Que loco!" :crazy:

post #10 of 23
While organic is good, there are varying degrees of organic. I'd feel more comfortable eating the meat or birds from small providers that feed good quality grain and food to their animals, and treat them well, than eating some of the factory-farmed commercial organic products that are on the market. A couple of the Halal butchers here fit into that catagory - no organic birds or goats, but well raised, humanely treated and slaughtered, and Good Eats.

post #11 of 23
Sounds like a great recipe - I wouldn't hesitate to use lard -sometimes it the only way to go.

Only problem/challenge for me here - no tomatillos :( Could you suggest an alternative? Same with Maggi Seasoning sauce - any suggestions on that one. (Yes we live in a culinary backwater!!!)

Thank you.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
A tomatillo is a green, tomato like thing. It's very acid, almost citrus. It purees and breaks down differently than regular tomato, keeping more integrity. They're grown commercially in Australia, mostly for export. They're not used too much in your everyday cooking. You may have seen them as "Mexican Husk Tomatoes," in Spanish they're also called "tomato de culebra." I can't think of an alternative other than regular tomatoes -- which are very much not the same thing. You'll end up with a decent "ranchero," but not a chile verde de cerdo.

You've got to have Maggi. It's a Nestle's product, a staple with a bunch of Asian ethinc groups (for which you have no lack), and distributed world wide. Look again. If you don't, just forget it. It's nice but inessential. If and when you do find it, you'll realize what your attempts at Asian food lacked.

post #13 of 23

Chile Verde Para Mi Gato

I made a version of your posted recipe and enjoyed it quite a bit. Surprisingly, my cat, Buddy, enjoyed it as well. He just finished off a small bowl of the stuff - licked it clean - and is sitting on the desk grooming himself. Buddy never ceases to surprise me.

post #14 of 23
Hi, BDL ...

I made your recipe again recently, and it came out pretty well. I did make a few changes, which were:

More black pepper, using long peppers and Tellicherry mix;
I used lard;
Used Greek oregano (what was on hand)
Used a non-Mexican cinnamon <bad boy!);
Stock was about 50/50 pork and chicken;
Used dark Negro Modelo bear - migh use a somewhat lighter beer next time;
Instead of just Bell peppers I used Bell and Gypsy peppers;
Used both jalapeno and serrano chiles, seeded and deveined;
No Maggi ...

This was pretty durned good! Thanks for posting ...

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 

Glad you like it, glad you tweaked it. Thanks for trying it, and thanks for the feedback.

post #16 of 23
After posting my message I realized that I made the recipe before. This time it was a little more to my liking ... this morning I met the woman who makes the pork chile verde for one of the poultry stores I frequent, we talked a bit, and she gave me a taste of her latest batch. Great stuff! I forgot to ask her for the recipe - <sigh> but I did take a container home with me, some of which I enjoyed for "brunch."

Between your recipe and modifications and hererecipe, I could be in Chile Verde heaven forever. It's nice to have more than one basic recipe to work with. Hers, while not hot, definitely had a bite to it. My tongue is still tingling a little after about an hour.

post #17 of 23

Great recipe BDL. Made it last night, had to change a few things though. Left out the orange, and had to use some different varieties of chiles, but it still came out great. One thing though is that the pork was done after around 1:45 hours. I was surprised, but like you said it's good to constantly check and so I pulled the pork and finished the sauce.



post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 

Not at all.  Thank you.



post #19 of 23


@ Boar D´ Laze,


Very appealing recipe ... Which beer do you suggest ? A Mexican blonde Corona or Black Negra Molido ( easily accessible for purchase in Madrid ) ?  I would believe a Spanish blonde Mahou would not be appropriate. However, I trust your judgement, so please let me know. I am going to try this when I return from Malta next week. One more point after reading all the comments, a black beer could be too heavy ... Another item is the vegetable oil which I do not employ so, would you suggest " Avocado Oil " ?  I believe this could work well with this dish.  I had tasted some Chilean Avocado Oils last year at the Salon Gourmet 2010 held in the Ifema Convention Centre here in Madrid, and it is lovely ...


Muchísimas Gracías y Feliz Año 2012,




post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 

As long as we're not getting into beer with real strong presence, it probably doesn't matter a lot.  If we're going to split hairs, Corona would probably be better for this purpose than Negra Modelo.  Negra Modelo might have a little too much of its own character -- something Corona certainly doesn't have.  If you could get Modelo Especial, that -- or just about any pilsner -- would be better than Corona or just about any lager; lagers tend towards the blah.  Dos Equis, which you can probably fine in Spain, would be good as well.


When it comes to Mexican beers, Victoria is my first choice for cooking as well as drinking.  But Victoria isn't as common here in SoCal where we see either the big Mexcian nationals like Carta Blanca and Bohemia, or the "Baja beers." Of those I like Tecate and Pacifico.  A lot. 


I know it's incredibly popular but think Corona is insipid.  Even Carta Blanca is better.





Edited by boar_d_laze - 1/2/12 at 7:51am
post #21 of 23

@ Boar d´ Laze,


Firstly, thanks for the Beer Advice ... I shall go to the specialty Mexican Shop ( Rita Sánchez - Taquería Alamillo which is her restaurant as well ) and see if they have the Mexican Beers ( not Corona ) that u have suggested. Pilsner is easy to find at the El Corte Ingles Supermarket in Preciados - Puerta de Sol.


Thanks, and hope that you have had a great start into the New Year,

Off to Valletta, Malta for a few days ...



post #22 of 23

I have been looking for this receipe for a long time! thanks for sharing!!

post #23 of 23
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post


I know it's incredibly popular but think Corona is insipid. 

Advertising pays dividends. I've never heard any one say anything good about Corona.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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