Colorado Green Chili

Green Chili (AKA Chili Verde) is probably second only to Coors Beer as the ubiquitous food of the state of Colorado.  Never mind that Colorado means red colored.  In Colorado, green is king.  It is the perfect meal for a cold rainy (or to be more authentic: snowy) day.  I may have moved west of the Rockies, but I still have Green Chili in the blood.

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 3 hours


4-6 Green Chili Peppers — I’ve used both Anaheim, Poblano or Ancho Chili peppers.  Poblanos are hotter, but I’m limited to what I can get at the supermarket.  Anaheim peppers are bigger so I use 4.

10 medium (2in) Tomatillos — If you can’t get tomatillos, tomatoes work.  Your green chili just won’t be green.  Many people make chili verde with tomatoes.

1 medium yellow onion — diced

1 head of garlic, minced — go big or go home.

2lbs Pork roast — Pork shoulder tastes best but has the most fat.  I’ve had good luck with pork loin.

1 cup fresh cilantro, diced —  If fresh cilantro isn’t available, double up on the ground coriander.

1 Green Pepper, diced

0-2 Jalapeños — if you don’t like spice, go with 0.  If you are a fire-breather, go for 2 or upgrade to serranos.   I put in 1.5.

1 Quart chicken broth

1 Tbs ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp oregano

2 Tbs brown sugar

salt and pepper

2 Tbs olive oil

Optional Ingredients

1 Can white kidney beans — beans aren’t authentic to chili verde, but I like them anyway.

1 Denver Broncos football game — preferably when winning.

1+ Bottle of Coors or Fat TIre, for the chef — Any beer is acceptable as long as it isn’t Yuengling

1. Roast and skin the green chilies

It is best to roast your green chilies on the BBQ grill, but that isn’t often a possibility during green chili season.  Here is an alternative

  1. Turn on the oven broiler and let it preheat.
  2. Cut in a circle around the stem of the pepper.  If done right, you can pull out the stem and 90% of the seeds at once.
  3. Half or quarter the chilies.  The goal is to get them to lay as flat as possible.  You may be able to smash them down flat.
  4. Lay down a layer of aluminum foil on a large cookie sheet.
  5. Lay out the chilies so they don’t overlap
  6. Place the whole thing 6-10 in from the broiler
  7. Broil until most of the chili skin is blackened and starting to bubble off, then remove the chilies from the oven.
  8. Fold the aluminum foil over on itself making an airtight package and sealing the chillies inside.  The steam will help loosen the skins even more.
  9. Don’t touch until they are cool enough to handle
  10. We will return to the chilies after the rest of the prep work.

2. Cut the pork roast into bite-sized cubes.  Liberally salt and pepper the cubes.

3. Prep the rest of the vegetables

  1. Dice the onion and put in a bowl.
  2. Smash and mince the garlic and put in a bowl
  3. Dice and de-seed the jalapeños.
  4. Dice the green pepper and mix with the jalapeños in a bowl.

4. Prepare the tomatillos and cilantro

  1. Remove the husks from the tomatillos.
  2. Half them and put in a blender
  3. Rince and cut the bottom half of the stems off of approximately 1/2 bunch of cilantro.  You should have about a cup of the leafy part left.  Toss that in the blender
  4. Add about 1 cup of chicken broth to the blender.
  5. Blend for a few seconds until smooth.

5. Skin the Chilies

The chilies should be cool enough to handle now.  Open the aluminum foil packet.  The skins should be almost falling off the chillies.  They will peal off in sheets.  Get off as much of the chili skin as possible.  You don’t have to get all of the skin off.  Just try to get most of it off.

Dice the skinned chilies and set aside.

6. Start frying

  1. Heat 2 Tbs of olive oil in a very large skillet over high heat
  2. Get out a Dutch oven or large stewpot and set aside.
  3. Dump in the diced pork into the skillet.
  4. Brown the pork stirring occasionally.
  5. Once all of the pork is browned — not necessarily completely cooked — poor in a bowl and set aside.  Try to keep the oil and drippings in the skillet.
  6. Lower the heat to medium.  Sweat the onions until clear
  7. Lower the heat again.  Add the garlic.
  8. Once the garlic is brown, dump the whole thing into your Dutch oven or stewpot.
  9. Deglaze the skillet with some chicken broth then pour it in with the onions and garlic.

7. Put it all together

Dump the pork and all of the remaining vegetables into the pot.  Pour in enough chicken broth that everything is mostly submerged.  Add all spices and stir to combine.  Turn up the heat until the mixture is simmering.  Make sure to stir regularly.  You don’t want this to burn to the bottom.  Turn down the heat to low and cover.

8.  Wait for 2-3 hours.

After 2-3 hours, the pork should be nice and soft.  All of the vegetables should have cooked down.  Add the beans (if you want beans) and stir to combine.

You’re done.  Add salt to taste (I had to add 2tsp).  If the chili tastes too acidic, try adding a little brown sugar.

Serving suggestions

Serve in a bowl with flour tortillas

Serve over fried eggs for breakfast

Serve over ‘smothered’ burritos