It’s snowing now, and almost whiteout conditions. The photo above is my deer proof garden that I built the first year I was here. Right now it is sleeping under a blanket of snow but not before I got to harvest my herbs, many of which I used in this recipe. With today’s windchill minus 20 it is perfect weather for something hearty and comforting. Below is an easy pulled pork green chili recipe that is uncomplicated and a real time saver once you get everything into your crock pot. Best of all it is incredibly adaptable as I have made the same recipe with turkey or chicken. My friends have requested it many times as it is a true favorite. Easy to make and easy to freeze for future meals.
1 Pork Should Butt 5-8 pounds. It should fit into your crock pot. ( turkey or chicken , any cut is fine but try to get a whole chicken or big turkey breast… you will have to pull the meat off the bones if you use a whole chicken after it is cooked… more below)
4 cloves of garlic
one bunch of thyme and rosemary
1 tbs salt
1/3 cup of olive oil
Pineapple juice OR Vegetable Broth OR Chicken Broth.
2 pounds of fresh green tomatillos
2 medium sized white onions
2 poblano chilis
2 jalapeno chilis
1 bunch cilantro
SECRET INGREDIENT: LIQUID SMOKE!! Just 3 drops as it is very strong.
I take my pork shoulder out of the packaging and score the top of it into a diamond pattern. I just cut through the fat; not directly into the meat on the top but everywhere else I make cuts into the meat to stuff in the marinade paste. While it is sitting on the counter, I put in a mini blender (like a bullet blender) the garlic, fresh herbs ( rosemary and thyme) salt and enough olive oil to blend it into a nice fragrant paste. If you use a turkey breast or chicken thighs, ( any cut is fine really because we are going to shred it) t just rub the paste all over it. Try to get it under the skin if you can. You can let this sit for 2 hours or in the refrigerator up to overnight. Living in a colder environment means we can leave stuff on the counter longer but to be safe just pop it in the refrigerator to marry all the flavors.
While the meat is marinating, it’s time to make your super easy great tasting green chili sauce. Take your tomatillos and pull the papery skins off them. They will feel a bit “soapy” so once they are all shelled then just do a quick rinse and pat them dry as you put them onto a baking sheet. Quarter your white onions and sneak a couple of cloves of peeled garlic as well onto the tray. I line my sheet pans with parchment paper so that I don’t have a big cleanup after roasting the tomatillos. Lay your poblanos and jalapenos on the tray whole. Place in the oven on a broiler setting and broil for 10 minutes depending on how close the tray is to your broiler. When there is a nice charring on the vegetables and the tomatillos are starting to sag and lose liquid you are there. I turn my vegetables over when halfway thru broiling with tongs.
You can see it is starting to blister when I turned everything over:
Pull the sheet pan out of the oven and with your tongs pop the tomatillos, onions and garlic into a blender. DON’T put the peppers in yet. Let them cool and then pull off the charred skin. I use gloves for this and once the skin is removed I split the peppers open and pull out all the seeds. This keeps the sauce from being too spicy and hot. Trust me , you can always put some seeds back in to increase the heat but less is best to start with a less spicy pepper. And wearing gloves means you wont touch your eyes or skin with pepper seed fingers. It burns!
Here is what a clean de-seeded charred poblano pepper should look like:
Now that your peppers are skinned and de-seeded you can pop them in the blender with any liquid that was left in the sheet pan. Add your washed cilantro… you do not have to finely chop, just get them in the blender with some good sea salt for seasoning ( about 1 tsp or more to taste) and your 3 drops of Liquid Smoke. Puree the whole thing and you have an amazing green chili sauce. If the sauce is too thick you can add a bit of vegetable broth or pineapple juice. I buy my pineapple juice from Trader Joe’s and use it for this dish and as an acid in salad dressings instead of lemon. ( Makes fabulous salad dressings)
This is what it looks like when it is all pureed and ready to pop in the refrigerator: It is such a pretty, bright and fresh green.
Usually I make this in the morning, the sauce and the meat with the marinade. I let it all sit in the refrigerator. In the evening I pull out the meat and let it come to room temperature while resting in my crock pot. After about an hour I pour a cup of pineapple juice into the bottom of the crock pot and turn it on to a high setting for about 1 hour. Pineapple and pork are a match made in heaven but you can use any broth you want, chicken, veggie broth etc. After an hour I set it on low and let it go all night long. I can tell you that it is REALLY hard to sleep with this delicious aroma floating around the house at 3 am. I got up several times to peak and it was wonderful. Here is what it looked like after the first hour in the pot and then the next morning.
This is after one hour. The next photo is in the morning after about 10 hours of simmering on low.
As you can see it is succulent and moist and ready to shred. I shut of the heat and let it cool down. After a while ( 30 minutes) I pull it out and shred shred shred with two forks until it looks like this. ( See below) Pour off some of the liquid but SAVE it! We will be using it for the sauce. I put the liquid into a big glass bowl and pop it in the fridge or outside my front door where it is cold and when the fat rises to the top I skim it off. The liquid underneath will really round out your green sauce.
Here’s what it looks like after shredding:
After you have defatted the leftover crock pot liquid pour your green sauce into the crock pot with the shredded pork and the meat gravy liquid. Do not worry if your green chili mix is too spicy at this point. Mixing it with the meat liquid will take the heat way down. Now you just mix it all together. All of it. If you need a bit more of a smokey flavor you can add another two drops of liquid smoke. Set your crock pot to low again and you will be ready to serve when it is heated thru.
WARNING: You will not be able to keep anyone away from this pot. My friends descended on it like a horde of locusts and I never even had the chance to photograph the final presentation. I served it with bowls of warm blue corn tortillas ( or chips), sour cream, pico de gallo salsa and Mexican cheese. Some people loved it with chips and made a kind of nacho concoction, putting their chips in the bowl first and ladling the green chili pork over it and then dressing it up with goodies. Other’s used their tortillas to wrap the meat in it and tried to be dainty eating the whole thing.
***Next time I will start the crock pot in the morning after letting everything sit in the refrigerator overnight. This way it will be ready for dinner and I wont be woken up by such heady aromas.
*** I really don’t do well with pork so I make mine with shredded turkey. I usually have turkey left over in the freezer and just warm and shred it, add it to the green sauce and instant chili! No matter how you do it, likely you will love it and your friends will think you are the hostess of the mostest!
Happy New Year To You All! May you all enjoy many good meals with loved ones.
PS: Let me know how you like it of if you have any questions.