Prepare to wow yourself. This Green Chili Recipe is one of the best meals to come out of our kitchen in a good long while. It tastes like an all-day, slow-simmered authentic pork green chili recipe you’d eat in New Mexico (desert sunset view included), but thanks to a few carefully thought-out shortcuts, you can pull it together when you arrive home from work.
The green chili recipe hole on this website has been pestering me.
- We have a go-to Healthy Turkey Chili that’s all purpose and ever-loved.
- We have chilis for different cooking apparatuses (Slow Cooker Turkey Quinoa Chili, Instant Pot Chili).
- We have chilis for different diets (Paleo Chili, Instant Pot Vegetarian Chili).
- We even have chili of a different color (Crockpot White Chicken Chili).
But up until today, we didn’t have a green chili for one very specific reason:
Authentic pork green chili is a pain.
Why I Love This Green Chili Recipe
No matter how many recipes for from-scratch green chili I read, I couldn’t find a single one that didn’t require me to dirty every bowl in my kitchen, spend hours prepping vegetables, or seek out ingredients I can’t find year-around (a hatch green chili recipe was out, for example, because I can’t easily find hatch chiles in Wisconsin). Even the ever-accessible Pioneer Woman’s pork green chili wasn’t as straightforward as I needed.
The easy green chili recipes I found had the opposite problem. They relied entirely on processed ingredients. I wanted more than canned green enchilada sauce mixed with a can of green chiles and so-so pork, because I think we can and deserve to eat better.
A few trial batches, departures with hatch green chili recipe tradition (ahem, using hatch chilis at all—don’t tell New Mexico), pounds of poblanos later, and HERE WE ARE: a World Champion Green Chili Recipe that tastes of all-day, slave-away effort but is (close to) one bowl and relatively hands free.
When you take a bite of this green chili, it will take your breath away for a moment. The flavor is so rich and complex, the texture of the broth so velvety smooth and hearty, and the pork so tender, it will make you pause and ask yourself, Did I really cook something this soul-strikingly delicious?
Yes, you did! Scoop yourself some seconds.
Green Chili: A Little Bit of Background
Green chili is wildly popular in the Southwest, where its core ingredient (green chiles) flourishes in the desert climate. Hatch green chili is a way of life in New Mexico. Colorado has its own version, which uses Pueblo chiles. (If you enjoy my Chile Verde Pork, you’ll love the similar flavor profile in this green chili.)
Since I live in the veritable anthesis of a desert (the tundra Wisconsin) and hatch chiles are only found fresh once a year, I needed to be creative. Fortunately for my chilly predicament, the spirit and philosophy of green chili is to resourcefully cook with the ingredients you can find in your own backyard.
Or in the case of my snow-smothered backyard, my local grocery store.
How to Make the Best Green Chili–Easy and Healthy!
Here’s how I improvised a green chili using ingredients I could find in Wisconsin in the dead of winter, in a fraction of the time, and with fewer dishes to wash in the end.
- Roasted Vegetables. What makes green chili one of the most special things you will ever taste is its deep, slow-cooked flavor. You can taste the hours of love in every bite. To simulate this same effect, I started by roasting poblano peppers (which are widely available year round), onion, garlic, and jalapeños in the oven. Roasting gives the green chili intense flavor in a fraction of the time.
- Tomatillo (Green) Salsa. The ultimate shortcut! Since scrubbing fresh tomatillos is time consuming, I opted to add them to the chili in the form of ready-made green salsa instead. (You can find tomatillo salsa at almost any grocery store.)
- Cornmeal. To thicken the chili more quickly, I stirred in cornmeal. It’s a gluten-free alternative to thickening with flour, and the cornmeal’s taste is both subtle and a natural companion to the Southwest flavors.
- Pork Tenderloin. While pork shoulder (a.k.a. pork butt) is traditional for green chili recipes, it’s a tougher, fattier cut of meat that takes hours of simmering to become tender. Pork tenderloin is leaner and requires little more than a half hour to become so fall-apart tender, you can cut it with your spoon.
- Hominy. Big, puffy, soft, and chewy kernels of corn that go through a special processing technique, hominy is an undersung ingredient that’s sold in the Hispanic aisle of most grocery stores. It deserves far more attention than it receives. Once you try it in this chili, you’ll start wanting to add it to everything.
When I opened the lid of this chili and scooped my first spoonful right from the pot (do you do this at home too?), I knew I had tasted something special.
This green chili recipe takes the best of what we can find even in the middle of freezing weather and turns it into something so deeply warming, it satisfied a part of me that I didn’t realize had been lacking.
We shared our green chili leftovers with friends for dinner, and all four of us agreed this is one of the best chili recipes we’ve ever had. I can’t wait for you to try it, and I’d love to hear what you think if you do!
- 3 poblano peppers stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped into 3/4-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 4 medium garlic cloves peels on and left whole
- 2 jalapeno peppers seeds and membranes removed and chopped into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper divided
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup fine-grain cornmeal
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 (16-ounce) jar prepared tomatillo (green) salsa about 1 1/2 cups
- 3–4 cups low-sodium chicken broth divided
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 (15-ounce) can white hominy, drained
- Sliced avocado
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. For easy cleanup, line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place the poblanos, garlic, jalapeño, and onion in the center. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the peppers and onions are golden brown and soft. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Peel the garlic, then further chop the vegetables into small pieces.
- While the vegetables roast, heat a large dutch oven or similar sturdy-bottomed pot with a lid over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Then once the oil is hot but not yet smoking, add half of the pork and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir and cook, disturbing the pork as little as possible, until the pork is lightly browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. It will not be cooked all the way through. Remove to a plate and set aside. Repeat with the second half of the pork, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Return all of the pork to the pot.
- Sprinkle in the cornmeal, then stir to coat. Stir in the diced tomatoes in their juices, tomatillo salsa, 3 cups chicken broth, oregano, cloves, and chopped roasted vegetables.
- Bring the chili to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium low, partially cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- With a ladle or large spoon, scoop 2 cups of the chili from the pot and transfer to a blender. Be sure to scoop up some of the roasted vegetables and tomatoes, but be careful that you do not get any pork cubes. (I find it easiest to scoop up big ladlefuls, then use a fork to pick the pork cubes out and put them back into the pot, then transfer the ladle contents to the blender.) Hold down the blender lid with a folded kitchen towel. Pulse it a few times to get the soup moving, then increase the pulse time by a few seconds per pulse, until it purées easily. Purée the mixture until smooth, then pour it back into the pot.
- Stir in the hominy. Continue to simmer partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the pork is very tender, about 15 minutes more. Give the chili one last big stir. If the chili is thicker than you would like, add the additional 1 cup of chicken broth a little at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Enjoy hot, topped with avocado, cilantro, and/or Greek yogurt as desired.
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