Monday, February 8, 2010

Crockpot pork chile verde

I don't know what made me happier - finding a way to use up a big portion of my "bountiful basket" offerings from last week, successfully replicating one of my favorite Mexican dishes, or the fact that I made this dish in my crock pot. I LOVE the idea of crock pot meals because there's nothing I hate more than trying to get dinner together when I'm exhausted, hungry, and uninspired, and two little munchkins are nipping at my heels. Oh, and a fourth thing that made me happy was that I tried something new - roasting peppers & garlic. It's totally easy, but for some reason I'd never done it before and therefore it seemed kind of scary.

So here's how I made the chile verde...


1.5 pounds of pork butt (I think it's actually pork shoulder, but for some reason it's called pork butt.) Trim off any excess fat and cut into ice-cube size chunks

8 tomatillos, with the papery husks peeled off

5 anaheim chiles

5-6 cloves of garlic, unpeeled

2 jalapeno peppers

1/2 onion, diced

1 can vegetable stock


Put the tomatillos, chiles, jalapeno peppers and garlic cloves in a baking dish, spritz with olive oil, and place in the oven under the broiler. Turn them occasionally until the skins have kind of blistered and turned brown on all sides. (Since my broiler kind of heats unevenly, I removed things one by one as they became perfectly roasted. And I removed the garlic first, since I read that it can become bitter if it gets too browned).

Place all of the roasted stuff into a food processor or blender and puree. It doesn't have to be super-smooth, just evenly blended. Then pour the mixture into a crockpot set on high. Add the vegetable stock (you can use chicken stock too...I just happened to have the veggie stock on hand).

Dredge the pork butt chunks (OK, that just sounds wrong) in some flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Saute in a pan until browned on all sides, but not cooked through. Then add to the mixture in the crockpot. Saute onion in the pan until soft, then add the onion to the crock pot too.

Once the crockpot contents become pretty hot, turn to "low" and cook a few hours until the pork is nice and tender. Season with salt to taste.

Disclaimer: I lucked out in that my chile verde came out with the perfect amount of heat - nice and spicy, but not insanely spicy. I know jalapenos can vary in intensity, so you might want to test your jalapenos before you put them in, just to see how hot they are. If your chile's too hot, try adding some additional stock or pureed anaheim chiles to tame it. If it's too mild, you can always add some extra jalapenos.

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