Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Green Chili

There are certain recipes that I've always wondered about. Wondered if I'd ever really make them or know what makes them so dang tasty (especially when there are lots of variations).

Green chile is one of those meals that have been an enigma to me. Maybe it's just because I've never been around someone who would cook this type of food, maybe not.

I have a coworker who is quite the dynamic man. He is a tall, slightly older, masculine guy with a sarcastic and, at times, pun-filled sense of humor. He looks like he might ride Harley's (and does) and doesn't like to take too much crap from people. On the other hand, he loves his wife and loves to cook, especially spicy foods.

Last week, he brought in a little bit of green chile and shared with me. It was the second time he's done this, probably because he knows what a food nut I am. So, at lunch, I asked him how to make it. And I loved his answer.

He told me how to make it, exactly, well, sort of. There were no measurements, just the process and ingredients. But my brain really likes this sort of recipe. I understand it, so it sticks with me longer and easier. So, forgive me if I don't give exact measurements. Perhaps in the end you will understand green chile just like me, which is even better than a perfect recipe.

1 pound meat:
I like pork, but basically, the rule is that you want to find about 1 pound of meat that will be fairly tender after being pan sauted and then stewed for about 30 minutes. Because I couldn't find a small pork butt/shoulder roast, I settled for a pork ribeye roast. It cost me about $7 at Walmart for a 2.25 lb roast. I cut off just under half of the roast to use for my chile and threw the rest in the fridge for another dinner.

Cook meat and then cook onions (1 small chopped), garlic (2-3 cloves minced):
I trimmed the big fat and cubed the meat. I cooked the meat over medium heat in my dutch oven, in a little bit of vegetable oil to prevent sticking. Once it was browned, I took the meat out and set it aside, added a bit (2 tablespoons) more veggie oil and threw in one diced small onion and a few cloves of minced garlic. Cook until the onion is softened a bit, but don't burn the garlic.

Add jalapeno, spices; then add flour for a roux:
Add in one chopped jalapeno, some oregano, a tiny bit of cumin, salt and pepper. Next, add in a couple of tablespoons of flour and cook until the raw taste of the flour is gone, but don't darken the roux.

Add stock, crushed tomatoes, chiles:
Next, add in about 1-2 cups of chicken stock (depending on how thin you like yours, I only did one cup and figured I could add more if I wanted it later), a can of crushed/diced tomatoes and your chiles. I used a package of roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped chiles from Walmart...they were in the freezer section and they cost $3.50 for 30 ounces. I used half the bag in my stew. Stir the bottom of your pot with your wooden spoon to get the nice fond up off the bottom (the brown coloring and bits stuck to the bottom of your pot from cooking the meat and stuff).

Add the meat back in and simmer for about 30 minutes or so, until the meat is tender and tastes a little more like the stew.

It is a very nice basic recipe that you could alter very easily, depending on your tastes.

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