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Sep 14, 2011 09:09 AM

Chili Verde Recipe - what is a good substitute for pork

I found an easy crock pot recipe for chili verde where the main ingredients are polenta and pork. The recipe calls for 1 lb of pork tenderloin chopped into 1 inch chunks. I was wondering whether anyone can recommend a substitution for the pork. Full recipe below just in case:
1 medium poblano chile
1 Tbsp canola oil, or 1 1/2 tsp each canola and olive oil
1 small onion(s), diced (about 1 cup)
1 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced (or to taste)
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and diced
1 pound(s) lean pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup(s) chopped tomatillos, about 3 small husked tomatillos
1/2 tsp Durkee ground cumin, or ther brand
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or 1/4 tsp chipotle chile powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth
8 1/2 oz polenta, use half of a 17 oz prepared polenta log

Place poblano chile over open flame of stovetop and roast until browned all over, turning with metal tongs, about 5 minutes total. (Note: If you have an electric range, broil chile, turning every few minutes, until browned.) Place chile in a resealable plastic bag; close and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic and zucchini; sauté over high heat, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Spoon vegetables into a 3- to 5-quart slow cooker; add pork and tomatillos.

Remove chile from bag and hold chile under running water; scrape off skin with fingers. Chop chile and add to slow cooker; add cumin, cayenne or chile powder, oregano, salt, pepper and broth. Cover and cook stew on low for 6 to 7 hours.

Cut polenta into small pieces; place in a microwave-safe serving bowl. Microwave on HIGH until polenta is hot and tender, about 2 minutes. Mash polenta and then beat with a spoon to a fluffy consistency. Spoon stew over polenta and serve. Yields about 1 cup of chili and 1/4 of polenta per serving


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  1. I'm out of my depth here, but interested in the question in a general way. There are, after all, lots of interesting looking stews and braides form various cuisines centered on pork.

    What is the best kosher meat for recipes using fresh pork? Veal, lamb, beef, chicken (white or dark), duck?

    I would love to hear from individuals who have experience with such substitutions, or have heard someone with knowledge discuss this.

    4 Replies
    1. re: AdinaA

      I wouldn't think that tenderloin would be a good cut for a crock pot. I'm sure if you used stew meat it would be fine. There's nothing about the pork flavor you'd be looking to replicate.

      1. re: DeisCane

        Just to clarify, I am not looking to replicate pork flavor - I am looking to utilize all the trader joe's polenta i have, plus use my crockpot, plus have a healthy and not junky recipe. This recipe is from the weight watchers website, which is why I think it would be better suited for those who are trying to be calorie conscious.

        1. re: lenchik

          I understand, and that's why I said that stew meat makes the most sense. Even ground meat (dark turkey, for example) could be used.

          1. re: DeisCane

            Just remember . . . ground dark meat turkey often contains the skin ground in with the meat, making the fat and calorie count as high as red meat, and with perhaps even more fat, so if the intent is in keeping it as healthy as the original recipe from the Weight Watchers website, that would not be the way to go. On the other hand, if the intent is just to make a kosher version, that would work, I guess. I, myself, would probably use skinless chicken in chunks. White meat would be far leaner, but might not hold up. I think dark meat would work, but I may not be as expert as others here.

    2. Chicken. I make red chile w/ pork, but green chile w/ chicken; it makes for a much lighter dish.

        1. re: soupkitten

          Turkey dark meat is probably your best bet. But I'd adjust the cooking time. Chicken and turkey just can't hold up to heat as long as pork or beef.

        2. For chile verde, I routinely interchange pork or chicken. What wins out is what's on sale for the week.

          When using chicken, I break down a whole chicken into 8 to 10 pieces, bone-in. Season, brown and stew in the green sauce.

          2 Replies
          1. re: dave_c

            Ok, so i have this boneless skinless dark meat chicken pack from Trader Joe's. I think I will try it this time and keep my fingers crossed:)

            1. re: lenchik

              Good luck... Actually, you won't need it. :-) The recipe should turn out fine.

          2. I make mine with chuck roast, although I don't have a slow cooker so I can't tell you how that would work. I just simmer for a few hours on the stove. You know that there are still some fresh Hatch chiles to had in the stores now, don't you? Poblanos are fine for chili verde, but roasted Hatches are so much better. I roast and freeze a good few pounds of them when my store gets them in.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rockycat

              Oh, and don't peel your chiles under running water. You don't want to wash away the flavor you worked so hard to get and a few dark bits in your chile aren't a disaster.