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Help with Chili Verde

I make a great chili verde but, in the past, I've used La VIctoria's salsa verde. I would like to make my own sauce but have no idea how to measure the ingredients. For example, how many tomatillos would I need to make sauce for 4-5 lbs of meat?

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  1. According to some styles of chile verde, none. :) New Mexico and Colorado fans of this dish often insist that tomatillos do not belong in it.

    One book, Truly Mexican, uses 2 lb of tomatillos to make a green sauce, that is then used to cook 3 lb of pork. I suspect that anything in that ball park would work. The more tomatillos you use, the soupier and tarter the final stew.

    34 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      What do they use to make it green (verde) in NM and CO? According to GHG's post 2lbs would be just about right.

      1. re: mucho gordo

        Lots of green chiles (chiles verde).

        1. re: mucho gordo

          Mucho, 9 out of 10 recipes for chile verde use green chilies, the 10th will use tomatillos. In NM and CO, Hatch chilies are the first choice. Their season is fairly short, in August and September. Typically they are roasted and frozen - I have about 6 pounds of them in my freezer. A reasonable substitute where you are is the Bueno brand of frozen chopped green chilies if you can find them. Less desirable but available at most grocers but certainly in every latin market are small cans of chopped green chilies.
          Tomatillos are a very strong flavor and IMO are best with other ingredients - tomatoes, garlic, onions, broth. An interesting chili verde might include equal amounts of tomatillos and green chilies, with the other ingredients I mentioned. Fresh tomatillos should be lightly roasted first. As you probably know, tomatillos are not tomatoes at all, but basically giant gooseberries. You could take a short cut with canned tomatillo sauce, but of course home made will be better.
          Buen provecho, amigo!

          1. re: Veggo

            On the other hand La Victoria's salsa that Mucho mentioned is mostly tomatillos, cilantro, and hot green chiles (jalapeno or serano).

            1. re: Veggo

              WOW! I do have a lot to learn, Veggo, I did think they were a variety of tomato and, based on the La Victoria ingredients list and taste of the chili verde burritos I've bought, I thought tomatillos were the main ingredient. Can you be more specific as to the kind of green chili I should use aside from the serrano which I prefer? I do think it would taste much better than just straight tomatillo,

              1. re: mucho gordo

                Serranos are HOT and are used sparingly to add heat to your desired level. You can add Anaheims and poblanos in any quantity to get a nice chili flavor without excessive heat, and maybe a few jalapenos. All of these are readily available and fresh in your area. `

                1. re: Veggo

                  Serrano chilies are not THAT hot to me, Veggo. I prefer them because their texture remains firm after cooking, They crunch like a fresh vegetable. Hot, to me, is the habanero which I will use very sparingly on occasion. Of the 2 you mention, which has the most heat and flavor ; anaheim or poblano?

                  1. re: mucho gordo

                    Anaheim are consistently sweet. Poblano have a deeper flavor and can range from mild to having a bit of heat. If you like serranos, I would go heavier on the poblanos. They are my favorite chile. For some dishes, e.g. chile rellenos, poblanos are customarily blistered and peeled, but for soupy dishes where the chilies are cut up it is not necessary -just de-seed them.

                    1. re: Veggo

                      I will definitely try poblano next time but why remove the seeds? Aren't the seeds what gives it heat?

                      1. re: mucho gordo

                        Not from poblanos- you should remove the seeds, and add your sliced serranos.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Sounds like a winner. Will do. Can I use the poblano when I make my regular beef chili?

                          1. re: mucho gordo

                            YES - I think you will have a love affair with poblanos - they are the Catherine Zeta Jones of chilies.

                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                DD, that's just my POV. You can Daniel Craig them if you want...:)

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  No, I think Catherine Zeta-Jones is a pretty good description. It's a beautiful pepper, elegant in it's proportions and color and voluptuous in flavor. Your description is rather apt...

                            1. re: mucho gordo

                              Dried poblanos, anchos, are more commonly used with beef chili, either ground, or rehydrated and pureed. For some reason a 'red and dry' chile seems to fit with beef, and something more green and fresh. I think has more to do with common associations that actual taste or experience.

                              Usually I blister and skin poblanos, but the other day I made a green salsa by sauteing onion and poblanos (diced, no seeds), then adding quartered tomatillos and cilantro. When soft, I blended everything with the immersion blender. I also seasoned (e.g. salt) and a small piece of pilloncillo.

                              I think it would work as a condiment with steak, even if not used as a cooking sauce.

                              1. re: paulj

                                That settles it, guys. Poblanos it is. I just have to make sure I go easy on it until I know how much to use without overpowering the basic chili taste.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  For a steak condiment, I could whip up a chimichurri in less time!

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    Years ago I was traveling in Mexico on a tight budget, buying breakfast and supper at panaderias (bakeries), and a 'comida corrida' for noon dinner. The meal that I remember best included a steak (modest size) topped with a hot green salsa. I scraped most off to the side.

                                    I first had chimichurri in an Ecuadorian 'parilla', Argentine style grill. It was a open sided building, with thatch roof. The mixed grill was served, still cooking, on a flower pot filled with charcoal.

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      You can't get that at Ruths' Chris. Isn't that part of why we love to travel?

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        An AVP at the bank where I worked was from Argentina. He made some and gave me a jar of it to try. It was fantastic.

                                        1. re: mucho gordo

                                          Mucho, I'll try to remember to e-mail you my chimichurri recipe from Uruguay. It is so good fresh it's well worth the effort.

                                          1. re: Veggo

                                            hey Veggo, why is he the only one who gets to see your recipe? ;)

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              Chimichurri for anyone who cares....:)

                                              1 bunch flat leaf parsley, de-stemmed (takes 20 minutes)
                                              6 garlic cloves, peeled
                                              1/3 cup OO
                                              1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
                                              juice from one or two limes
                                              1/2 tsp. salt
                                              1/2 tsp. black pepper
                                              1/2 tsp. cayenne

                                              Whack the garlic first in a small processor, stuff in the parsley leaves, then add everything else and whack it again. If you refrigerate it before use, give it 30 minutes at RT. You can eat this stuff with a spoon.

                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                "Chimichurri for anyone who cares....:)"
                                                I care :)
                                                our daughter adores the chimichurri at Gaucho Grill at the 3rd Street Mall in Santa Monica.
                                                I even asked the server for the recipe when I dined there for lunch one day.
                                                this looks spot on.
                                                thanks for sharing Veggo

                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                  It's also wonderful if you swap Cilantro for the parsley or go half Cilantro & half Parsley.

                        2. re: mucho gordo

                          Cooking pork in a sauce based on a bottled Mexican style salsa verde makes a perfectly good stew - even if it has tomatillos, and no Hatch chiles!

                          Look at these winners of the ICS chili verde competition to get an idea of the diversity.

                          1. re: paulj

                            You bet it's good, paulj. Are Hatch chilies also called something else? I don't think I've ever seen them in the market here. Are they hotter than the serrano but not as much as the habanero?

                            1. re: mucho gordo

                              They're also called New Mexico chiles. They tend to be less hot than serranos. Probably milder than jalapenos, too, although japs have been wimped down so much that the gap between the two is now minimal.

                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                Where's 'here' for you, LA?

                                Hatch are New Mexico chiles from a particular area. In appearance they are close to Anaheims. Fairly large, pale green, etc. But where as Anaheims are usually as mild as you can get without being a bell, Hatch, at least the few that I've bought fresh in fall, are more in Jalapeno level. But they can vary.

                                So you could make a New Mexico style green sauce by cooking down a bunch of Anaheims, and adjusting the heat to your taste with Jalepenos or Seranos.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  My Hatch roaster in La Veta did batches of mild and hot. The hot had a little red color in with the green -I think just from being on the vine a little longer. But the 2 were distinctly different in heat, and for different uses and tastes. The 10 pounds I bought from a roaster in Ft. Worth this season are all mild.

                                2. re: mucho gordo

                                  What you've made with the Victoria sauce might, more authentically, be called
                                  Carne (de cerdo) en salsa verde. Pork meat in green sauce.

                                  Similarly the closest Mexican equivalent to Texas chili (con carne), is carne (de res) con chile colorado - beef with red chiles.

                                  In Mexico meat can be cooked with chiles in various combinations - different meats, different sauces etc. So the name is likely to include both the meat and the sauce name. Where as in American English are just a could of combinations, leading to a short hand - chili, chili verde.

                                  A book I currently have out of the library, Truly Mexican (Roberto Santibanez) is mostly a book of sauces, with a modest number of recipes that use them. It has 3 raw tomatillo sauces, and 6 using roasted tomatillos.

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    That sounds exactly like what I make but how does that differ from chili verde?

                            2. re: Veggo

                              Tomatillos are not related at all to gooseberries (in the Ribes genus with currants), they are related to cape gooseberries (Physalis peruviana). I'm not trying to pedantic, they are completely different plants despite the names. I blame Bobby Flay for this misinformation since I've heard him say it several times.

                              Tomatillos are in fact closely related to tomatoes, being in the same family (Solanaceae), but not as closely related as they are to cape gooseberries.

                        3. my general rule of thumb is 1/2 lb of tomatillos per 1 lb of meat.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Thanks, GHG. 2+ lbs should be just right for 4+lbs pork.

                            1. re: mucho gordo

                              always happy to help :) be sure to roast/char the tomatillos first, add some anaheim or poblano chiles to balance the astringency/tartness, and jalapeno or serrano for heat. and if you use Mexican oregano instead of Greek, even better.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                A bit of piloncillo, the hard Mexican brown sugar, is sometimes added to balance the acidity. To much, turns it into a lovely sweet sour sauce. :)

                          2. Do everything you can to avoid canned green chiles. You can't get them fresh this time of year, but even the frozen chiles are markedly superior to the canned. Honestly, canned green chiles add little more than color.

                            1. hmmmm. I've always referred to the Variety in Colorado/NM/Wyoming etc. as Green Chile Stew, made with green chiles, pork, potatoes, and spices.
                              Chile Verde, to me is what I experienced when I moved to Phoenix, Arizona and is indeed made with roasted tomatillos, green chiles, spices,
                              pork, and some sort of citrus element(whatever was falling off the trees in the neighborhood) added. I learned how to roast tomatillos from a local lady in my wife's office.
                              Both good, but slightly different dishes...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: bbqboy

                                You have a good point about the name - note the recipe list from Santa Fe

                                1. re: paulj

                                  I think the difference historically is that tomatillos grow at low elevations (up to about 2000 feet if I remember correctly) and probably never made it to the high Rockies. I became quite entranced as I had never experienced green sauces/stews growing up in KC which was
                                  tex-mex with red sauce all the way, in the old days.

                              2. Mary Sue Millikin and Susan Fenigers Recipe for Chili Verde is my absolute go too, its amazing I make it and freeze boatloads of it, I can't get enough:


                                5 Replies
                                1. re: tidecreek

                                  Looks good; I would classify it as a poblano and tomatillo dominante recipe.

                                  1. re: paulj

                                    I thought it looked good too. I also thought the addition of a yellow pepper, presumably for some sweetness, was a good idea to balance out some of the acidity in the tomatillos.

                                  2. re: tidecreek

                                    first Chili Verde recipe i ever made...and i was hooked :)

                                    just be sure to use *cups* of stock, NOT quarts (i can't believe they never corrected that), and i like to toast whole cumin seed & grind it, and roast the tomatillos & peppers first.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      I didn't notice that detail, but then I tend to wing that sort of thing, adding just enough water to match the solids. I'm also more likely to use a 3 lb chunk of shoulder than 6 lb of lean (and keep the skin).

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        Good catch, ghg. I like the sound of it also as I like all of the ingredients. I may try a half batch soon. I'll simmer it for more than the 60-75 minutes the recipe calls for, to get the pork fork tender. Nearly all the chile verde contest winners on paulj's link cook theirs for between 2 and 31/2 hours.

                                    2. This is a recipe my SO created that is quite fantastic.

                                      Chile Verde


                                      2 Pounds of pork stew meat or pork shoulder roast
                                      ¼ cup vegetable oil
                                      3 Poblano chiles
                                      3 Anaheim chiles
                                      2 Jalapenos
                                      5-20 Chile de Arbol, stems removed (Use less if you want your chile verde mild, use more if you like it hot)
                                      1 medium onion
                                      3 cloves garlic
                                      4 Tomatillos
                                      1 Tbsp. coriander
                                      1 tsp. cumin
                                      1 tsp. chili powder
                                      1 tsp. oregano
                                      2 bay leaves
                                      Salt and pepper to taste
                                      1 bottle or can of beer of choice
                                      1 cup chicken broth
                                      2 Tbsp flour
                                      ½ cup cold water

                                      Preheat oven to 375°. Cut pork into small bite sized pieces and brown in a skillet with vegetable oil in 2 separate batches. Place cooked meat into a dutch oven. Grill the anaheims, poblanos, and jalapenos until skin is black. Also grill onion and tomatillos until slightly soft and browned. Place chilies in a brown paper bag to soften for about 20 mins.

                                      Remove skin and seeds from the blackened chilies and place in a blender with onion, garlic, tomatillos, chili de arbol and chicken broth. DO NOT WASH THE CHILES. Blend until smooth and add to meat in the dutch oven. Add the coriander, cumin, chili powder, oregano and salt and pepper. Pour beer into mixture and stir until combined.

                                      Place covered dutch oven in preheated oven and cook for approximately 2 hours or until pork is fork tender. Combine flour and cold water into a slurry and pour into chile verde mixture. Cook an additional 30 minutes with dutch oven cover removed stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and serve with fresh hot tortillas. Enjoy!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Moose

                                        I love that well- thought recipe, Moose. The critical variable is the chiles de arbol, which is the equivalent of scotch for our recently lost comrade, Christopher Hitchins, that 20 may stun or kill a mule.

                                      2. Chile verde, and some cracker version of Chile Verde using" La Victoria" are two very different thangs! I'm from Ensenada, so don't worry about my recipe being un "Authenitic". Its good! The difference between "O.K". food, and really good food, is generally subtle, and has to do with using fresh ingredients. I usually use a roughly 4 pound ,well marbled, pork roast. Pork shoulder will do, but its almost too fatty. Cube it into 1 1/2 to two in cubes. Get yourself 14 tomatillos, a head of garlic, an a big fat jalapeno pepper, cilantro, limes, an onion, a Pasilla or California pepper, and enough chicken broth or stock to barely cover every thing.Slice up half the onion and dice your pasilla pepper. Meez en place for later. Husk and rinse your tomatillos, lop of the top of your head of garlic, grab your big fat jalapeno, throw those into a tin foil lined baking pan. Lightly cover with oil, not olive oil. Broil for 15 minutes. You can do it with the oven door open, just flip everything every so often to get a nice even char. Then throw your tomatillos into a blender, cut off the stem on your jalapeno and throw it in too. Squeeze out 4 or so tooths of roasted garlic into the blender as well. Blend thoroughly. Then brown yo pork in batches, developing a nice fond as you go. You can sweat your onions and pasilla peppers in a seperate pan or remove the pot/pan that you browned your pork in from the heat ,turn your heat way down and sweat them in the same pan, just dont burn your fond! Deglaze with chicken broth/ stock. Add a Tbls of cumin and salt n pepper to taste. Add your pork back into the pan ,your Tomatillo salsa, as well as enough chicken stock to barely cover the meat." DO NOT BRING TO A BOIL". Slowly simmer for at least 3 hours. Slowly add water or chicken stock as needed to keep it from drying out. I used to add cilantro and lime to my sauce, but I've found that they are just as easily added later as an optional garnish. Better yet, make carnitas, the salsa verde, and then simmer them together real quick. The carnitas will still be crispy and the tomatillo sauce will really kick it off! Serve with some home made tortillas, frijoles de la olla and some arroz. Play with it and make it your own. That's roughly how I was taught to make it. P.s. Chimichurri ain't salsa verde.

                                        1. I just love that it's any kind of chili season again.
                                          nothing like it on a coolish or blustery night.