Friday, April 12, 2013

Chile Verde

As you may have surmised from previous posts, I'm Danish, but I grew up in Canada.  Also and luckily for me, my mother was a great cook, she loved to try new stuff, as well as the old tried and true.   So when we moved to Canada, she cooked mainly Danish dishes, but would also branch out and make Italian food, or East Indian curries as well as some more mainstream Canadian foods.  But thanks to her willingness to try new foods, myself and all of my sibs cook pretty much internationally.   I make dishes from my Danish childhood, some Chinese, some east Indian, many very American foods, and also Mexican.     Pretty much whatever floats my boat and tickles the taste buds of my husband.    
Chile Verde with Tortillas
I was introduced to Mexican Cuisine after meeting my husband to be, I had always wanted to try it, but in my hometown, eating ethnic was pretty much either Chinese food or Canadian.   (I did say I was Danish, so to me Canadian food was ethnic).    I look back now and laugh, (I laughed that day too, but...), the day my then boyfriend, now husband,  and I met his sister and her boys for dinner at a Mexican Restaurant, and I watched as they shoveled Salsa onto tortilla chips and ate them like they were starving.   As they munched away, they made little happy sounds and said stuff like, "Ooh this is so good' as they were shoveling the chips and salsa in so I wanted to try it too.      I copied them, scooped a nice big chunk of salsa onto a chip, and popped it into  my mouth and started to chew, just as they warned me to take a smaller bite, but WHOOO WEEE    They had warned me, but I was like, "gee, I like spicy food, how hot can it be'?.   Well, the tears started running down my face, I had trouble catching my breath, my lips and tongue were on fire, and but, wow, was that good stuff.    After downing the contents of my glass of water, and that of my DH's, I was ready to try it again.    The next time, I was a little more cautious of the salsa, but I have to say, it was still pretty darn awesome.    And I don't think I've ever had salsa that good or hot again, lol.    Seriously, I fell in love with Mexican food, and have continued to enjoy it whenever I can.   Luckily for me I used to live in a place where there were some good, some great and some fantastic Mexican restaurants on almost every corner.   Sort of like the Chinese restaurants were when I was growing up.     Along the way I also started to learn how to cook some Americanized versions of the Mexican dishes I liked.     After all, a person can't go out to eat all the time.   

I now live in an area that doesn't have a lot of Mexican restaurants, and those that we do have, don't have the dishes we are used to.   So, now if we get in the mood for Mexican, I go ahead and make it.    One of our favourite dishes is Chile Verde, a pork stew made with Anaheim Chile's,Jalapeno's and Tomatillo's. 
Chile Verde with Tortillas

When I make it, I make a lot, it freezes well, and is also the basis for my version of Huevo Ranchero's.  
Start with a good cut of pork, slice it up into chops, I buy my pork at Sam's Club and generally get a whole loin at a time.   It works out cheaper that way per pound and I know what I'm getting.
Brown them in a little olive oil, or if you're being really bad, some rendered lard (that you just made from the fat trimmings).
Brown them well on each side, sprinkling a little salt on them after turning them once.    After removing the chops from the pan, cut them in bite size pieces and dump them into a large pot.

  Add some fresh Tomatillo's, some Anaheim chiles,a couple of Jalapeno's,  a little salt, maybe a 1/2 tsp. or so, cover and let simmer for a couple of hours.   If you can't find fresh tomatillo's, then add some canned salsa verde or even some canned Tomatillo's.    Quite frankly, either method works.
After simmering, let cool and put it in the fridge overnight.    The next day, pull it out, heat it up and check for seasonings, this is when I add a couple (well three or more) jalapeno's, finely minced,  (we like it hot), and to finish it off, a can of Stokes Green Chile sauce.    If you can't find some Stokes, then add a small can of green enchilada sauce at this point.   Simmer for about an hour and serve with fresh hot homemade tortilla's.
Chile Verde with Tortillas
I love Chile Verde, it is the most versatile meal.   We like it in a bowl with the tortilla's on the side.

I make my own Tortilla's as well, it just adds something to the whole experience.    And I'm not too proud to say that a good tortilla mix is not a bad thing at all.   I like Quaker Harina Preparada para tortilla mix.

Divided and ready to roll out.
Ready to go into a nice hot pan.

Tortillas fresh from the pan
See that butter pooling on top?

It's also great served over Mexican style rice, or rolled up in a burrito with some fresh made Refried beans.     And if there's any leftovers, well, let me put it like this, Huevo's Ranchero's.  I'll share the how to's on that later this week.

Recipe:  Chile Verde

You can adjust this for heat, we like it on the mouth searing side, just short of volcanic hot.
2 lbs. pork roast, loin, or shoulder doesn't really matter what cut of pork, cut into cubes.
olive oil for browning
Tomatillo's about 8 or so (mexican tomatoes) husk removed and cut into quarters.
Canned Anaheim or Hatch Chiles about 6 of the 4 oz. cans or one large can chopped or...
fresh Anaheim chiles, roasted and peeled, roughly 6-8 fresh ones per 2 lbs of meat.
 1-4 whole jalapeno's for heat, thrown in whole to cook down. 
Green Enchilada sauce or
Stokes Green Chile Sauce with Pork or
the new Verde Salsa put out by Pace I just tried it and it works great.

Brown the pork and place in pot, with chiles, tomatillo's, jalapenos and enough water to cover, set over low heat and simmer for 2 hours or until meat is tender. Cover and refrigerate overnight and the next day add one large can green enchilada sauce or 1 large can Stokes Green Chile sauce or the Pace Verde Salsa and simmer for half an hour. The chiles should have cooked out and will help to make the sauce. If you like you can make a roux out of 1 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp butter to stir in to thicken the liquid.
Serve with fresh warm tortillas and or Mexican rice.

Sidsel Munkholm - Author
Sidsel Munkholm - Author

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

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