Every few months, I get a request or two for my recipe for chile verde. Two such requests arrived today and so I decided to post the recipe. I am also inspired by the special Oliver’s Market currently has on pork shoulder; it’s just $3.99 a pound. Avocados are 99 cents each and so I’m also including my recipe for avocado sauce, which is delicious with the chile verde.
A word of caution is in order before I turn you loose with the recipe: DO NOT use pork loin in place of shoulder. Pork loin is not marbled and its lack of fat will result in dry tough meat.
And here’s a tip in case you haven’t discovered the best tortilla chips in the world yet. They are from La Case Foods of Sonoma. They are more expensive than other chips so be careful: Once you’ve had them, it is all but impossible to be satisfied with other brands. They are almost paper thin, perfectly crisp and perfect salted. And they are sometimes
hard to find because they sell out. The other day, I bought some at Fircrest Market in Sebastopol and left them on the kitchen counter while I was gone for a few hours. When I arrived home, my daughter confessed she had something to tell me but was embarrassed to do so. Finally, she owned up: “I ate all the chips.”
I told her not to worry and stopped by the market the next day. GONE! SOLD OUT! And now I wait . . .
One more thing: What is the best beverage to enjoy with Chile Verde? For me, it is Lunatic Lager from Moonlight Brewing. It is a fabulous match. Alas, it is not available in bottles, just kegs. Bohemia Beer comes in second.
Chile Verde, My Way • Serves 6 to 8
3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 6 to 8 poblanos, roasted, seeded, peeled and diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 serranos, minced
- 16 corn or flour tortillas
- 2 limes, cut in wedges
- Minced cilantro
- Avocado Sauce, Avocado Salsa or other hot green salsa, optional
- If you have a clay roaster, soak it according to the manufacturer’s instructions; if you do not have a clay roaster, use a roasting pan with a tight-fitting lid. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Set the pork on a work surface and rub it all over with salt, using all of the salt. Set the pork in the clay roaster or roasting pan. Add about 1 cup water (enough to come 1/4-inch up the side of the pork), cover and bake for 3 hours.
- Remove the pork from the oven and transfer it to a large platter. Carefully skim off the liquid fat, removing as much as you can without too much trouble. Return the pork to the roasted or pan, add the poblanos, serranos and garlic, cover and return to the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the pork falls apart when you press on it.
- Remove from the oven and let rest 15 minutes or so. Set the pork on a work surface and use a cleaver or large knife to hack it into smaller pieces. Transfer the pork and the pan juices to a serving bowl.
- Heat the tortillas and wrap them in tea towels to keep them warm.
- Serve immediately with lime wedges, cilantro and salsa alongside.
Avocado Salsa • Makes about 2 1/2 cups
Do not confuse this salsa with guacamole; it is another thing entirely, with textures and flavors inappropriate in a true guacamole. Serve it with chips or as a condiment with quesadillas.
- 10 small radishes, minced
- 1/2 red onion, minced
- 3 serranos, stemmed, seeded and minced
- 2 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper in a mill
- Combine the radishes, onion, and serranos in a small bowl and toss. Set aside.
- Place the avocado chunks in a food processor. Add the lime juice and pulse until the avocado forms a smooth puree, stopping as necessary to push down the avocado.
- Transfer the puree to a bowl, add the radish mixture and the tomato and fold together quickly. Stir in the olive oil and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Avocado Sauce • Makes about 1 cup
- 1 large ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
- 1 to 3 serranos, stemmed and chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh juice (from 1 or 2 limes)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Put the avocado in a blender or food processor.
- Add the serranos, lime juice, salt and 1/4 cup water and pulse until smooth.
- Thin with more water if necessary.
- Refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce will keep, refrigerated, for a day or two.