Filled with rich, zesty flavor and tender chunks of slow-simmered, smoky pork, my chili verde recipe rivals that of your favorite south-of-the-border eatery's version. Prepared with a homemade salsa verde made from charred tomatillos and Anaheim peppers, then seasoned with a generous dusting of spices, this chili verde with pork is a true cozy favorite!
A Zesty South-Of-The-Border Classic Made with Love
For as long as I've known him, my sweet hubby has been a huge fan of chili verde, enjoying it any chance he gets when his little eyes spy it on the menu of one of our local south-of-the-border eateries.
He'll enjoy it simply with tortilla chips, with rice and beans, or even generously spooned over top of a big ol' burrito (probably his favorite way), providing lots of spicy, rich and slightly zippy flavor to enjoy.
And while chili verde has always sounded enticing and quite delicious, for some reason, I just never really got around to trying it for myself, probably because I've got my own favorite dishes that I tend to stick to.
But recently, when I got a hankering for something spicy, rich and meaty, even a bit zippy and bright, something with lots of smoky spices and that wonderful "charred" flavor, I thought it'd be a terrific opportunity to try my own hand at this beloved dish to experience for myself what all the raving is about!
My chili verde recipe is prepared with a homemade salsa verde, brimming with oven-charred tomatillos and Anaheim peppers, plus tender chunks of slow-simmered pork shoulder liberally seasoned with spices.
It's officially a new favorite south-of-the-border meal of mine, and I was very eager to share it here with you to enjoy as well.
Perfectly comforting when served with some fresh rice, pinto beans and warm flour tortillas on the side, it's simply one of those recipes that one can definitely taste the care and nurture in, as well as the patience and the love.
And it doesn't get any more delicious than that! 😉
How to Make Chili Verde with Pork
While it is possible to use jarred, store-bought salsa verde as a short-cut ingredient when making chili verde, I cannot implore you enough to take the bit of extra time to make it from scratch.
The salsa verde is truly where so much of the flavor and zip comes from in a chili verde recipe. A while, as I mentioned, you can opt for store-bought, it just simply won't taste the same.
The way I see it, chili verde with pork is already a recipe that takes a good bit of time to simmer up, so why not go all the way and make this dish as delicious as it can possibly be?
When I prepare my salsa verde, I simply season about a pound of tomatillos and a few Anaheim peppers (plus some onion and garlic) with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil.
I roast them together at a high heat until their skins are charred and smoky, allow things to slightly cool, and then whirl everything up together in my food processor until fairly smooth. Voila!
As for my pork, I use pork shoulder, which I purchase in a large 3 ½ – to 3 ¾ pound piece, then cut into small, bite-sized chunks for easy simmering. It's rich and slightly fatty, with wonderful flavor, and cooks up to juicy and succulent perfection.
The rest of the preparation for the chili verde really only involves a relatively small handful of other ingredients, and about 2 to 3 hours of gentle simmering until the meat is fork tender and the sauce thickened yet wonderfully spoonable.
Here's a peek at how I make my chili verde: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- I begin by preparing my homemade salsa verde, setting it aside for a few minutes to cool; once cool enough to handle, I process the ingredients in my food processor until fairly smooth yet still a bit chunky, like salsa, and set it aside for a moment.
- Next, I liberally season and sear off the pork in my hot pot, then remove it for a moment; I add in my aromatics (onions, more spices, garlic) and cook to soften, then add in my homemade salsa verde and stir to combine.
- I add my browned pork back into the pot, along with some chicken stock, and gently simmer the chili verde with a lid slightly askew, for about 2 ½ to 3 hours, until the meat is super tender and the sauce slightly thickened.
- To serve, I finish the chili verde with some extra cilantro, then spoon it atop of some rice and pinto beans, and serve with warm flour tortillas. Other serving options are to simply enjoy it as a stew, in a bowl, garnished with sour cream and cilantro, or with corn chips, or even spooned over top of a burrito.
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 8
Nutrition Info: 683 calories
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Total time: 3 hours, 55 minutes
Salsa Verde Ingredients (makes 2 ½ to 3 cups):
- 1 pound tomatillos (about 15), papers removed, rinsed, and halved
- 4 Anaheim peppers, seeds and membrane removed, and roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped into large chunks
- 8 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- Pinch or two salt
- Pinch or two black pepper
- 1 cup (generously packed) cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon agave (or honey)
Chili Verde Ingredients:
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 ½ to 3 ¾ pound pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into bite-size chunks
- 3 tablespoons flour (optional—helps creates a nice crust on the meat)
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- Pinch or two salt
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, plus extra for garnish
- Rice, pinto beans and flour tortillas, to serve on the side (optional)
- Begin by preparing your salsa verde: preheat the oven to 450°, and line a medium-large baking sheet with foil.
- Place the tomatillos, Anaheim peppers, onion and garlic into a large bowl, and drizzle with about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the oil; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss to coat, then turn the vegetables out onto the baking sheet, and roast for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, reduce the oven temp to 400°, and roast for 15 minutes more, until the veggies are charred, tender and aromatic; remove from oven and allow them to cool slightly, just enough so they can be handled.
- Once slightly cooled, add the roasted veggies, along with all of their juices, to the bowl of a food processor, then add in the cilantro and the agave; process for about 30 seconds or so until the mixture has a chunky-smooth texture, like that of salsa; spoon into a bowl and set aside for a moment.
- To prepare the chili verde pork, combine the cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander, chipotle powder, dried oregano, white and black pepper in a ramekin, and set aside 1 tablespoon of this to use as seasoning for the pork.
- Place the pork into a large bowl, season generously with salt, and sprinkle over the 1 tablespoon of seasoning, as well as the flour (if using), and toss to coat well.
- Place a large pot over high heat, and drizzle in about 3 tablespoons of avocado oil; once very hot, add some of the seasoned pork to the pot (working in batches), and allow it to sear/brown on that first side, undisturbed, for about 4 minutes; then, stir, and allow the pork to brown for about 2 minutes more, then remove from the pot and spoon into a large bowl to hold; repeat with remaining pork until all is browned.
- Next, to the same pot, add in the onion, and saute that for a few moments until it becomes softened and slightly browned; add in the remainder of the seasoning/spice mixture you prepared, along with the garlic, and stir to combine for about 30 seconds, or just until aromatic.
- Pour in your salsa verde, followed by the browned pork and its juices, and then the chicken stock; stir to combine, bring to a vigorous simmer, cover with a lid askew to allow for venting, and reduce the heat to low so that the chili verde comes to a gentle simmer now.
- Cook the chili verde for 2 ½ to 3 hours, or until the pork is very tender, stirring occasionally.
- To finish and serve the chili verde pork, stir in the chopped cilantro, and check to see if any additional salt/pepper is needed; serve the chili verde on its own, or with an accompaniment of rice, pinto beans and warm flour tortillas.
Tips & Tidbits for my Chili Verde:
- Opt for pork shoulder, otherwise known as Boston butt: To create that rich, meaty flavor and texture in this delicious chili verde recipe, I like to use a large cut of pork shoulder (or Boston butt) that I then cut into small, bite-size pieces. It has a good amount of fat, so take care to trim off any excess. But know that the internal fat marbling melts into the chili verde as the meat cooks, and adds lots of flavor and body, so don't trim off too much.
- Anaheim peppers, for a bit of kick: While it's a bit tough to tell how spicy a pepper is going to be, note that Anaheim peppers are typically a mild to medium level in the spicy department. I like the kick that the recipe gets from those peppers, and the flavor is terrific. But if you'd prefer to go less spicy, then opt for banana peppers, or even another milder green pepper.
- How to use tomatillos: Tomatillos look a lot like little green tomatoes, and come with an outer paper-like husk that must be removed before working with them. There's a bit of a sticky residue on them when the husk is removed, so give them a rinse before cutting and proceeding with the recipe.
- Low and slow for tender, flavorful results: I've found that when I prepare my chili verde, I typically will allow it to simmer for about 2 ½ to 3 hours. This allows for the pork to simmer until all of the collagen and fibers break down, yielding a tender and juicy result, almost shreddable. The time also allows for the sauce to thicken up a bit and reduce.
- What to serve with chili verde: While you can enjoy a bowl of chili verde topped very simply with sour cream and fresh cilantro (and a side of tortilla chips), I like to make a more complete meal out it and serve is with a side of rice, pinto beans, and warm flour tortillas. You can also pour it over top of a burrito to create a “wet burrito”.