Sunday, October 27, 2013

Chili verde and what happens when you have a real job.

Last blog post ... 2011.  That's what happens when you land a fantastic job.  Suddenly blogging falls way down to the bottom of "stuff I do with my discretionary time." 

But look, here I am again, and I'm going to talk about making chili verde.  See, I posted some pictures on Facebook and a friend asked for my recipe.  As usual, the answer is just not that simple. 

A lot of times when I cook, it's a matter of finding things in the fridge that need to be used up, or taking advantage of what was fresh at the farmer's market that morning.  I try to make stocks out of the meat and veggie scraps as I cook one meal and often use the stock in the next meal.  So I have approaches rather than recipes, most of the time.

Here's how I happened to make a great batch of chili verde last night.

First of all, I had a container of left over New Mexico style green chili sauce made from roasted hatch chilies.  Earlier this year I bought a 25 pound case of those puppies and spent a weekend roasting and freezing them.  And for everyone who thought I was nuts, be warned, next year I'm probably going to get 50 pounds.

I had a hunk (about 3 lbs) of pork shoulder (aka boston butt) roast.  I trimmed off the excess fat and cubed the meat and sprinkled it liberally with cumin, salt and cayenne pepper.

Pondering the state of my leftover green chili sauce, I decided it had been reheated so often that it had broken down into green chili sludge and that my chili verde would need something chunky in it besides pork.  So I chopped up a yellow onion into a large-ish chunks. 

I tossed the seasoned meat and the onions in pork fat that had been heating slowly in a large skillet on the stove.  Yep, pork fat ... I acquired that by throwing the fat I trimmed off my last shoulder roast into the oven (275 degreed F) and then just pouring the golden goodness into a jar.

As I looked around the kitchen in it's perpetual state of needing to be cleaned, I noticed that we had not eaten all of the cilantro chutney that I made for last night's samosas.  I had made that batch by chucking the following into my food processor:  2 bunches of cilantro, about an inch of ginger, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 green chilies, lime juice, salt and a little sugar.  I say "that batch" because my green chutney is often a matter of what's on hand as well.  My favorite green chutney from an actual recipe is for cilantro mint chutney.

Well, now that I thought about it, those flavors sounded like a good addition to my chili verde.  So in went two tablespoons of the chutney as well.  Once the meat was browned a bit, I added my left over green chili and about 2 cups of homemade pork stock.  (Yay!  Two containers out of the fridge!) 

All that was left to do was let the chili simmer for a couple of hours until the liquid had reduced to a nice thick sauce and the pork was falling apart tender.

We ate it with fresh avocado and yellow corn tortillas.  One of these days I'm going to learn how to make my own corn tortillas.  Until then, I'm a huge fan of La Tortilla Factory's Hand Made Style Corn Tortillas.

And there you have it.  My "recipe" for chili verde. 

I'll try to post again before 2015, but I'm not promising anything.  First I have to update my blog name.  Since our older son moved back home, we're Four in Tulsa these days.