Colorado Green Chile
I cannot believe that summer is coming to a close. I feel like we missed so much of it- I have yet to make it to a baseball game, I have not been to see a single summer blockbuster, I have not even made it to the pool! Even though I feel like I have not done much as far as summer, I am definitely ready for fall. We got to Southeast Asia in early February, so we have been hot and sweaty and looking forward to cooler temperatures since about March. But now it is here and I feel like summer has passed me by. Sigh. The grass is always greener. Fortunately, we are getting back into a routine here, working more and getting back into the swing of things after the slew of weddings and travel. The Recipe Redux for August shadows that very theme:
“After the hustle and bustle of the holiday/vacation season, August is the time many families get ‘back to routine.’ Show us your favorite recipe to help families get ‘back to the dinner table.’ It might be a favorite family recipe from your childhood that you’ve ReDuxed; or maybe it’s your family’s current favorite.Let’s all gather back at the table!”
For me, that means making a big ol’ batch of green chile to keep on hand during the winter. It seems like everywhere has their own version or take on Mexican food flavor profiles- in Texas they have their Tex-Mex, in California they have those epic burritos and here in Colorado we have our version which includes copious amounts of green chile and I wouldn’t have it any other way! This recipe is based on the one that appears in the Colorado Cache cookbook from the La Bola restaurant in Denver. That was the recipe my mom always made and always had in the freezer, ready to pull out at a moments notice to smother out burritos with for a quick weeknight dinner. Not only is it absolutely superb, but it makes a huge batch and we always had some in our freezer while I was growing up. When school started and we “got back to the dinner table” it was usually to gather around a bowl of green chile. Or a burrito smothered in green chile. Or anything, really smothered in this amazing stuff.
This version is loosely based on that, instead of canned everything, this version uses fresh everything. It is a little more work, but the flavors cannot be beat and it makes a huge batch- it keeps for a week in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer. Or make a double or triple batch using all the amazing fresh produce available now to ensure you have plenty all winter long.
The tomatoes pack a serious wallop of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps fight prostate cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and even help prevent skin aging. Cooking tomatoes, like in green chile, makes the lycopene more bioavailable and cooking it with a little fat (like the olive oil and the fat from the pork) helps it to be absorbed and used even more effectively.
Based on the Chile Verde from La Bola Restaurant in Denver
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1½ lbs Fresh Tomatoes
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion
- 3 tsp Sugar, divided
- 1½ lbs Pork Shoulder
- 1 lb Assorted Fresh Peppers (I use a mix of poblanos, jalapenos, serranos and a few bell peppers)
- 4 cloves of Garlic
- 8 oz can of Tomato Sauce
- 2 cups water or broth
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Wash, core and rough chop tomatoes.
- Peel and rough chop onions.
- Chop pork shoulder into bite sized pieces.
- In a large (larger than 3 quarts) oven proof pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the pork shoulder and brown on all sides. Add onions and tomatoes to pan, sprinkle with 1 tsp of sugar and put the pan in the oven.
- Roast pork, tomatoes and onions for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, stir once, sprinkle with another tsp of sugar and return to the oven.
- Meanwhile, while the tomatoes and pork are roasting in the oven, roast peppers until they are black and charred. This can be done over a hot grill or over a gas flame on a gas stove. Or, you can buy roasted peppers- you can usually find roasted peppers at Farmer's Markets.
- When peppers are charred, remove them from the heat and immediately place them in plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and wrap them tightly for 15-20 minutes or until they are soft.
- Working carefully, they will be hot, remove the stems and as much of the skin as you can. Finely chop the peppers.
- Mince the garlic.
- Remove the tomato/onion/pork pan from the oven. Be so careful!
- Place the pan back on the stove. Heat over medium heat.
- Add the broth or water, the roasted peppers, minced garlic, tomato sauce, remaining 1 tsp sugar and garlic powder. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and finish with fresh cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.
Fill a large bowl with water and ice.
Dunk the tomatoes into the boiling water a few at a time and allow them to sit in the boiling water for about 2 minutes.
Remove and dunk in the ice water to cool.
This makes the tomatoes easier to peel, if you wish to peel them. It is totally optional, I don't mind the peels and I am lazy and hate to dirty every pot in the house, so I usually leave my peels on.