When I took the lid off my slow cooker after about eight hours, I knew this recipe for Chile Verde from Make it Fast, Cook it Slow by Stephanie O'Dea was just the kind of dish that slow cookers are made for. What had started early that morning as a bag of some pork, tomatillos, a can of chiles, a few spoonfuls of herbs, and diced tomatoes and onions was now braised to falling-apart perfection, moist, and intensely flavorful.
During my two previous projects I noticed that my slow cooker had been producing a lot of steam and condensation so heeding O'Dea's advice, I covered the stoneware with a layer of aluminum foil to keep the heat in.
This time I had not impatiently stared into my slow cooker every hour to check its progress, so the finished pork was a complete surprise, almost like unwrapping a gift. This is one of the incredible things about the slow cooker—just toss everything in there and sit back and wait for the results.
In this case, the results were pretty incredible. The pork was taco-ready and really delicious. This made me think that slow-cooking is an ideal method of preparing all types of taco fillings, carnitas, rajas, cabrito, even cabeza or tripas.
- 4 pound chuck roast, or pork shoulder/butt (I used a chuck roast)
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 (4-ounce) can diced chile (mine were mild, your choice)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 10 tomatillos, diced (peel off the outer wrapper, if they have one)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons sage
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Trim any visible fat from the meat, and plop into your slow cooker stoneware. Add diced bell pepper and onion. If your tomatillos have the leafy-outer skin left on them, take the skin and stem off, and dice finely (I used a handheld chopper). Pour in the contents of the diced chile can and the tomato can. Add spices. Stir a bit to get the spices down the sides of the meat. Add chopped cilantro to the top. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, on high for 6 hours, or until the meat shreds easily with a fork. Serve with rice, corn tortillas, shredded cheese, and a dollop of sour cream.