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April 02, 2013

Pork Chili Verde

Pork Chili Verde
What I love most about Pork Chili Verde is that everyone who I know has their own recipe. Sure, some of it is pretty basic, I mean we all use pork and peppers, but then things veer considerably. Some people use tomatoes, some don't; some chili verde is thick, while others is more broth based. So, while I'm willing--and happy--to eat anyone's chili verde, I'm fairly attached to my own version.

The funny thing about my version is that a few years back it changed--in a major way--due to a conversation that Mr. B and I were having where he was reminiscing about a friend's father who used to make a Colorado version that included mushrooms. Now, I was born and lived in Colorado for 13 years and my mother made plenty of Pork Chili Verde and it never had a mushroom in it. Consequently, I ate dinner at many a friend's house and it was often on the menu, but never was there the trace of a mushroom anywhere in any of those many bowls. Of course, I disagreed with Mr. B. I probably even told him that he was touched. Maybe I even said he was a nut job. It's possible.

But it was too late, for the thought of using mushrooms in Pork Chili Verde was forever stuck in my mind and the only way to get past it would be to try it; I hated admitting that to Mr. B, but in the end, I'm glad I did. The truth: the mushrooms really make this recipe. He was right, but the part of him being nuts--I still think it's true.

Mel's Pork Chili Verde

1 pound boneless pork country ribs, trimmed and cut into chunks
10 Anaheim peppers
6 jalapeño pepper
2 large yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves
1 bunch cilantro, cleaned and finely chopped
1 pound of white mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and coarsely chopped
2 cans hot Rotell™
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tablespoon chopped chipotle peppers with adobo sauce
Cayenne pepper
Red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
flour
vegetable oil

Garnishes
chopped jalapeño peppers
chopped onions
chopped cilantro
grated cheese
sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 400º.
2. Arrange Anaheim peppers and jalapeño peppers on a sheet pan so that they are not touching.
3. As soon as the oven is hot, place the peppers into the oven and cook until the skins are charred and they burst and collapse. Make sure to turn the peppers frequently so they are charred and blistered on all sides.
4. As soon as the peppers are done, turn off the oven and remove the peppers.
5. Place the peppers into a large paper grocery sack and then fold over the top to completely seal them in the bag. Set the bag off to the side and let the peppers sweat for 30 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, toss the pork cubes in the flour to dredge and then fry in 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, browning completely.
7. When the meat is brown, add the onions, garlic and mushrooms and stir. Cover the pot with a lid and allow the vegetables to brown with the meat. The mushrooms and onions will release liquid into the pan as they cook, but make sure to reduce the heat and if needed, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water.
8. While the vegetables are browning along with the meat, peel the peppers. The easiest way to do this is to slice the pepper and remove the stem and seeds and then pull the skins off; discard the pepper skins. If you are having difficulty removing the skins, peeling them under warm tap water should help.
9. Dice the peppers and add to the meat and vegetables.
10. Add the Rotell™along with two cans of water and the bouillon cubes.
11. Add the chipotle peppers; add cayenne and red pepper to taste.
12. Simmer for 45 minutes, then add the chopped cilantro.
13. To serve, ladle into warm bowls and serve with warm tortillas and various garnishes.
14. Freeze leftovers for burritos and eggs.

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