Chili verde. Pork, tomatillos and green chilies jacked up by dry-roasted onion, garlic and jalapeño. One seriously delicious dish.
This is Mexican comfort food. Eat it straight up. With beans. Make tacos. Roll it in flour tortillas and nap with tomatillo salsa. The ultimate wet burrito. No rules. Just good. Any way you go. There’s nothing here not to love.
I have a thing for braised dishes. A thing for Mexican cooking. And I have a thing for pork. Chili verde is a holy trinity for me. It isn’t fancy. Just earthy family food. Straightforward. But so good. Doesn’t have to be fancy to be great.
Chili verde starts with pork shoulder
Choice of pork is key. This is a stew. Low and slow. Like barbecue. Lean cuts are out. Pork loin would be terrible. Like eating dust. You need the fat. And connective tissue. That’s where the magic is.
The same things that make for good pulled pork make good chili verde. You want meltingly tender. Pork shoulder. That’s what works here. Match made in heaven.
Time is key as well. This is slow food. You can’t make this fast. It’s a braise. Braises take time. It’s ready when it’s ready. If you don’t cook it long enough it’s tough. Rubbery. Not good.
So take your time. Plan for it. It’s going to take a couple hours. At least. Be warned. You cannot rush a braise. It just doesn’t work.
Brown the pork for deeper flavour
Browning the pork is important too. Look up the Maillard reaction. It’s what happens when meat hits heat. All kinds of complex flavour compounds get created. Those flavours go into your chili verde. Embrace it. It makes everything better.
If you take one thing away from this remember browning equals more flavour. More flavour is better. There’s no reason at all why you can’t pull it off. Just slow down. Let it happen.
If you can make stew you can make chili verde. If you can’t make stew, follow the instructions and believe. At the end of it you will be a master. It’s not hard. You don’t have to move particularly fast. And the results will blow your friends away.
Chili verde. For when you want the biggest flavours. When you want a chili that isn’t run of the mill. When you want to make your mouth happy. It’s for when you want to impress yourself. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.
chili verde - pork with tomatillos and green chilies
- 3 lbs pork shoulder cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 large white onion sliced into 3/4 inch slices
- 5 cloves garlic in the husk
- 2 medium jalapeños
- 1 1/2 lbs tomatillos husk removed
- 5-8 Anaheim or poblano chilies roasted, peeled and seeded
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 tsp salt plus more to taste
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil to brown the pork
- chicken stock as needed
- 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano If you don't have it, do NOT use regular oregano.
- Use a comal or cast iron skillet. Heat over medium heat. Add the onion slices, garlic and jalapeño. Dry roast until the onion and garlic are lightly charred and the jalapeño skin blisters. Peel the garlic. Remove the seeds and inner membrane from the jalapeños. Set aside.
- Place the tomatillos on a baking sheet lined with foil. Move your rack up high in the oven. Broil until charred. Black skin is OK. Set aside.
- Light your grill. Grill the anaheim/poblano peppers until charred. Remove from the grill. Place the charred peppers in a paper bag to steam and soften. Peel and seed. If you can get hatch chilies, use them and leave me a comment bragging about how lucky you are. Seriously. I am very jealous. I have never seen one in a store in my life.Or you can just use canned chilies. Much easier. Almost as good.
- Coarsely chop the charred onions. Chop the chilies. Place the onions, chilies, garlic, jalapeño and tomatillos in a blender. Puree until pretty smooth. It will still be a bit chunky. That's OK. If it doesn't puree easily there's not enough liquid. Add a bit of chicken stock.
- Add the cilantro and pulse until coarsely chopped and distributed throughout the sauce. Add the Mexican oregano if using. Set aside.
- Preheat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil. You want enough so the bottom of the pot is well coated.
- Working in batches, brown the pork. You will need to do this in 2-3 batches, depending on how large your pot is. Don't overcrowd the pot. You will get steamed pork instead of nicely browned pork. Not good. Brown pork means flavour. Steamed pork - not so much. Set the pork aside.
- Add the pureed chili tomatillo mixture to the pot. Watch out. It will bump and splatter. Wear your worst clothes. Cover it to contain the mess. Cook the mixture over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Return the pork to pot along with any accumulated juices. Add just enough chicken stock to cover the pork. You may not need to add any at all.
- Simmer until the pork is tender. This can take an hour or two or even more. Depends on the size of the chunks.
- When the pork is fork tender (so you can stick a fork in the pork and it meets very little resistance) taste and adjust the salt.
- Serve with lime for those that like a bit of extra zing. A bit of diced fresh jalapeño is tasty if you want it a bit hotter. Tortillas or pinto beans make a nice side. If you really like pintos, mix them right in. This is just a big pot of chili after all. No rules. No judgement.
27 thoughts on “chili verde – pork chili with tomatillo and green chilies”
Hi Romain, wow, chili verde is one of those “wow” recipes!! Wow! Incredibly good. Almost as good as birria tacos con consomé. That really says it all. Did I already say wow!?
But why do you have two similar versions of it on your site? And which is the more recent one? Well as long it makes people twice as likely to try it out, I guess it’s all good 😉
Short answer – because I’m an idiot.
Long answer – one day I went to one of the great open air markets in Canada (Jean Talon in Montreal). I bought many things including a huge quantity of poblano peppers, tomatillos and some beautiful pork shoulder. I thought – aha – I need to do a blog post about my chili verde (or chile verde as the other version is spelled). So I did. A month or so later I noticed I had already done that one years before. That is the problem with having over 400 posts. Sometimes you forget:-).
I have hatched green chilis. I live in the north east and plan on using them in this chili recipe. Do you have any tips?
Let me start by saying I am incredibly jealous. 1 for 1 should work. And if you have left over please send them my way:-)
I am so forutnate to live in Colorado where we just finished our Roasted Hatch Green Chilies season! Nothing smells better than roasted chilies at the farmers market!
You are lucky indeed!
Looking for a way to use a bag of frozen roasted Anaheims and poblanos from my garden, and a big bowl of fresh tomatillos also from my garden. The number of green chili recipes online is overwhelming and most take shortcuts using enchilada sauce or canned chiles. So today I’m going to try this one. And if it’s good, I’m going to continue using it because my garden is producing quite an abundant crop this year.
I so wish I were your neighbour right now. Hope you like it.
Thank you ! I had forgotten how to make this and you gave me every memory on how but more.
I’m sure it will be great! Thanks again. 🙂
This one gets made a lot here. It’s hard to beat the combo of the tomatillos, chilies and pork!
So this recipe turned out soo good. I’ve never had anything like this before. And when I first tried this dish I wasn’t sure about it. But dang I can’t get enough of it now.
I’m glad to hear you took the plunge and tried it. Green chilies, tomatillos and pork are an incredible combo.
Excellent recipe! I was fortunate to find hatch green chilies so yeah extra yum! Followed the recipe except I did add just a smidge more Mexican oregano, a few fistfuls of baby spinach towards the end of cooking and a couple cans of pinto beans. Topped with a dollop of sour cream, diced avocado and scallions. Served with warm tortillas. Thank you so much for sharing!
Hatch chilies. So jealous:-) Glad you liked it! I like to add pinto beans sometimes too.
I’m starting this recipe – it sounds terrific! I found fresh Hatch green Chiles at my local
(Prescott AZ) grocery store.
Hatch chilies will be amazing!
Hello, in step 4 you say “Add just enough pork to cover the pork.” Should this be add enough water?
Thanks, I love Chile verde and I can’t wait to make this. Going to hit the store to get the ingredients.
Haha. That’s a lot of pork. It’s enough chicken stock. Recipe updated. Thanks very much for the catch.
Awesome. Have been looking for a recipe comparable to what I had at the Albuquerque State fair quite a years ago. This is the closest I have found. Will now be amoung my favorites.
Haha. I made this for dinner last night as well.
I’ve had fair luck using marjoram when I don’t have Mexican-oregano. You are right that it is nothing like Italian-oregano.
This is going to challenge my devotion to Carne adovada. But then, I like it with NM green chile sauce so it all comes around.
I just get a kick out of your recipes.
That’s a nice way to start my day. Thank you!
I’ve never tried marjoram as a substitute but that does sound closer. I love carne adovada as well. Both very good dishes…
Thanks for mentioning Marjoram. I’m out of Mexican oregano, but have fresh Marjoram on and…AND Hatch chilies!
So comforting and delicious. Perfect for the upcoming fall weather!
I just never get tired of this one. I make huge batches and eat it for days.
I am a SoCal native of mixed Hispanic and European origin. I have been eating and making variants of “chile verde” for over 50 years. Your recipe looks delicious. Couple of Notes: Hatch chilies are from New Mexico and the identical version — “Anaheim chilies” are from Southern California. Hatch are much hotter — that’s all. I prefer Anaheim chilies because I can use more of them and crank up the heat with serrano and yellow pepper. Also, there is no such thing as Mexican oregano. It is just wild sage that grows all over this area. I use Mediterranean oregano and it tastes great. Your passion for cooking is evident. Keep it up!
Thanks. My understanding of Mexican oregano (aka redbrush lippia) is that it one of the common names for lippia graveolens. You are lucky it grows wild where you are. I have to get mine from Mexican markets when I get down to Texas.