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    « But I Don't Have Buttermilk... | Main | With Caramel, Even Failure is Delicious »
    Tuesday
    Oct252011

    I Like Big Butts

    Big pork butts, that is. Which strangely, is not meat from the posterior of a pig. Pork butt comes from the shoulder. Unlike a rump roast of beef which really is cow butt.

    And really the best thing to do with a pig's shoulder is to make it into Chili Verde. Green Chili. There are only a few restrictions when making this dish, one of them being that stuff must be green. (except the butt... shoulder... green butts should not be used in this dish)

    Hatch chilis are apparently the ideal, but I'm nowhere near New Mexico where they grow, and I was lucky enough to find both tomatillos and Poblanos in the grocery in the same week, so I grabbed all of the tomatillos in the store. All of them. I'm evil like that. Plus, most recipes I'd seen called for a pound, and I had no idea how many tomatillos constitute a pound so I bought them all. (still don't know, I just used all the ones I bought)

    Chili Verde

    What You Need:

    • ¼ cup oil
    • 4-4 ½ lbs pork butt
    • 2 onions
    • 4 coves garlic
    • 2 Anaheim peppers
    • 2 Poblano peppers
    • 2 jalapeno peppers
    • 12 tomatillos
    • 1 tbsp cumin
    • 1 tbsp coriander
    • 1 tbsp oregano
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 bunch of cilatnro
    • 3 tbsp masa (corn flour)
    • 4 cups water or chicken stock
    • lime

    What You Gotta Do:

    Like most chilis, this one starts out with a bunch of chopping. It's really not too bad though, just kinda repetitive since you have to seed and chop a total of at least 8 peppers.

    Seeding them is easiest done by cutting around the top of the pepper, then popping the top off. You should get most of the seeds out this way.

    I found 2 Anaheim and 4 Poblano, so that's what I used, but feel free to mix it up and use whatever kind you want, as long as they're green.

    Chop the onion, garlic, and cilantro as well, then start in on the tomatillos.

    First thing you have to do with them, is peel them.

    Then, they get a bath to wash off the sticky. They're sticky under that papery stuff, and I think it must be some kind of protective surfactant, because they totally make suds in the water. 

    Once you've got them chopped and set aside with the rest of the veg,

    it's time to start in on the meat. I always do the meat last so I only have to dirty one cutting board.

    First thing to do is trim off the lovely layer of pork fat.

    I cut that into chunks

    and froze them individually on a bit of plastic, then tossed them into a freezer bag. They're perfect for adding to a nice big pot of beans.

    Then trim as much meat as you can off the bone. (I packaged the fat chunks after the trimming)

    You start out with a 4 pound butt, but really, once you get it all chopped up, there's nowhere near 4 pounds of meat there. (And there's a naughty joke in there somewhere, I just can't find it)

    Heat the oil in a big pot over medium high, and start browning your pork chunks.

    It took me about 3 batches to do this. You don't want too much meat in there at once, or it won't brown nicely and leave those yummy little brown bits on the bottom of the pan (which are the whole point of this step).

    Once you've got all the meat seared and removed from the pot, you can drain off any excess fat. I'll leave you to define excess for yourself (I didn't drain anything).

    Now, most recipes will tell you to start with the onions and cook them for 5 minutes, then add something else and cook for another 5 minutes... to a stew that's going to be simmering for 3 hous.

    I did the onion thing, and then added the spices

    And then decided there was little point in adding the rest in stages. Hell, I'm no longer convinced the onions need that 5 minute head start.

    Dump in your veggies all at once.

    You are welcome to give them a few minutes to get acclimatized to their new surroundings (I did), but again: 3 hours. It's not like this is some kind of delicate pastry. It's a freaking stew that's going to be in a pot for the better part of the afternoon.

    Now we can dump the pork back in, and toss in the masa along with it.

    Some recipes will insists that you pre-toss the meat in the masa, but again, I'm seeing nothing more than extra steps with that. It's all going to end up stirred up together, and the meat is going to cook until it falls apart, so it's not like the masa really neeeeeeds to be on the meat.

    Just stir it all together and then add the liquid. Water, broth, stock, or any combination thereof, just make sure you've got about 4 cups of it. I had about a cup of broth in the freezer, so I used it and 3 cups of water.

    Bring this to a boil then reduce the heat so that it's just simmering when the lid is on.

    And now the fun part.

    Go do something else for three hours.

    Sure, you can come back and stir from time to time, but that is really your only obligation for the rest of the afternoon.

    Me, I did math.

    Until the meat was so soft and tender that it fell apart when you pressed it against the wall of the pot with the spoon.

    And then keep doing that until the meat is all nice and shreddy.

    Then add a squeeze or two of lime.

    And serve it with a bit of sour cream, and some chips on the side.

    The pot full of chili verde gave me a total of 4 sets of dinner/lunch freezer bags. And it's killing me to not eat them every day for the rest of this week.

    What could you eat for dinner every night of the week?

    Reader Comments (4)

    Dude! That looks amazing! Hubby sometimes gets chili verde burritos at Mexican restaurants, but I never thought of making it at home. I also never thought of eating it like chili, and not just over a burrito.

    October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTaneasha

    We do get Hatch chiles here in Dallas. When they're in season, you can find people roasting them in front of groceries and on the side of the road. One step I would add for cooks who are feeling up to it is to grill or broil the chiles at high heat on all sides until the skin bubbles and blackens. Remove them from the heat before they burn and store them inside a bag to let residual heat steam them. Once the chiles are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skins. Most should come off easily, though there may be patches that remain stuck.

    We also call them chiles, not chili or chilli or chillie or chilly what have you, perhaps due to our proximity to Mexico.

    October 25, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterthe recipe guy

    I'm nowhere near Mexico and it's darn chilly!

    October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSeeley deBorn

    My recipe for chili verde is somewhat different from yours, but I have to agree that there are few things that are as ridiculously fabulous as a good bowl of this stuff. Though it looks kind icky in pictures.

    June 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElise Logan

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