While there is no shortage of quick chile recipes of the red variety—the kind most of us are familiar with, from chiles-only Texas style those made with beans and tomatoes—I had a craving recently for chile verde, which is usually made with tomatillos, green chiles, and hunks of pork. The only problem? Every recipe I found calls for slow-cooking the pork for two to three hours until it's soft and tender. Great for a weekend project, but not when you're hungry after work.
The solution was to switch out the pork shoulder for ground pork, which meant this could come together in under an hour. Otherwise, I followed this recipe from Simply Recipes without variation, using the broiler to char the tomatillos and roast the garlic and create the sweet, smokey base, and flavoring it with oregano and cloves. While I'm sure this would only improve with a longer simmer—even ground pork would grow soft and tender—it's delicious as is for a quick weeknight.
- 1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved
- 5 garlic cloves, not peeled
- 2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
- 1 Anaheim or Poblano chile
- 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablepoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 pound ground pork
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Pinch of ground cloves
Under a pre-heated broiler on a small baking sheet, roast the tomatillos skin-side up, 3 of the unpeeled garlic cloves, and the poblano chile, 5-7 minutes total. Turn the poblano chile a few times to blacken all sides.
Slip the skins off the poblano chile and remove the stem, and slip the garlic skins off the roasted cloves. In a blender, combine poblano, roasted garlic, the tomatillos with their skins, any roasting juices in the pan, as well as the jalapenos, cilantro, and a pinch of salt. Blend on high until pureed.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a heavy soup pot (such as a cast iron Dutch oven) over medium heat until shimmering. Add the pork and cook until no longer pink, in batches if necessary.
Remove the pork from the pot with a slotted spoon, leaving behind at least a tablespoon of fat. Add the onions and cook until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. While the onions are cooking, mince the remaining garlic cloves and add them to the pot along with the oregano. Cook for a minute longer.
Return the pork to the pot and add the tomatillo mixture and chicken stock (the stock should just cover the pork). Add the cloves and bring to a boil. Simmer 30 minutes or longer if time allows. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a garnish of cilantro.