Pork chile verde just means pork with green chile peppers, which I’m sure everyone knows. But there’s one other green component that’s typically in a chile verde, and that’s tomatillos. If you’ve never worked with them before, I really think you should at least make this recipe to experience the deliciousness that is a tomatillo.
Tomatillos have papery husks, and once they’re removed, they look like green tomatoes although they’re not related to tomatoes at all.
When you buy tomatillos make sure they’re firm, not wrinkled up or rotten. They can be cooked or used raw. For me, raw tomatillo salsas are a bit on the tart side, so I use them in cooked sauces like in this chile verde.
Here’s what I did to make this hearty pork stew with green chiles and tomatillos:
Pork Chile Verde
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, quartered
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
4 pound trimmed pork butt, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery plus leaves, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 – 4 ounce cans chopped green chiles
2 bunches cilantro, rinsed, divided
3 cups broth, divided
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Sour cream, optional
Chopped cilantro, optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or 375 degrees on a roast setting.
Place the cut up tomatillos, onion, and garlic cloves on a jelly-roll pan and sprinkle with some olive oil.
Roast them for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat up some olive oil in a large dutch oven on the stove over high heat. In batches, brown the pork.
Continue with the remaining pork, adding a little more olive oil as necessary, and placing the browned pork in a large bowl; season generously with black pepper.
When you are done with the pork, turn down the heat to medium, add the onion, celery, and green onions and sauté for about 5 minutes.
Then add the green chiles, 1 bunch of chopped cilantro, and 2 cups of broth. (I’ve even used a good Mexican beer to braise the pork, and it’s good!)
Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pot, and season with oregano and cumin. Bring the mixture to a boil, then gently simmer for about 30 minutes.
Keep the pot covered with a lid if you feel there’s not enough liquid to braise the pork. Or, if you feel there’s too much liquid, leave the pot uncovered and let the liquid evaporate gently.
Place the roasted vegetables in a blender jar. Add the second bunch of cilantro, and the remaining 1 cup of broth. Blend until almost smooth.
Pour the green sauce into the pot with the meat.
Stir well, and simmer for about 1 hour.
Pork chile verde is a stew. It should be thick, not some cubes of pork floating in a green soup. If you need to reduce the liquid a bit, don’t hesitate to do so. It will not adversely affect the overall dish.
I like my chile verde with a dollop of sour cream!
I also sprinkled on a little ground pink peppercorns. You could also use some cayenne flakes.
Chopped cilantro also adds to the freshness of the chile verde; chopped green onions can also be included.
note: I usually make pork chile verde the day before I first serve it. Somehow, it’s just better that way.