CHILE VERDE : Pork In Green Chile Salsa
Salsa chile verde takes its name from three types of green chiles, which are combined with green tomatillos to make an olive-green sauce with a gently tart and spicy edge. Never overpowering, it’s a perfect match for the richness of the pork. You can control the level of
heat by adding more jalapeños, substituting spicier serrano chiles, or leaving out the hot chiles altogether. For frying the pork, I like to use flavorful fresh (liquid) lard, called asiento, which I buy at my local Latin grocery. All the ingredients go into the slow cooker hot, so the dish cooks in about 2 hours.
This recipe is excellent with made with chuletas (pork chops) instead of diced pork.
Serve with rice, beans, and warm corn tortillas.
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1 whole clove
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
10 tomatillos (about 12 ounces total), husked and washed
2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed
8 Anaheim chiles, roasted, seeded, and diced
4 large cloves garlic
2½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh lard or vegetable oil
2½ pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into ¾-inch cubes
2 large poblano chiles, roasted, seeded, and diced
½ white onion, finely diced
1 cup water, Caldo de Pollo, or Caldo de Res
1 dried bay leaf
In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin, clove, and peppercorns until fragrant, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. Let cool completely and grind in a spice grinder.
Place the tomatillos and jalapeños in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes, or until barely soft. Drain immediately and place in a food processor along with the Anaheim chiles, garlic, and salt. Pulse until smooth.
Heat the lard in a large skillet over medium-high heat and, working in batches, brown the pork on one side without stirring the meat, then turn and brown on the other side. Return all the pork to the skillet and add the poblanos and onion and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ground spices and cook, stirring, for an additional 2 minutes, until the spices are fragrant. Transfer the pork mixture to a 5-quart slow cooker.
Reduce the skillet heat to medium. Add the contents of the food processor to the pan and cook, stirring, until the salsa is thick and begins to stick to the pan. Add the water and bay leaf to the pan and simmer, stirring once or twice, for 5 minutes. Stir into the pork in the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low 2 hours, or until the pork is tender.
Serve hot with a bowl of crema alongside.
Leftovers make an excellent filling for tamales.