As a former New Mexican, I know all about the culinary charms of a certain chile pepper. Grown in the Hatch Valley in Hatch, New Mexico, the Hatch Green Chile (in case you forget….hehe) is a gigantic part of the states’ cultural identity, and it’s no wonder. This chile is the bomb-digitty, mac-daddy, beating heart of the region’s cuisine (think burritos, enchiladas, chile rellenos to name a few) and you just can’t get it anywhere else. You can’t get enough of it, either.
Late summer, early fall means harvest time. By the side of the road, big propane fired metal roasters fill the air with the smell of roasted green goodness, the sizzling of their hot seeds snapping like popcorn on crack. There are Chile festivals, Chile cook-offs, Chile eating contests, all things Chile. And it’s all so wonderfully good. OMG, it makes me crazy just to think about it…I think my blood still runs a little green.
So were you lucky enough to score some Hatch Green Chile this season? (It’s like Christmas for New Mexicans but if you don’t happen to find yourself in the great Southwest this time of year it gets a little tougher to come by) Oh, happy day for you! This is super easy and great for a chile cookin’ beginner. Make a big pot of this and throw some potatoes in for a stew, OR, roll it up in a tortilla, OR, put it over eggs for breakfast, OR, scramble those eggs, roll ’em in a tortilla and smother it with this and some cheese…….
OR you can put it over some roasted sweet potatoes and cauliflower like I did.
Start with some pork shoulder. I started with a 3lb. piece that I spent most of my time trimming because I do not like too much fat visible in the end product…..but you gotta use the fatty cuts like this to get that super yummy, melt in your mouth deliciousness so just go with it, the rest of this is a snap! Cut your meat into inch or so sized chunks and give em a shake in a gallon sized storage bag filled with seasoned flour. Brown up your meat in batches. You want to make sure it has room to get some nice color. Now chop up a tomato.
Smash up one or two garlic cloves…..
And throw them into the pool you created with the browned pork that you returned to the pot and covered just barely to the top with chicken or beef stock. Add some cumin and oregano. Now put this to a low simmer (barely a little bubble here and there….NOT a rolling boil) ……
….and put a lid on it and let it go! Yes, walk away! Okay, not forever but for an hour or so, until the meat is very tender when you poke at it with a fork. Take a piece out and try to
not eat it pull it apart to check. The sauce should be nicely thickened as well. You can do this in a crock pot if you like, but it really doesn’t need that much time and then you’ll just end up with more dirty dishes……so……that may not be your best choice, if you are lazy like me!
Now add that gorgeous green chile. Taste for salt? Let it cook a little while longer. Dust it with some chopped cilantro. Remain calm. It’s almost ready. You have some veggies to roast up!
I choose these two because I happened to have them in the fridge! And I happen to love them both with this. Roasted veggies are so good (and so simple) any time but the bland starchiness of the cauliflower plus the sweetness in the potatoes just play really well with the subtle spice of the chile. Chick peas (garbanzo beans) and cauliflower would be great too. Just straight up cauliflower would be fine. Shoot, just open a can of beans if you want…..
Because you can put Green Chile ANYTHING (pork, beef, chicken, vegetarian) over anything and EVERYTHING, and it will be crazy muy bueno!
Get the recipe below:
- 3lb pork shoulder roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into approximately inch-1/2 size pieces
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2-3 cups of chicken or beef broth (approx)
- chopped green chile* (peeled and seeded!)
- 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerettes
- 2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into inch chunks
- Sour cream (totally optional)
- Combine flour, salt and pepper into a gallon size storage bag
- Trim fat from the pork and cut into fairly equal inch to 1-1/2 inch size cubes, then add to the bag with the seasoned flour and shake to coat. I don't have to tell you to seal the bag first, right?
- Add enough olive oil to liberally coat the bottom of a soup pot. Turn heat to med-high.
- When the pot is nice and hot, add some of the flour-dredged pork. Cook, about two-three minutes per side. Make sure to do this in batches so that you don't crowd the pot.** Remove each batch as you go and add more olive oil, as you continue to brown up the pork.
- Once the last batch of pork is browned, add it all back to the soup pot. Stir in the cumin and dried oregano.
- Turn the heat to low, and add the garlic and chopped tomatoes. Cover this barely to the top with the chicken (or beef) broth. Cover, and let simmer on low for at least an hour.
- Check on the doneness of the meat. It should come apart fairly easily, but either way, now is the time to stir in the green chile and cilantro. Cover and continue cooking for another 1/2 hour (or longer) until meat is super tender.
- Turn your oven to 375°
- On a large sheet pan, spread out the cubed sweet potatoes and cauliflower.
- Drizzle enough olive oil to thoroughly coat the veggies. Sprinkle with kosher salt and some black pepper to taste.
- Let this roast on the top shelf in your oven for 15 - 35 minutes. Check on them every ten minutes or so, and give them a stir until they are golden and tender.
- Pop some of your veggies in a bowl and ladle over that beautiful green chile! Dollop with sour cream if you like.
- * you can use as much as you want! Green chile varies in heat and YOUR taste (tolerance) for it. I used about 8 peeled and seeded Hatch Green Chiles for this. I would of liked more but I didn't want to inflict any damage on any of the chile virgins I was serving this to.
- ** crowding the pot makes it almost impossible to get the meat to brown...and instead it will steam. You don't want that.