My husband is a native Coloradoan. I spent eight wonderful years in the Denver area. While we love living in Memphis, we agree that there are many things we miss: Family, friends, the Rocky Mountains (oh, the Rocky Mountains…), snow (but to be clear, I DO NOT miss the snow), and the incredible and unparalleled Mexican food.
After we moved to town in 2010, we were on a quest to find something comparable to Colorado’s top notch Mexican cuisine and we HOPED that someone served green chili. What is green chili you ask? It is the best thing in the whole world! Winter and football cannot occur without green chili. The seasons cannot change, the world would stop, and unrest would surely follow. Unfortunately, we have not discovered green chili in Memphis. Yes, there are some versions and some green chili type sauces here but nothing quite like this southwestern wonder — sigh.
I love to cook and I love to figure out how to have what I love right here at home. So, I got in the kitchen and went to work and created what we find to be one of the closest matches to that blissful, soul-warming, wonder we miss so much. I encourage you to give it a shot even if it sounds a little out of your ordinary. We like a lot of heat and spice in our house (fondly referred to as “Kanowitz Hot” by our Memphis friends who don’t do heat so well) so we amp it up by adding extra jalapenos and chiles on occasion.
The recipe calls for canned green chiles because those are easiest to find around here. However, I have discovered that The Fresh Market gets Hatch, New Mexico chiles in stock during the fall. I tend to buy up half of what they have and spend the day roasting them in my oven and freezing them for the winter/year. In Colorado, there are chiles sold on what seems to be nearly every corner during harvest. The little stands have roasters where you can buy chiles and have them roast them right on the spot. I miss that, but it’s worth the effort to do it myself because the flavor of the chile is just that much better.
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family does! I have been making it a tad milder since having kids. My two-year-old son loves it but he’s a soup and spicy kind of guy. Oh, and you can certainly make this with chicken or meat-free if you would like. I find that a lean cut of pork gives it the flavor I enjoy without it being too greasy or fatty.
¡Que sabroso, mis amigas!
Colorado Green Chile
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 – 2 pounds boneless pork, cut into small pieces (Or chicken, or no meat at all)
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 cup flour
2 cups peeled, chopped tomatoes
2-3 7-ounce cans chopped green chiles, drained or 4-7 fresh, roasted green chiles (**see below for roasting technique), chopped
1-2 fresh jalapeno peppers, minced (core and seed for much less heat)
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
32-44 ounces of less-sodium chicken broth or stock (*I like this soupy but if you like it more like a stew, add less)
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese and warmed flour tortillas for serving
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add chopped pork and cook until it is browned. Stir in the onion and garlic. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for about two minutes. Add tomatoes, green chiles, jalapeno(s), salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir. Add broth. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 2-3 hours.
Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and serve with warm flour tortillas for dipping and enjoy!
**Roasting Fresh Chiles
Wash and thoroughly dry the chiles. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place chiles on the baking sheet, making sure to not crowd and overlap them. Broil each side until nice and charred (they will look black and blistered). Keep a close eye on them and turn them when they are blackened. They will catch on fire if you leave them too long!
Once the peppers are blackened, remove them to large Ziploc bags and seal. This allows them to steam and easily remove the outside skin when they are cool. Leave them in the bags for about 30 minutes.
Take the peppers out and remove the skin (this should be easily accomplished by your trusty hands at this point) If you are freezing the peppers for a later use, you can place them in freezer bags to freeze after the skins are removed. If you are using them immediately, slice them open, remove the seeds and membranes and chop them. They are now ready to use!
***You can also roast chiles on a grill and one at a time on the open flame of a gas stove top burner.