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Aug 3, 2003 12:42 PM

Chile Verde/Green Chili

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When I moved to the border, I was sure I knew what green chili was--tender pork chunks cooked in a green chile and tomatillo sauce. I love that tangy, but not really hot flavor, and I think the sauce goes well with the pork. But over the last few years I've encountered all kinds of green chilies. Many are made with beef--coarsely ground beef in some cases, chunks in others. Some have no tomatillo flavor at all. I have had some Sonoran style green chilies that had ground beef, large chunks of green chile, and bits of onion and tomato. Others seem to get a green chile taste from dried green chile powder. The heat level, while never flaming, ranges from extremely mild to hot. In some versions, black papper seems to be a main ingredient as well. At first, I tended to reject the no tomatillo, no pork versions, but over time I've grown rather fond of their unique tastes. Anyway, is this variation in green chilies only a border phenomenon? Or do you find the same variations elsewhere? Is there a pattern?

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  1. Green chile (or green chile stew) in northern New Mexico can have chucks of pork, ground pork, or ground beef. I think I have had it with chicken, too. The one unifying factor seems to be heat, though ... it is almost always made tears-in-your-eyes-sweat-on-your-forehead-cough-in-your-throat hot. And it is almost always delicious.

    Your subject is very timely: I saw Hatch chiles being roasted at my local Whole Foods yesterday, and started thinking about making up a batch of the stuff.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Kirk

      oh, i am drooling in response to your roasting story. this is my first harvest away from new mexico and i am really missing the smell of roasted chile.

      i most often had green chile stew with chunks of pork or chicken. it seems like pork felt more authentic, but chicken was definitely good, too.

      don't forget those thick tortillas to soak up that back of your tongue heat. mmm.

      1. re: elizabitch

        A good friend of mine from Chimayo swears by putting peanut butter in his green chile, I've never tried it, but mmmmmmmmmm does that get my taste buds yearning for some northern New Mexico food.

        1. re: elizabitch

          I SOOOOOOOOO!!! miss being in New Mexico during the chile season. I lived in Taos for 10 yrs. and we would buy 50 lbs. of Hatch Big Jims and have them roasted, take them home, and peal chile's until our fingers burned!

          Needless to say we don't get good green chile in Oregon - unless I order a box fresh from Hatch.