I’m sitting here looking at this recipe, doing my best to come up with an intro, and I’ve got to admit: I got nothin’! I mean, really… how many different ways can I tell you how much I love chili in all its forms and varieties? How many times do I need to repeat my reasons for having so many recipes from dead simple to complex and refined? I put myself in your place and I’m all “yeah, yeah, we know… get to the recipe…” I feel your pain. So, if you’ve read it all before, please feel free to skim right through this. But for new visitors – hopefully soon-to-be-regular visitors who will know all of this stuff cold – let me go through this, so you’ll know what I’m all about. Because… I’m all about that chili…
I’m a seventh generation Texan on both sides of my family. Tex-Mex food is almost a religion for me and boy, do I give thanks for Mexican food! While my mother would deny it if she were alive today, I’m pretty sure there was a little Jalapeno juice in my baby bottles. I wouldn’t be surprised if my first baby food was pureed chiles, albeit of a milder variety.
With the exception of Germany, my family – meaning my father – always found a decent Mexican restaurant wherever we lived. Not just any room with a Mexican sounding name, mind you. Dad set a high bar, and was willing to drive to get to the right restaurant. For the first fifteen years+/- we spent in Northern Virginia, we drove almost an hour to get to Dad’s restaurant of choice. And it was worth every minute of being stuck in the back seat with my sister. (poke Quit it!… …poke QUITIT!) From the warm chips and home made salsas and guacamole, through enchiladas and tacos crafted with hand made tortillas, slowly simmered meats and the fattest chile rellenos I’ve ever seen, to Soppapillas from Abi’s secret recipe and drizzled with a Mexican chocolate sauce to match, each meal was a feast, one we looked forward to with sparkle-eyed longing for weeks, and looked back on with sighs and dreamy nostalgia for several more.
Of course, Mom had her list of Mexican recipes, too, and rotated through them regularly. It was all your basic American, Tex-Mex stuff, chili with ground beef and beans, baked enchiladas, and, of course, Taco Nights. But as I began to collect recipes and learn more in the kitchen, it was only natural that I’d want to go beyond Mom’s basics, Mexican or otherwise. Like many of you, I started out with simple recipes before trying my hand at more complex versions. And, like many of you, I still use simpler versions when I don’t have time, or don’t want, to cook, or if I’m on a tight budget.
So… I think I actually found something new to say about it all, and I’m happy about that. But I think it’s enough for even the newest visitor to get the point: I love chili, and I have a lot of recipes! Enough of the general and background, let’s talk about this particular recipe for a minute.
Veteran Visitors Start Here
A few nights ago, I looked in the fridge and realized there wasn’t really anything in there I wanted to make for dinner. I hadn’t been to the store in several days, so the choices weren’t very exciting. Hot dogs? Meh. Leftover Sloppy Joe’s? …maybe. Noodles with barbecue sauce? Nah, I did that last week… After several minutes of poking in all the cabinets and the pantry, and all the way to the back of the freezer, I gave up and went to the store.
I start on the left – the meat section – for a reason. I have no idea what else I’ll need until I pick out my meat. I like to keep my options open until I see what’s on sale. On this particular evening, it was boneless loin chops, which were even less per pound than ground pork. Go figure, but, see, that’s why I roll like I do. Once that choice was made, I had to decide how much time I had for preparation. I still had quite a bit of work to do, and I remembered that I had yet to post my simplest Chile Verde. From there, it was easy. Down the middle aisle – the equator of the store, if you will – to grab some limes in the middle of the store. Continue to the Mexican aisles – yes, two of them – for some salsa verde. Rice? Got plenty at home. Hit the express line and might as well get some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for dessert. Now, we’re talkin’! Let’s make some Chile Verde!
Cut pork into cubes. I usually cut it down to 1 to 1-1/2″.
Heat skillet or frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil to coat the pan. When the oil shimmers, you’re ready to go.
Add pork to pan and saute until browned on all sides.
Once the pork is browned, add juice of one lemon per pound of meat. Let it simmer for fifteen minutes.
Drain pork and return to pan. Add one bottle of Salsa Verde per pound. Once it begins to bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer for another fifteen minutes. (If you can stand to wait.)
Right before serving, and the juice of one lime per pound of meat. Stir to combine, and serve immediately with white rice, corn tortillas, and perhaps a small tomato and avocado salad.
You can use any pork cut you like. I’ve done it with chops of various types, as well as roasts. I choose my meat based on what’s on sale, which helps me stay within my budget. Remember that, in general, stew is a way to use tougher cuts of meat. The long simmering, combined with something acidic (in this case, limes), tenderizes the meat. In addition, it helps to cut tougher cuts into smaller pieces. Just something to remember…
I should also mention that I have a more complex Chili Verde recipe I use when I have more time to marinate the pork. On those days, chances are I’m going to use more tender cuts, and may well cut them into larger cubes. Again, just something to keep in mind.
If you’re in a bind, you can omit the limes.
As you’ve just seen, Mexican food can be dead simple to prepare. So the next time you have a hankering for South-of-the-Border fun, keep this recipe in mind. And don’t forget:
Play with your food!
Did you like this recipe? What recipes would you like to learn? Leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts! (And don’t forget to LIKE this post!) Share it using the tiles below.