C’s Chile Verde

Pork and green chili stew = happy

Hey Everybody! Long time no blog. Yeah, life has a way of taking over when one isn’t blogging. And also, one is kind of lazy. But one – okay me, well I’m back and I’ve brought with me an actual cooking video. As we find ourselves firmly entrenched in fall with winter on the horizon, I give to you the gift of chile verde. It’s a spicy and savory pork and chili stew – I prefer the Spanish spelling when naming the dish, the Anglo spelling when talking about actual chilis. It’s the perfect meal to keep you warm and satisfied on the inside and happy to be alive. Yeah, it’s pretty powerful stuff. Also, it’s bien rico (rather, extremely delicious).

I first encountered chile verde as a wee lad growing up in San Jose, CA when my parents took my sister and I to our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Burro.  Now having experienced a lot of good (and terrible – in NYC for sure) Mexican food, I’m not sure El Burro would necessarily hold up as a great Mexican restaurant. But there’s something about that dimly lit cavern of a restaurant – with it’s big leather bucket seats,  the pictures of bull fighters and rustic country scenes on the walls and the tortillas chips served with the most watery and bland (in retrospect) salsa – that holds a special place in my heart.  I remember my dad would always order the chile verde which consisted of tender cubes of pork served in a sea of really hot (temperature-wise) mildly spicy green sauce.  In between mouthfuls of chorizo enchilada (my go to dish at the time) I remember tasting the stewed pork and thinking, “not bad, not bad at all!”  Since those formative years, chile verde has become one of my go to dishes both when I order it, say stuffed inside a chimichanga or as a stand alone stew that I love to cook myself.  So, what follows is my version of chile verde,  a recipe that I’ve kind of developed over the last few years through trial and error and tasting of other versions of chile verde. For example, I used to not use tomatillos but after eating chile verde with tomatillos,  I now find them to be a a vital ingredient imparting the necessary acid or tartness that counter balances the spiciness of the chili and the richness of the pork.  So without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients: (as usual amounts are approximate)
1 head of garlic
2 mid sized onions
5-6 poblano chilis
1 1/2 lbs of tomatillos (can use tomatillo salsa)
1 1/2 pounds of potatoes
3-4 carrots
4 lbs of pork shoulder meat
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Oregano to taste
2-3 tablespoons of vinegar (for marinating the pork)

This is how I do it:

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C’s Carnitas!

A carnitas taco with homemade tomatillo salsa. Bien rico!

Roast pork of any sort is the bee’s knees. And by bee’s knees, I mean one of the greatest developments in the history of food – if you dig on the pig. So the Mexican style roast pork known as carnitas – literally “little meats” in Spanish – with it’s tender and crunchy bits is like the bee’s knees on steroids. Because good burritos and tacos were always readily available back in California, I never really had any need to make carnitas myself. But then I moved to NYC where the Mexican food was sorely lacking. Things have changed in the last few years.  There are better Mexican options and of course the Puerto Rican style pernil so prevalent in many of the Spanish American joints in NYCwill do in a pinch.  But I’ve found that when I have the craving for the moist, yet crispy morsels of savory pork, the best solution is to do it myself.  It’s so easy.  All it takes is a bit of time.  So without further ado, I present to you my version of carnitas. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
3-4 lbs of pork shoulder meat (cut into 1-2 inch cubes)
1-2 tbsp of white vinegar
1-2 tsp of salt
1-2 tsp of cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of paprika
1-2 tbsp of dried oregano

This is how I do it:

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