Random Recipe: Green Chili

Decades ago, as a ski bum in Colorado,  I cooked breakfast at the Crooked Creek Saloon ("Eat  'til it hurts,  drink 'til it feels better").  I ended most shifts with an enormous breakfast burrito,  and to this day I veer toward the breakfast burrito on almost any menu. I always hope to encounter a magical mountain of crispy griddled red potatoes, scrambled eggs, and savory black beans, wrapped in a tortilla and smothered in green chili,  melted cheddar,  sour cream,  and guacamole.  Like most food memories,  this one is intertwined with my nostalgia for that place and time; it exists only in my brain, forever out of reach. This green chili only vaguely resembles the vegetarian version we served there,  but it scratches the itch for me.  I have no idea how this compares to any other green chili, authentic or not,  but it was delicious.  I'm putting it here because I'll want to make it again. 

Vegetarians could substitute corn and summer squash for the pork. Just don't forget to add salt, as the only salt in this recipe is in the pork. 

The spice level here is maybe 2 out of 5, but it depends how spicy your jalapeños are.  If you want more heat,  add more jalapeños and/or Serranos. If you make it too hot,  douse the fire with more sour cream. 

This versatile dish also makes a great sauce or dip. Smother burritos with it, then cover them with shredded cheese and melt it under the broiler. Use it in chilaquiles. Serve it as a condiment with any Southwestern or Mexican dish. 

Serves 4 as an entree.

2 Tbsp grapeseed oil or other neutral oil

1 yellow onion,  sliced in 1/4" strips

1 green bell pepper, sliced in 1/4" strips

1 red bell pepper,  sliced in 1/4" strips

1 poblano pepper,  sliced in 1/4" strips

1 jalapeño pepper,  diced small

1 bulb fresh garlic,  peeled and minced

15 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice

2 cups roasted & diced Hatch chiles

2 lbs. country style boneless pork ribs

Coarse kosher salt

For serving,  as desired:

1 bunch cilantro,  finely chopped

Sour cream

Medium cheddar cheese,  freshly grated

Avocado or guacamole

Pico de gallo

Tortilla chips

Country ribs come in big strips. Salt them liberally and let them rest for at least 30 minutes.  Don't trim the fat. (Trust me.  I don't like fatty meats, and I'm always tempted to trim those big slabs of fat.  They will be delicious and melty in the finished dish.) After the pork has rested, cut it into bite-sized pieces and set aside. 

Heat the oil in a large pot (I used the instant pot on sauté) over medium heat, then add the onions and fresh peppers.  Stir occasionally until the onions are translucent and peppers have softened. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes to soften.

Stir in the canned tomatoes and hatch chiles and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low while you cook the pork.

Heat a large skillet over medium- high heat. Add enough pork to cover the bottom of the pan.  Brown the meat in batches,  stirring to sear it on all sides.  The meat will finish cooking in the sauce.  After the last batch, add just enough water to the bottom of the skillet to loosen all those yummy pork bits,  and scrape all that goodness into the pot. 

Leave the pot on low until the pork is tender.  

Serve in soup bowls and garnish as desired. 

Gratuitous nudi: yellow margin nudibranch, ardeadoris angustolutea 


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