Fall Chili Verde

By September 9, 2011Contests, Food, Main Courses, Paleo, Soups

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Back in August we received an email from a lovely woman at Marx Foods asking if we wanted to participate in a recipe contest. Contest!? Food!? Um, YES! The hitch as it turned out was that we had to design a recipe that makes use of one or more varieties of dried chilies, which they sent to our door. Can I just say how cool it was to receive chilies in the mail? Very cool!

We were filled with ideas on what we could possibly make with these chilies, but as we just went Paleo two weeks ago, knew we needed to stick with something healthy and comprised of plenty of veggies and lean organic meat.

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As temperatures have dipped into the low 70’s and even the upper 40’s overnight this week, fall thankfully appears to be on its way. So we decided it’s ample time to bring back our much beloved chili. We’ve been seeing chili verde on a lot of the cooking shows we’ve been watching recently and decided we had to give it a try for ourselves.

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Surprisingly, despite our chili obsession, we’ve never made chili verde before, nor have we ever worked with tomatillos. Again, we completely baffle ourselves sometimes.

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Because the chile samples were dehydrated, we reconstituted them using Marx’s method of boiling water and submerging the chilies for 15 minutes. Worked like a charm!

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Blending chiles + tomatillos + cilantro smells so good. The kitchen smelled amazing, especially after we left the chili simmer for 2 ½ hours!

Ingredients:

2 ½ lb lean pork steaks (any lean pork cut will do)
2 pounds tomatillos
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 white onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro
Juice from 1 lime
2 teaspoons dried habanero chile, reconstituted and de-seeded (¼ to ½ of the pepper)
2 Aji Amarillo chilies, reconstituted and de-seeded
1 tablespoon cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon black pepper
Agar powder (optional)
Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut pork steaks into ½ inch cubes. Heat the olive oil over medium high in a large pan or dutch oven and add the pork. Cook pork until browned (4-5 minutes) and remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving the drippings left over in the pan.
  2. Add the onions and garlic to the oil and drippings and sauté until the onions start to brown (around 7-10 minutes). Lower heat to, then add the cumin, paprika and black pepper mix well.
  3. Add the chicken broth to the onion and spice mixture, and stir to thoroughly combine. Re-add the pork back to the pan/dutch oven stir and bring the entire mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  4. Peel, wash and dry the tomatillos. In a large skillet over medium, combine them with the habanero and Aji Amarillo chilies and char, turning them over often until the skins begin to blacken (10-11 minutes).
  5. Place the tomatillos, habanero, cilantro, and lime juice into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. Add to tomatillo/pepper mixture to the pork and continue to simmer for 2 to 2 ½ hours or until the pork is tender enough to break apart. The sauce will thicken as it reduces, however to thicken it more, slowly add a teaspoon or two of Agar powder to thicken to desired consistency. Serve with avocado and/or additional salt to taste (I added a little rosemary because I’m weird like that).

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Light, spicy and easy to throw together, it is the perfect dish for an array of fall events. The chilies gave it a fresh and spicy flavor that complimented the tangy flavor of the tomatillos and the salty pork. It would be perfect for tailgates or to cuddle up on the porch with as we did.

What is your quintessential must-have fall dish?

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