Living in Colorado in the fall taught me to long for New Mexico Hatch Chilies. If you have ever been lucky enough to smell these beautiful chilies roasting, you know what I mean! There is a festival in New Mexico to celebrate the Hatch Chili the first weekend in September. They roast these peppers in a huge metal drum with a handle that turns the chilies over an open flame. The perfume they give off while roasting will make your mouth water if you love Southwestern or Tex-Mex food.
Last Fall our local grocery store here in Nebraska sold Hatch chilies for 2 weeks. I went crazy buying, roasting, and freezing this peppers. All year long I used them to add to recipes and am beginning to run out! Yesterday I sat gazing at a boneless pork shoulder roast wondering what it would be at dinner time? My mind went blank until I started moving things around in the freezer. I found my Hatch chilies laying calmly under a bag of green beans and knew what we would have for dinner...Pork Chili Verde Enchiladas!
Let me say first that this is not a quick meal. If you are going to be home all day and want to make this recipe go for it. It's not a hard recipe,it just needs to cook several hours to develop the full flavor of the Chili Verde. I promise if you make it you will not be sorry! You can use an Anaheim Chili pepper if it's not Hatch Chili season. Some people use canned green chili's, you can but you won't get the same flavor. If you can't get the Anaheim green chili, use a Poblano & Jalapeno pepper. Tomatillos are the other ingredient that makes it a salsa verde or chili verde. These little jewels look like tiny green tomatoes with a brown paper on the outside.
To prepare your chili peppers for the verde you need to roast them on the grill or in the oven. Wash them well, pat dry and rub lightly with canola oil. Place them on a pan in a 375 degree oven or over a medium flame if using a gas grill. Roast peppers until skin blisters & is blackened. You will need to turn them several times to prevent burning. Take them out while hot and place them in a ziploc bag. Let them cool for 15 minutes or more,then while in the bag, rub the pepper to remove the charred skin. Transfer to a cutting board and remove stem. Cut peppers open and remove seeds seeds and any remaining charred skin. Chop in small pieces and set aside. Any pepper, tomatillo, onion, or garlic that is used in a salsa verde or chili verde needs to be roasted in this same way. This creates the roasted & mellow taste you want for this dish. Tomatillos do not have to have charred skins removed, but chop in 1/4 inch chunks after they are roasted, save juice that runs from them to add to chili.
Pork Chili Verde Enchiladas
Makes 12 Servings
2 lbs boneless lean Pork Shoulder-cut into 1/2 inch cubes & seasoned with
salt & pepper
3/4 cup flour,for dredging meat (can use gluten free flour)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tablespoon cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1/4 cup canola oil
1 medium onion-peeled & roasted then diced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 large Hatch or Anaheim green chili's roasted & diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 large jalapeno -roasted & diced into 1/4 inch pieces
4 tomatillos- husks removed &roasted then diced into 1/4 inch pieces
4 cloves roasted garlic, roasted then peeled & finely minced
4 cups chicken broth
12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese, Monterey jack or pepper jack, reserve part for topping the enchiladas
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
After roasting and preparing peppers, onions, tomatillos, chop ingredients into 1/4 in pieces.
Finely mince the garlic, if roasted it will be soft & won't need mincing.
Mix 3/4 cup flour with 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 Tablespoon cumin,
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano. Salt & pepper pork and cut into 1/2 inch cubes and dredge in flour mixture.
In a large dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup canola oil to medium-high to sear meat. Shake off excessive flour mixture and place coated pork pieces in the dutch oven. Cook until light brown and then reduce heat to medium.
Add peppers, onions, tomatillos & garlic to meat and stir to combine. Then add remaining spices: 1 tsp black pepper, 1 Tablespoon cumin,& 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano. Stir spices into pepper/meat mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 4 cups of chicken broth and stir well. Cook uncovered on low heat for 1-2 hours, or until sauce is thick and pork is fork tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. If it gets to thick add more chicken broth or liquid in small amounts desired consistency. Taste before serving and add salt if needed.
To make Enchiladas
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In a 13x9 baking dish ladle small amount of the Chili Verde sauce on the bottom. In a small non-stick skillet, heat 1/4 cup canola oil to medium high heat. Oil should not be so hot it fries tortilla hard, just softens them enough to roll. Takes about 30 seconds on each side. When you remove it from the oil, blot with a paper towel. After warming all tortillas begin rolling the Enchilada's by placing grated cheese down the center of a tortilla. Roll Enchiladas cigar fashion and place seam side down in baking dish. Ladle Chili Verde over the top of Enchiladas. May not take all the chili to cover, but can be served on the side for those who want more. Top with remaining grated cheese. Place in preheated 400 degree oven & bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with cilantro & serve.
When I made this recipe last night, I cut the pork larger than 1/2 inch, closer to 1 inch. I thought the 1 inch was a little too large but my husband liked the bigger pieces. It's just a matter of preference. Hope you try this and enjoy it. If you do , post a comment and let me know what you think.