Thursday, May 8, 2008

My Chili Verde Version

I stole the basics of this recipe from the Divine PJ, here, but she makes hers in a crockpot, and I just cannot do anything with a crockpot. I've tried and tried, and I know so many people who love them, but everything that I make in a crockpot tastes basically the same, and that "same" is pretty vile. So I've altered this a little plus added some suggestions for those not on Atkins induction (if you are, her recipe is absolutely terrific for induction plus she bothered to work out the carbs, and I'm too lazy). It's also reasonably paleo, if you omit the bean suggestion at the bottom and the beer. And the chorizo, I suppose, since it's processed. But it would still be great; that's the beauty of this recipe!

Ingredients: (Note that this is NOT a fussy recipe, and you can vary the quantities of any of these things.)
Any cut of pork that you're willing to chop, about 5 lbs. (Pork tenderloin is the easiest, and if you can find ground pork, it will save you a huge amount of time.)
A bottle of beer (I've made this with and without the beer, and I've used all kinds of beer. It's better with, marginally. Lagers are better than dark beers, which add other flavors.)
2 red onions, diced
About 3 cups diced hot or sweet peppers, diced
(I like things so hot that they take you head off, so you'll want to adjust this based on your own heat preferences, but bear in mind that peppers vary a lot in intensity; jalapenos, for example, are sometimes very hot and sometimes barely at all. I use a big handful of jalapenos, a few Anaheim peppers, a few Hungarian peppers, and a few Italian sweet peppers.)
15 tomatillos, chopped
1 or 2 jars chili verde sauce.
(That's the yummy green salsa. I think you could probably do without this, but if you're in the Northeast, Wegman's makes a really good roasted chili verde sauce.)
1 or 2 cans diced green chiles
Garlic, to taste
(I love garlic so I use most of a head. You could use less.)
Spices, as desired (I like cumin and basil and smoked paprika. PJ lists oregano and sage, too, but I'm not a big sage fan.)
Salt and pepper (Freshly ground pepper is a lot better.)
Olive oil (or whatever oil you like to cook with. PJ likes peanut oil, but I can't stand the taste of it.)
OPTIONAL (and not so low-carb): 1 can kidney beans or red beans (this is very little carb relative to the volume of chili you're making; we eat sparing doses of legumes, but if you don't, just omit this. It's really good, though... gives that chili feel without adding a lot of carbs.) Be sure to drain and rinse the beans; the water they come in tend to be bitter.
OPTIONAL: Grated cheddar or monterey jack cheese for topping
OPTIONAL: Thinly sliced chorizo

The thing that is a pain about this recipe is that you have to do a ton of chopping. It is well-worth hauling out the food processor and doing nearly everything in it. You still have to chop the meat and the chorizo (if you use it), but it will save a ton of time and annoyance.

Start by browning the pork in a little olive oil (with the chorizo if you're using it; you will need less oil then). It's going to take a while; you have a lot of meat. Do small batches, because if you put too much in the pan, you're steaming it, not browning it, and that misses the whole point. Put the batches of browned meat into a large stockpot. Then saute the garlic, peppers, and onions in olive oil (again, this may take a couple of batches depending on the size of your saute pan. Put the iPod on, and plan to spend some time...). Add any spices you're using at this point; the heat helps the flavor bloom. Add to the stockpot.

Then put everything else into the stockpot. You may also want to add a little water if this is very dry, but the tomatillos give off a lot of liquid when they cook, so go easy. Bring to a simmer, and then turn the heat down very low and cook for at least 2 hours. You can cook this for longer... you can actually simmer it pretty much forever... and it will just deepen the flavors.

Serve with a little grated cheese on top, if desired.

This stores well... it's actually far better the next day. It will also cook down more than you think, so although I make this in the Big Stock Pot, it doesn't mean that you're going to be eating chili for the rest of your life (although it does freeze well, too). And it tastes great... everyone here loves it, from my English husband to my semi-picky 13 year old son. (Note that you can modify this recipe considerably; it's good with a can of tomatoes added; we like Muir Glen Fire-Roasted, although again that increases the carb count. There are probably many other things you could add, and I'd love to hear ideas!)

(And thanks again to PJ for the original recipe!)

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