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Monday, February 9, 2009

Chile Verde: better than snow.

I hear it's supposed to snow tonight. Nothing gets under my skin more than hearing news like this. The news always throws the weather report on after the worst story of the night to try to lighten things up a little - I get it but it's like, "oh! kids are being killed all over the world AND it's going to snow?!" Total insult to injury. Better make something warm tonight.

How on Earth is it possible that I have gone this long in life without ever trying to make Chili Verde? I LOVE the stuff and decided that it’s absolute crap that I haven’t perfected it yet. I feel a little like my sensibilities have been ambushed, particularly with how amazing this turned out. Before Ryan could even take a bite, I was already saying "you're welcome"'s THAT good!

I’ve become quite a fan of roasted EVERYTHING so in the spirit of that, I’ve tweaked this recipe to accommodate my satisfaction and I’m glad I did. Browning the skins of the tomatillos brought out a lot of great flavors and only added about 10 minutes to my prep time. Totally worth it.

¾ lb. tomatillos
2 or 3 garlic cloves, not peeled
1 or 2 jalapenos, seeds removed, chopped
1 Anaheim or Poblano chile (not recommended if you're Delwyn Roper)
1 bunch of cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
2 lbs. pork shoulder (also called pork butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes
Black pepper
Olive oil
1 yellow onion
1 or 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tbsp of chopped fresh oregano
About 1 cup chicken stock
Pinch of ground cloves

1. Remove papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse well. Cut in half and place cut side down, along with unpeeled garlic cloves, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin. Remove from oven, let cool enough to handle.

2. Place tomatillos (skins included) into blender. Remove roasted garlic from their skins and add to blender. Add chopped jalapeno, other chilies (if you're using them), and cilantro into the blender. Pulse until finely chopped and mixed.

3. Season the pork cubes generously with salt and pepper. heat olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat to brown pork chunks well on all sides. Once browned, life pork out of the skillet and place in a bowl, set aside.

4. Place onions and chopped garlic in the same skillet and cook, stirring occassionally until limp (about 5 minutes). Add pork, oregano, tomatillo chile verde sauce, chicken stock and ground cloves.

5. Bring to a boil and reduct to a slight simmer. Cook until pork is tender (the longer, the better!)

I served mine with tortillas and Mexican rice although this stuff is great in burritos and enchiladas too.

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