This chile verde is the definition of comfort food! Slowly cooked pork shoulder with tomatillos, green chillies and a handful of spices delivers a stew full of flavour and heat.
Can’t get enough of these flavours? Take a look at out Crowd Pleasing Chili Recipe while you are at it. Simple and always satisfying!
Most of the time I absolutely love living in England. Once in a while I do grumble about the the population density and a serious lack of quality Mexican food.
The latter is easier to fix. All I have to do is to I turn to my tried and true recipes and cook at home.
And here is my best tasting and as close to the original as possible Mexican Chile Verde recipe using ingredients available in Europe.
Green Chili Recipe
Chile verde aka green chili is a Mexican American classic and is traditionally made slowly cooked pork shoulder, tomatillos and green chilies, both of which give it a distinctive green colour.
Although not exotic for North America, tomatillos are nearly impossible to find across the ocean. Do not despair. A quick research taught me that tomatillos are closely related to physalis, also known as cape gooseberries. And they are always available in the UK supermarkets.
Physalis is a great substitute for tomatillos. Unfortunately they won’t give you that green colour we are after. So I decided to add padron peppers for the lack of poblano peppers, which are traditionally used.
Padron peppers taste is delicate and vibrant. They are mostly mild but once in while you hit the jackpot and stumble upon a spicy one. Their cousins are called shishito peppers.
Apart from the delicious taste their main contribution was putting much needed ‘green’ in this chile verde.
How to Make It
Now that we’ve gone through the list some unknown ingredients, let me tell you that this dish is very simple to make. Just throw everything together type of cooking.
The results, however, are far from simple or plain. Here are my tips:
- Broil the padron (or poblano) peppers until their skins are blistered for deeper, richer taste.
- Use a small amount of bacon for a hint of smoky flavour.
- Choose the right cut of pork like shoulder or butt. Avoid lean cuts like loin or tenderloin.
- Brown the pork oven high heat for extra depth.
- Use jalapenos and copious amounts of garlic to create spicy and bold flavours.
- Cook on the stove top on the lowest setting possible or move it to the oven and cook at 250F/120C for 5 hours.
The slow cooking process is responsible for deep flavour. The ingredients seamlessly blend together and enrich each other in a beautiful and spicy medley.
This recipe is also suitable for a slow cooker although I used my Dutch oven and a stovetop instead. You can definitely use your crock pot if that’s what you prefer and cook for 8 hours on Low.
How To Serve This Pork Stew
You can serve this chile over steamed rice or as a filling for tacos and burritos. We usually top chile verde with some sour cream, grated cheese and chopped fresh cilantro. Simple and delicious.
You can also use the meat as a filling for quesadillas and burritos.
The recipe makes enough to freeze. It will keep in your freezer up to one month without losing flavour and the texture.
More Favourite Mexican-Inspired Recipes to Try:
- Best Ground Beef Tacos
- Chicken Chilaquiles with Warm Corn Salsa
- Fish Tacos with Blackberry Chilli Lime Salsa
- Black Bean and Corn Salsa
This recipe was originally published in 10/2014. Updated and republished in 02/2021
- 50g/2-3 strips pork lardons or bacon chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 1-2 heads garlic minced
- 150g/1.5 cups tomatillos or physalis halved
- 150g (15 padron peppers) poblano peppers or padron peppers
- 2-3 jalapenos peppers finely chopped, seeds and membranes removed
- 2 lbs pork shoulder or butt cubed
- 50g/1/2 cup cilantro/coriander chopped
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp salt
- 1.5 litre water
- Set your oven setting on broil and move the rack so it's approximately 6 inches away from the element.
- Put padron peppers on a baking sheet and broil for 3-5 minutes until the skins are blistered. Pay close attention to avoid burning. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- In a deep cast iron pot fry pork lardons or bacon on medium-high heat until all visible fat melts. Then add onion, garlic, physalis or tomatillos if using and jalapeno peppers and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, remove from the pot and set aside.
- To the same pot add large pork cubes and sear on the outside surface, return pork lardon and vegetables to the pot, add chopped padron peppers, cilantro, cumin, salt and water.
- Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible, cover with a lid and simmer for 4-5 hours. 30 minutes before cooking time is up take all pork out with a slotted spoon and put it in a bowl, shred it with two forks, then return back to the pot.
- Alternatively you can cook this chili in a slow cooker for 8 hours on LOW or 4-5 hours on HIGH.
- Serve over steamed rice topped with shredded cheese or use as a filling for burritos and tacos.