It’s beginning to feel a lot like Fall – leaves changing, brisk weather, and a certain smell. Yes, for the first time, I have realized the fall is quite fragrant. And I love it! I can't quite describe it - but it's a mix between grass and those spice-scented candles.
And when Fall comes around, I love stews and one-pot meals! This recipe is either a one pot (on the stove) or two pot (crock-pot) – you certainly could make it one-pot in the crock-pot, but I did a special depth of flavor by browning all the bits in here, that you just don't get from the crock-pot.
I am not a HUGE fan of Martha Stewart – but she does the occasional good idea. My mother-in-law, however, is OBSESSED with her. Loves her as much as she loves her Oprah – she is the gal that always said “Well, I was watching Oprah today, and SHE SAID…” at least until the show went off the air and she is NOT going to pay for her show because that’s just what Comcast WANTS you do it, isn’t it?? (That’s really the way she talks… I love it). Anyways – when I first joined the family, I learned very quickly of her Martha Stewart fandom, and soon after, I learned about the magical publication of “Everyday Foods”. I actually like it – it has helped me through many “what should we have for dinner this week” moments. This month’s issue (OMG, I sound like MIL), they had a spread on chilis, and a particular Green Chili with Pork Shoulder caught my eye (no judging from the Jewish Peanut Gallery, thankyouverymuch). So I made up my little grocery list, trecked through the masses on my lunch hour to get all the ingredients, and then dragged everything home to start prep. The only problem, I realized, when I got home… I had forgotten the recipe and entire magazine at work. Nerts. The frustrating thing about this lovely publication is that they are slow to post recipes online – even their “Members only access” is 2 years out of date. I panicked. Then… I got over it and started throwing it together.
The thing is, I am not great at this kind of cooking. The first time I make something, I NEED the recipe. So I was kind of FREAKED OUT. But I pulled it together, remembered some basic “soup” techniques, and went to town. I apologize for no pictures, but I was a little crunched for time since I was expecting company (hence the panic and not waiting for another night). But the amazing thing? This chili was INCREDIBLE. I like tomatillos because they sit better in my stomach than tomatoes – I’d like to say they are less acidic, but I have absolutely not science to back this up. If you are not a pork fan, chicken would be great – but you probably need a little more oil since I had the benefit of rendering the pork a little.
Green Chili with Pork Shoulder
(adapted from the October issue of Everyday Foods)
3 lbs tomatillos
2 lbs boneless pork shoulder
1 white onion
2 oz tequila (optional)
2 poblano chiles (Anaheim would also work here)
2-3 jalapenos (depending on your spice preference)
3-6 cloves of garlic (I used 6 because I am obsessed with garlic)
oil (olive or vegetable)
sour cream, cilantro, chips, cheese for garnish
1. Peel and wash the tomatillos. Mine were pretty sticky on the skin, so I let them soak in some warm water while I browned the meat. Slice in half or quarters (depending on size) and throw them into your food processor. Process until smooth (I did this in two process batches). Place in bowl and set aside.
2. Cut the meat into 1” cubes. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in the pan (I used vegetable oil here because I ran out of olive oil and my hubby wasn’t back from the store, yet). Brown for a few minutes in 2-3 batches (depending on the size of your pan). Season with salt and add oil as needed. (Note: I had some smoked sea salt lying around from Trader Joe’s, and I used it in here. It is not necessary, but added a nice flavor). Remove to a bowl as finished – set aside.
3. Pulse the onion in the food processor into a small dice – set aside.
4. Remove the seeds from the poblano and jalapeno chiles. Along with the garlic cloves, place in the food processor and pulse until a small dice. Set aside.
5. Add 2 tablespoons (estimate) of olive oil to the empty pan. Toss in the onion and sauté until just opaque. (It was at this point that I realized I had some tastey bits on the bottom of the pan and wanted to deglaze… enter tequila. You can certainly skip this step, but it did add a subtle sweetness that I liked). Add in 2 oz of tequila and stir to deglaze the pan. Heat until the liquid reduces by half.
6. Add in the chile/garlic mixture and sauté until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
7. Pour in the tomatillo puree and pork. Bring to a low boil and cover – head on medium-low for 1 ½ - 2 hours (or until the pork is tender - I checked at just shy of 90 minutes and it was great). If you are using a crock-pot, this is where you throw everything into the pot. Heat on high for about 3-4 hours, or low 6-7 hours.
8. I served over baked potatoes, and with all the garnishes, but enjoy as you please (over fries, mashed potatoes, rice, enchiladas, hot dogs…)