A taste of home cooking with Abuelita’s chili verde

The smells emanating from your kitchen ought to be bringing back warm memories.

A taste of home cooking with Abuelita’s chili verde
If you're using canned chiles, add the liquid in the can to the pot, as well.
Foto: barockschloss via CCL

It’s a well-known fact that sight alone isn’t the only trigger of memories. Smell can also be the culprit behind our occasional strolls down Memory Lane, and certain smells can trigger fond memories for the taste of home cooking, transporting us back to our childhoods and the wonderful aromas wafting from Abuelita’s kitchen. One such fond memory for many is the mouth-watering aroma of a large pot of chili verde cooking on the stove for hours on the stove.

Getting started

It seems no matter how hard you try, you just can’t ever make it quite like Abuelita, but your cravings for the tast of home cooking can still be sated with this tried-and-true recipe that’s simple to follow and easy to make. All you’ll need is your grocery list and your trusty tamale stockpot and you’re well on your way to reliving those great childhood memories. Your list of ingredients will include:

  • 1 lb of pork shoulder or pork tenderloin
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 ripe tomatillos, diced
  • 3 fresh jalapenos, diced
  • 1 lb fresh, roasted green chiles when in season. If not, 1 large can of whole, roasted green chiles will do.
  • 1 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (it’s healthier)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ready to begin

If you’re using a 3-qt stockpot, fill it between a third and halfway full with water and set it on medium-high heat. After dicing all your fresh ingredients, add them to the pot, along with all of your dry ingredients, except for the flour. You’ll need that and the olive oil for the pork. If you’re using canned chiles, add the liquid in the can to the pot, as well. Once you’ve done this, place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil while you prepare your pork.

Getting closer

Place 1/2 cup of olive oil in a large sauté or frying pan and set on medium heat allowing oil to warm up. After cubing your pork, roll it in flour until evenly coated. When the oil is hot and ready for browning, add the pork and stir until it’s fully cooked without burning it. Remember, you’re not trying to deep fry it. Once the meat is done, scrape all of the contents from the pan into your stockpot. Stir thoroughly, replace the lid, reduce the heat, and simmer for two hours.

Nearing the finish line

During the cooking process, stir occasionally and season to taste with salt and black or cayenne pepper. As you’re reaching the two-hour point, if it hasn’t yet reached the desired consistency you’d like, you can thicken it with equal amounts of cornstarch and water.

Just as you’d make gravy, simply mix the two ingredients in a large measuring cup and slowly add to the simmering pot stirring constantly until it’s where you want it to be. You can add more if necessary. At this point, the smells emanating from your kitchen ought to be bringing back warm memories of the taste of home cooking. Garnish with chopped cilantro or shredded cheese, if desired, and dig in!