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Chili Verde Recipe (Pork Green Chili)

Updated on February 16, 2013

Chili Verde Is A Delicious Green Chili Stew Made With Pork Or Chicken

When most of us think of chili we think of a rich, hearty bowl of red. Another chili pepper dish, Chili Verde (green chili), is a real taste treat and offers a level of cooking versatility that red chili can't match. In this lens I'm going to explain how to make a proper Chili Verde and offer a few serving suggestions.

WARNING: Tasty road ahead!

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Roasted Green Chilis
Roasted Green Chilis

Chili Verde Origin

Visit most taco shops (taqueria) in the Southwestern USA or Mexico and chili verde will be on the menu. Chili verde (green chili) is a classic Mexican dish, albeit with a somewhat sorted history. While the classic pork chili verde recipe is based on Carne De Puerco En Chile Verde (translated as "pork with green chilies"), like classic chili con carne, the chili verde recipe has taken many twists and turns.

The basics of pork green chili are very simple. Central to the dish is pork shoulder that's seared and then simmered for in green things, including tomatillos, onions, and a variety of green chilies. The stew is a favorite filling for burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and simply delicious all by itself when served with white rice and tortillas.

Most recipes call for puréeing raw tomatillos, peppers and garlic, and mixing them with the pork shoulder to cook. That's the quick way, but it lacks a certain southwest flavor. The secret to an authentic recipe is roasting the tomatillos, peppers and garlic to bring out the flavor.

What's Your Favorite Chili

Do You Prefer Red or Green Chili?

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Fresh Tomatillo
Fresh Tomatillo

The Smooth, Tangy, Sweet Flavor

Pork Green Chili

There is no mistaking a great chili verde. The fresh, tangy flavors of the "green mixture" offset by the succulent richness of tender, slow-cooked pork is pure South West heaven.

Where many would-be green chili chefs go wrong is in the ingredients. While a red chili will mask many sins, green chili most certainly will not. Taking your typical red chili shortcuts, by using canned vegetables or a poor grade of meat will ruin the dish. A great chili verde strikes the perfect balance between spicy, tart, sweet, and savory.

The way to make magic happen with this dish is to go 100% fresh and do everything by hand. That's how it's done in Mexico, and it works. You brown or roast everything, which gives the dish its sweet, smoky, POW flavor. Plus, if you hand chop everything -- instead of taking from a can or running it through a food processor -- you get a nice chunky texture. Simply delicious.

If pork isn't your thing, chili verde can also be made with chicken. To get the right flavor, I boil, shred, and then braise my chicken. It takes time, but the flavor is wonderful and the people you serve will appreciate the effort.

Pork Shoulder
Pork Shoulder

Pork Green Chili Recipe

Searing Pork for Chili Verde

Searing meat caramelizes the sugars and brings out the flavor. It also holds in the natural juices. This is a critical step for any chili dish, but it is absolutely essential to this pork green chili recipe. Proper searing brings out the over-all flavor of the meat.


  1. Remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow it to come up to room temperature. A half hour is generally enough time.
  2. Use a paper towel to pat the meat dry. All excess moisture should be gone.
  3. Using a sharp knife, slice the meat into cubes. Make the cubes about 1" in size. Any smaller than 1" and the meat will dry out.
  4. Add oil to a pan and warm until the oil begins to smoke. While waiting, season with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the meat in the hot pan fat side down.
  6. Once the meat is properly seared on one side, flip it and repeat. Sear all sides.
  7. When all sides of the meat have been properly seared pull the meat out of the pad and set aside.

I wasn't able to find a video on searing cubed meat, but this one is pretty good.

Two Special Ingredients

I find that the tomatillos are a bit tart for my taste so I add two special ingredients that you don't find in most recipes. I didn't figure this out on my own. I was introduced to the special flavor from a Mexican-American neighbor who makes fresh beef tamales that are absolutely out of this world. We'll save that story for another recipe.

Martha's two special ingredients are honey and cinnamon. The honey tames the acidity and tartness brought on by the tomatillos and peppers. The cinnamon brings out the flavor in the peppers and the other spices. Most people will never pinpoint the flavor until you tell them what it is.

I've seen a few recipes that use ground cloves instead of the cinnamon. Both do the job, but I prefer the cinnamon.

Chili Verde

Chili Verde Recipe

Chili Verde Recipe
Chili Verde Recipe

This is a delicious, smooth chili verde that you can use by itself or as a filling for enchiladas or burritos.

Cook time: 3 hours

Ingredients3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch cubes1 1/2 pounds tomatillos6 garlic cloves, not peeled2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, chopped2 Anaheim or Poblano chilies (optional)1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped2 yellow onions, chopped3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced2 Tbsp of chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp of dried oreganoSaltFreshly ground black pepperOlive oil2 1/2 cups chicken stock1-2 Tbsp of honey (to taste)1-2 pinches of ground cinnamon (to taste)

1. Remove the paper husks from tomatillos, rinse and dry. Slice the tomatillos in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined cooking sheet, along with 6 unpeeled garlic cloves, two jalapeno peppers and two Anaheim or Poblano peppers. Place under a broiler for 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skins. Remove from oven. Put the chilies in a bag to cool.

2. Put the chilies in a bag to cool. Once cooled, remove the skin, seeds and stem. Chop fine.

3. Clean and chop the cilantro leaves.  Peel and grate one

cilantro root.

4. Put the tomatillos, skins on, into blender with the roasted garlic cloves (skins off), peppers and cilantro. Pulse the blender until all ingredients are mixed. Do not puree!

5. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown pork well on all sides. Remove browned pork with tongs and set aside.

6. Pour off excess fat from skillet. Cook the chopped onions and garlic, stirring occasionally, until translucent.

7 Transfer the onion mixture and the pork into a large soup pot. Add the oregano. Pour in the tomatillo and chili verde mixture.  Add 1 tablespoon of honey. Add enough chicken stock to cover the meat. Add a pinch of ground cinnamon.

8 Bring the pot to a slow boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook uncovered for an additional 2-3 hours until the pork is fork tender.

Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.  If too tart, add and additional tablespoon of honey. Serve with rice and warmed flour tortillas.  Allow to refrigerate overnight to make fresh enchiladas or burritos.

Yield: Serves 8.

About The Images and Video In This Lens

All images in this lens were purchased from The video was created using with using the images from iStockPhoto.

Chili Verde Recipe
Chili Verde Recipe

When David Bynon is not on Squidoo you will find him blogging about health care issues on

What's Your Favorite Mexican Food Dish?

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    • profile image

      gradientcat 5 years ago

      I love pulled pork, I'll have to try this chili recipe sometime.

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      I am pretty partial to ANYTHING MEXICAN. Oh my gosh. I love Mexican food so much. I can't wait to try this recipe and I'll hunt around to see if you've posted the beef tamale recipe. I am working on a New Mexico recipe book at the moment. Delish! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • profile image

      wecomparebooks 5 years ago

      Can I substitute chicken? I do not eat pork

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 6 years ago from Florida

      Sounds delicious! To answer your question: Chicken Tortilla Soup.

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 6 years ago

      Beautiful and informative lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • autofanatic profile image

      autofanatic 6 years ago

      @gold3: Oh, that does sound good!!!

    • gold3 profile image

      gold3 6 years ago

      My fave is a deep fried burrito...or chimichanga...with green sauce over it. Yum!

    • philiphewitson profile image

      philiphewitson 6 years ago

      excellent lens I've never tried these chillis before but I will try to get some this week and give it a go thanks for the info

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Chili Verde sounds and looks fabulous! Soon to be tried. Thanks!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      I love chile rellenos and huevos rancheros. I just bought all the stuff to make a big pot of black bean chili for the weekend. I use green chiles all the way!

    • SiochainGraSonas profile image

      SiochainGraSonas 6 years ago

      It looks really good. That would be perfect meal for a raining evening.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Looks pretty darn tasty! Would love to try it - and it doesn't include beans, my favorite way chili can come! :) Blessed by a SquidAngel for the presentation that makes it look even more tasty.

    • menskincaretips profile image

      menskincaretips 6 years ago

      Great recipe! Mexican food is incredibly addictive!

    • autofanatic profile image

      autofanatic 6 years ago

      @sherioz: I have a fantastic veggie chili I'll put up, and you should see what I can do with zucchini. Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      sherioz 6 years ago

      I'm vegetarian so I guess I won't be trying this dish. But the way you offer up a recipe, I'm looking forward to any other recipe lenses you decide to make.

    • autofanatic profile image

      autofanatic 6 years ago

      @joanhall: Chili... no problem. I was just reading a chocolate cake lens. Now what am I going to do? Oh, well... off to the kitchen to bake!

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      I shouldn't read lenses like this when I'm hungry. It looks fantastic, though. I can almost smell it!

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 6 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Chili Verde looks delicious. I never tried any, just the regular red chili. Might have to try it!


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