Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Green Chili

You can officially consider yourself a fan of spicy food when the checkout person at the grocery store stares in marvel at the amount of peppers you are purchasing.  "I think you are buying every kind of pepper we have!  Oh wait no, habaneros."  This made me want to go back and get a habanero to show him I can take it, but orange doesn't go well with green chili.  "What are you making?" he asked in astonishment.  I proudly responded that I was making green chili, and then I went home and made him proud.

This recipe calls for 6-8 of the big poblanos, and at least 4 jalapeños and serrano chiles.  This is serious business, folks.  A nice dollop of sour cream can cool down the spice a bit, but even without it, the chili isn't overpowering if you like spice.

The recipe came from a Texan who abhors beans in chili, so this just has meat and a nice spicy sauce.  The tomatillos were a new experience for me.  Surprisingly the outer sleeve leaves a sticky residue on the outside of the fruitable (fruit-vegetable thingie).  The seeds are held in much more firmly than tomatoes, and when you cook them down for an hour, the tomatillos completely disappear into the chili.  All that's left are their tell-tale seeds.  

There is a lot of pork in the recipe, and it is important to try to cut off the big pieces of fat from this fatty cut.  I mean it is pork butt afterall.  I'm surprised there is any meat at all.  If you don't cut off the big hunks of fat you will taste them in the meat, and not in a good way.  I'm sure this recipe could also be made with chicken or beef if you are so inclined.  

Like all good chilis, this one is even better the next day.  And if there are only two of you, I promise you will have leftovers - despite your best attempts to polish off this delicious green chili.  Also, keep in mind this recipe takes 3 hours total cooking time or so - don't start it at 6PM like I did!

Green Chili

4 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes, trimmed of large pieces of fat
1 lb poblano peppers (6-8)
4-10 serrano peppers, stem removed and sliced into rounds
4-10 jalapeño peppers, stem removed and sliced into rounds
1 lb tomatillos (6-8), cut into 1/8ths
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons cumin, divided
2 tablespoons Mexican oregano, divided
2/3 cup cilantro, divided
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dark beer
1/4 cup masa harina (found in a latin market or in the international aisle)
Salt to taste
Peanut or olive oil for frying

Roast the poblanos on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven until blackened.  This will take 30 minutes or so, perhaps longer.  Make sure you wait until they are blackened or the skin will not come off.  Once blackened, place in a paper or ziplock bag for 20 minutes and then remove the skins.  Dice the peeled poblanos.

In a large soup pot cook the onions over medium heat in peanut oil or olive oil until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add in 6 minced cloves of garlic and cook for another minute.  Turn off the burner and let it sit.  

In a large pan or pot (I suggest a pot b/c of the spattering), brown your pieces of pork in peanut or olive oil.  Work in batches so the pieces brown and don't steam.  No need to fully cook the meat, just brown it.  When browned, throw the pieces into the soup pot with the onions. 

Once the pork is done, add 2 cups chicken broth and 1 cup beer to the soup pot.  Throw in the cut tomatillos, 3 tablespoons cumin, 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano, and half of your sliced jalapeños and serranos.  Heat the mixture until it boils and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour (uncovered), stirring occasionally.

After an hour add 3 more tablespoons of cumin, 1 more tablespoon of Mexican oregano, 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, and salt to taste.  Cook for another 30 minutes on low, uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Use a ladle or spoon to remove the fat/grease from the top of the chili.  Then add your chopped poblanos, the second half of your jalapeños and serranos, and 1/3 cup cilantro.  Cook for another 30-45 minutes.  

Add 1/4 cup masa harina to a small bowl.  Add some of the chili liquid and mix until a thick paste forms.  Stir into the chili and mix until there are no lumps.  Cook for another 15 minutes and serve with sour cream and tortilla chips.   


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