Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Green Chili Stew- with Pork or Vegetarian

Happy Spring!

I thought I would share a recipe that I taught to cooking class here last night. Green chili peppers are popular here in Colorado and especially irresistible when you walk by the chili roaster at the farmers market.   
Here is my own take on Green chili stew. I don't know if this recipe is authentic or not but most green chili recipes seem to have pork in them. I added in potatoes for the vegetarian version and liked it so well I added them to the meat version too.
Just a note on nutrition. Green chili peppers are high in vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A. Capsaicin  has anticoagulant properties which may help lessen chance of heart attacks. Lots of good antioxidants in green chilies.
Okay, here is my version of a Colorado classic. By the way, at cooking class, i thought I would tone it down by skipping the jalapeno and it was bland. I ended up adding jalapeno back in half way through. It may be easiest to use a portion of canned jalapeno if you are worried about cutting it up.

Green Chili

All amounts are approximate, it is fine to vary this recipe.

7-9   large mild green chilies, more is better *

Oil, vegetable or canola,( or you could cook a few slices of bacon to throw in and cook in some of the rendered bacon fat)

2 lb. pork for chili, more or less ( trimmed and cut up loin or shoulder would be fine) [ You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or skip meat for vegetarians but pork tastes great!)

1-1 ½  onions, diced

1-2  jalapeno, de-seeded and finely minced in food processor or by hand OR use a couple TBSPN canned

3 garlic cloves, crushed

3-4 cups of broth or 1 can chicken broth  plus 1-2 cups water

5-6 medium red potatoes or 3 or 4 large russets, peeled and chopped

Cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon pepper, kosher salt, black pepper – some to sprinkle meat before cooking and then starting with  about ½ tsp.each – add to taste.Maybe a pinch of red pepper.

Optional-1 can diced tomato or a couple fresh, seeded (visually nice to keep this white and green but tomato tastes good-your call)

A TBSPN or two of lime juice

1 bell pepper diced

1 can white kidney beans or Pinto beans ( may use one can of each)

Corn tortillas

* This can be made partially with canned green chilies if fresh chilies are not cheap. I usually use a couple small cans  along with 5 or so chilies except during summer months when there is an abundance of fresh Anaheim, poblano/ Pasilla or New Mexico chilies.  These are in order of hotness. I like to mix Anaheim and poblano.

Anaheim are mildest, great for dicing, pureeing and perfect addition to most Mexican dishes. Skin can be  tough and so it is best to roast and then peel skin. 

Poblano or Pasilla is my favorite, especially for chili rellenos . Thinner skin and both hotter and sweeter than Anaheim but they often cost more. Dried it is called Ancho.  While it is great to  roast and peel these, it can be difficult sometimes, I am not sure why. If you have difficulty or if you want, puree these without peeling and see what you think. I think skin is even thinner in summer.
New Mexican chilies are a lot like Anaheim with a deeper, hotter flavor. These are not as hot as jalapeños but can be a bit intense for some palettes. They are best roasted and peeled. They have an awesome flavor.
Jalapeños are not mild but not too hot if you remove the seeds and white ribs inside. I use gloves to do this and am careful not to touch my eyes or breathe too deeply. Once cooked it is much less caustic. I really like the idea of canned jalpenos! Just use a Tablespoon or two and freeze the rest for next time.

First roast the mild chilies. To roast, Clean chilies, but don’t dry. You could remove top at this time or later.  Place on foil on a pan and spray or brush with oil. A note on spraying  with oil- never use commercial spray for this! I bought a Misto oil sprayer and I love it. You can just put olive oil in it and pump it up and spray. Brushing with oil is fine too but a Misto may be good if you use things like Pam now for stuff.

Broil on high, watching carefully till skin is blistered and black. With tongs, turn chili during broiling.  
Remove and roll chilies up in foil for at least 15 minutes. Unroll and let cool. Remove top, seeds and skin. Mince chilies or better yet, place in food processor and purée. ( I throw in the garlic, too) I don’t roast jalapeños. This can be done ahead of time and even be stored in freezer for whenever you need some.

If I have my food processor out, before I purée the chilies, I use it chop the jalapeno as finely as I can. Add a little lime juice to help with the process. Then I add the chilies and continue to purée both together.

 Heat a bit of oil or 4-5 slices of bacon in large pan, heavy dutch oven is best. Pan should have generous width. You can do this while chilies cook. If using bacon, cook till crispy and remove from pan (re add when you add cooked meat back to pan later) but leave the rendered bacon fat and just add some  olive oil if needed.
Sprinkle spices and plenty of salt over pork( or chicken) and brown pork pieces over med heat , being careful not to crowd pan or turn them too soon. You can do this in batches. Let them sit and brown and check one after a couple minutes. If it releases and is brown turn them over. Remove to plate as they are brown on all sides.

Once all meat is browned and removed from the pan, add onion and sauté over low heat for 5 minutes. Add pureed chilies and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add potatoes and about a ½ tsp of all the spices and maybe 1 tsp salt. After a minute, add broth, water, lime juice, tomato if using and bring to low simmer over low heat and add pork back in but hold off for 15 minutes if you are using chicken.
After 15minutes check spice level. If it is not spiced to your liking, add more a little bit at a time, but be go slow, it can sneak up on you. This dish can be pretty spicy depending on the heat of the chilies so make sure before adding more. Then add minced bell peppers and chicken if using. Add more water or broth if desired. I like a soupier consistency so I add another ½ -1 cup.
For richer texture, dice a few corn tortillas and throw them in with the bell peppers. This will help thicken consistency and give a nice flavor.
Continue low-med simmer for about 20-30 more minutes. Check meat, potatoes and overall consistency. 
Quick fry some corn tortillas in veggie oil to serve. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot. Or may serve with corn bread.  Can top with cilantro and sour cream.
To make this vegetarian, skip the meat :-)   (really?) and use the tomato and two cans of beans, one pinto and one white kidney. I would also add the 2nd Jalapeno for extra punch. Use veggie broth instead of chicken.

  Recipe byDenise Birdsall All rights reserved. October 2010


  1. Lovely recipe...i wonder if I can do something similar with scotch bonnet. Hmm. Thanks for sharing. So cool that you teach a cooking class, by the way! You professional, you ;)

  2. Thank you. I think you could substitute scotch bonnets for the jalapeno but it will be hotter. You would need mild chili peppers still. If you don't get any fresh there you could try using canned. You could add more bell pepper to it. But more than 3 scotch bonnets will make this HOT.
    Eh, not so professional anymore. I used to have a catering business and taught cooking as a job. Now I teach the class but mostly take donations for a good cause-- this time it was for Japan. Its fun and I like to teach. Plus I can raise money for things that I care about.

  3. This is great! I had a roommate from Denver who made us green chili stew for dinner one night and I have never forgotten it! This recipe sounds wonderful; I'll bookmark this one.

  4. Green Chili, my favorite. When I'm cutting chili peppers I always coat my fingertips really well in olive oil. It does make them a little harder to handle, but it saves me a lot of pain!

  5. Glad to provide a recipe that brings fond memories :-)
    Mikaela, great tip! I will have to try that. I usually use gloves I have for just this purpose but it is sometimes inconvinient. I would guess that you only put oil on the chili holding hand not the one holding the knife for safety sake. Thanks so much for commenting!!

  6. Hi Denise! This sounds like a great dish! Speaking of chili peppers, I had a really bad experience that I thought I had to chop my finger off... I forgot about that. I didn't know how to handle chili peppers before and I thought I would die... Have a great weekend Denise!

  7. Yes, I think the hot ones can be rather dangerous. I usually wear gloves for jalapeno or hotter. The worst is touching eyes after hot peppers. But if prepared carefully, peppers can be great!
    I hope you enjoy your weekend Nami and that you have a happy Mother's day!

  8. I just want to grab a fork and dig in.