Simple Chile Verde Recipe

Chile verde isn't really a typical "chili" as we know it (no beans, for one thing), but is rather a green chile stew that originates from Northern Mexico. It's usually made from pork, as in this recipe, plus the "chiles verdes" (or, green chiles) from which it takes its name.

Recipe developer Molly Madigan Pisula sticks close to a traditional version of the dish here, but notes that she uses ingredients that can easily be found in most grocery stores –- hence the use of jalapeños and poblano peppers instead of fresh Hatch green chiles. She describes this rich pork stew as "a delicious, comforting recipe that makes your entire kitchen smell fantastic," with meat that is "fall-apart tender" in a verdant sauce that is "super flavorful and as spicy as you want to make it."

Assemble the ingredients for this simple chile verde

This chile verde is made with pork shoulder (aka pork butt). The "verde" (and much of the flavor) comes from roasted tomatillos, jalapeños, poblanos, and cilantro. Other spices and seasonings include fresh garlic, dried oregano, ground cumin, and salt. You'll also need a little cooking oil and chicken broth. A low-sodium version of the latter helps control the amount of salt in the dish.

Prep the ingredients

Peel the onions and garlic and chop them up. Peel the tomatillos, as well –- just the papery husks; this is the only part of these that needs to go. Rinse the peeled tomatillos to get rid of that sticky outer residue.

If the pork is particularly fatty, you may want to trim off some of the excess. Then, chop the pork into chunks about 1 ½ to 2 inches in size. "It's easiest to cut up pork that is slightly frozen," Pisula advises. Just throw the pork shoulder in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes before cutting it. Your hands may get chilly, but you'll find you have much more control with the knife while slicing through.

Broil the peppers and tomatillos

Turn on your broiler and make sure the top rack is as high as it will go. (Remember to do this before the oven gets hot!) Line a baking sheet with foil and place the peppers on it. Broil them until the tops are blackened (about 5 minutes), then flip the peppers; Pisula uses tongs for this, and you probably should, too. Broil the peppers on the other side for about 3 minutes. Now put the peppers in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let them sit and steam for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, change out the foil on the baking sheet and top it with tomatillos. Broil these for 1 to 2 minutes, flip, and repeat. You want the tomatillos slightly blackened, but Pisula says they "should not be fully charred" like the peppers.

Sauté the onions, garlic, and pork

Heat the olive oil in large, heavy pot over medium heat, then add the onions and garlic. Sauté these for about 8 minutes until the onions are soft and browned around the edges. Stir frequently to prevent the garlic from burning; you may also need to lower the heat if they're browning too fast, Pisula says. 

Once the onions and garlic are done, remove them from the pot. Turn the heat up to medium-high and brown half the pork cubes for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring so all sides meet the heat. (No need to add any extra oil — the pork is fatty enough and there'll still be a light coating from the onions and garlic.) Remove the pork cubes from the pot and replace with the remaining pieces. Once those cubes are browned as well, pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.

Peel the peppers, then blend them with the tomatillos

Meanwhile, after the peppers have had at least 15 minutes to steam and cool, peel off their charred skins. Cut the peppers open and take out their stems and seeds –- or don't. As Pisula says, "For more heat, leave the seeds and veins in one or both of the jalapeños."

Put the peeled peppers in a blender and purée them with the roasted tomatillos and cilantro.

Simmer the chile verde

Put all the pork back in the pot along with the onions and garlic, the puréed pepper mixture, the chicken broth, and the additional seasonings. Bring the stew to a simmer over medium-high heat, then turn down the heat and put a lid on it. Cook the chile verde for 1 ½ to 2 hours, uncovering to stir every once in a while, until the pork is tender. Pisula says that the "final cook time in part depends on the size of your pork cubes." Once the stew is done, add salt and pepper to taste.

Pisula suggests garnishing the dish with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges. Typical sides include tortillas and rice. She adds that the stew "tastes even better the second day" and that it will last in the fridge for up to 5 days, though it may thicken up a bit. This stew can also be frozen for longer storage.

Simple Chile Verde Recipe
5 from 38 ratings
This Mexican dish is named for the star ingredient that gives it its hue: charred green chiles. Pair them with succulent pork for the ultimate comfort meal.
Prep Time
30
minutes
Cook Time
2.25
hours
Servings
4
Servings
Chile verde with rice
Total time: 2.75 hours
Ingredients
  • 1 large white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 pound tomatillos (about 10 to 15)
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (pork butt)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 1 ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Optional Ingredients
  • Additional cilantro, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
  • Tortillas, for serving
  • Rice, for serving
Directions
  1. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
  2. Peel papery husks from tomatillos and rinse off the sticky residue.
  3. Trim any excess fat from the pork and cut the meat into 2-inch cubes.
  4. Turn on the broiler, with an oven rack positioned a few inches underneath the heat source.
  5. Line a baking sheet with foil and put the jalapeño and poblano peppers on it.
  6. Broil the peppers until skin is blackened on top, about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the sheet from the broiler, flip peppers, and broil the other sides for about 3 minutes.
  8. Put the broiled peppers in a bowl, covering it tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside for at least 15 minutes.
  9. Replace the foil on the sheet pan and add the tomatillos.
  10. Broil the tomatillos for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until they are just beginning to blacken.
  11. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat, then sauté the onions and garlic, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened and lightly browned on their edges (about 8 minutes).
  12. Remove the onions and garlic from the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and add half of the pork cubes.
  13. Brown the pork cubes on all sides for 8 to 10 minutes total. Remove and repeat with the rest of the pork cubes.
  14. Remove all but a tablespoon of fat from the pot.
  15. Once the peppers have rested for at least 15 minutes, remove the plastic wrap and peel the charred skin off the peppers.
  16. Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers, if desired, to reduce the heat level of the final dish.
  17. Purée the peppers, roasted tomatillos, and cilantro in a blender.
  18. Combine all of the browned pork and the onion mixture in the pot along with the blended pepper mixture, chicken broth, oregano, cumin, and salt.
  19. Bring the chile verde to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot.
  20. Cook the chile verde for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the pork is tender.
  21. Season the stew with salt and pepper to taste.
  22. Garnish, if desired, with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs. Serve alongside tortillas and/or rice.
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