You know how you make your favorite things over and over and over and you just make them but you never really have a recipe? My green chile is like that. Green chile is kind of unique to this part of the world–southern Colorado and New Mexico, and like any regional dish, there are as many variations as there are people who make the dish. I actually first had green chile before I moved here, at a fresh, new Mexican restaurant in Atlanta, where it was served as “pork and green chile stew.” It sounded yummy then and I haven’t changed my opinion yet. However, when I moved here, I tasted so many different varieties of the dish that I waited for over a year before I tried my hand at it. My own version has gone through a number of changes over the years, but for the last several, I have pretty much made it the same way and it has gotten many compliments, so I am now taking it upon myself to actually write down the recipe. Up until this weekend, I made this in my magic red soup cauldron on top of the stove. But this weekend, I HAD to make the chile because the meat needed to be cooked, and I didn’t have the time or energy to watch it, so I just threw everything in the crock pot and damn if it didn’t come out just as good. So, it’s your choice, stove top or crock pot. The ingredients are the same. This makes a big enough portion for E and I to have it on burritos or potatoes or in a bowl, etc. for a couple of days. For larger groups, you’ll want to increase the ingredients.
Granny’s Green Chile
1/4 Cup canola oil
1/4 Cup flour
1 large, thick cut pork shoulder blade steak (or 2 if they are smaller and thinner)
1 medium onion, diced
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Cup of roasted, peeled and chopped green chiles. For those of you who don’t live where they roast bushels of fresh chile for you in the parking lots of KMart, WalMart, the farmers’ markets, etc., you can either used frozen or canned green chiles, or you can roast your own. The heat of this chile comes almost entirely from the peppers themselves. Use Anaheims for mild chile, poblanos and jalapenos for a hotter version.
1/2 can of Rotel tomatoes (you can add more, but this is not a “tomato-y” chile)
1 cube or 1 Tbl Knorr Caldo de Tomate tomato bouillon dissolved in 2 cups of water or chicken stock (stock is better).
Ground red chili powder (not the kind you use to make “Texas chili” with)
Asian garlic chili sauce (NOT Sambal Olek, there is a definite difference)
Cut the pork off the bone and dice into bite-sized cubes. You can buy pork cut for green chile, but I like the shoulder blade steaks for their marbling and their flavor. Put in a bowl with a cover and drizzle a little olive oil over and then sprinkle liberally with onion powder, garlic powder, red chili powder and add about 1 Tbl of the garlic chili sauce. Stir to coat all the pieces, cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. This, and the tomato bouillon is all the seasoning you need.
Roast the chiles or thaw and chop them or whatever you need to do to get a cup, dice the onion and garlic, measure out the tomatoes, dissolve the bouillon on the stock or water, get the oil and flour ready.
Heat a large heavy pot to medium high*. Add the oil to heat then add the flour to make a roux, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn and slowly turns a golden brown color and gives off kind of a toasty, nutty odor.
Add the onions and garlic and stir to coat. This is the point where you really need to stir constantly because you do NOT want the roux to burn. If it burns, toss it and start over, you can’t save a burnt roux. Trust me. Once the onions have started to soften, add the chiles and tomatoes. This will put a little liquid into the mix and the roux will start to turn into a sauce. You can add a little bit of the stock/bouillon mixture if you need to.
After all that has come together, add the meat and stir again to mix and coat. Once everything has come together, add the rest of the liquid, and then let simmer until done. You can test for heat or seasoning and adjust as you like. I don’t add any extra salt because the bouillon has enough for me. Your mileage may vary.
I like my green chile more like a stew with a good bit of meat. Some versions are more like a gravy, eaten over burritos or tamales or baked or mashed potatoes or just in a bowl with warm tortillas. Experiment and find out what you like.
*If you’re using a crock pot, do everything exactly the same and then just “layer” everything in the pot. I start with the onions, then the chiles and tomatoes, then the meat on top, then pour over the liquid. Then, I whisk the oil and flour together and put that on top of everything. I debated adding it, but I was glad I did because, to me, the crock pot makes everything a little watery, and this thickened up nicely. Cover and cook on high for an hour, then on low for about 3 more hours. Enjoy!