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Authentic Chile Verde, Slow Cooker Style
I first learned to cook Mexican food from a wonderful Mexican lady we called Tee. Tee was the chef and kitchen manager at a small restaurant that I owned in the late 70’s. Tee’s Mexican dishes were fabulous! As I cooked with her, I learned that her food was a bit different than that I would get in Old Mexico, and definitely different from the California Style Mexican food or Tex-Mex. Tee’s style of cooking reflected her New Mexico roots, and she was very proud of that. My favorite dish that we served at that restaurant was Chile Verde, which, translated into English, is Green Chile. I had ordered chile verde in many restaurants previously, and it had always been in a tomato base. Tee, however, insisted that real, authentic chile verde was actually green – just like the name says; no tomatoes could be added or it couldn’t be called “Green” Chile. Since then, I’ve learned that different regions add different ingredients to their Chile Verde, but this green one without tomatoes remains my favorite.
While testing recipes for a slow cooker class, I learned that dishes with a roux adapt very well to the slow cooker. Since Chile Verde starts with a roux, I tested my recipe with very few changes and it turned out beautifully. What used to take me several hours of hands-on time, now takes 15-30 minutes depending on how fast I am gathering ingredients and cutting the meat. I don’t expect to prepare this dish the long way again anytime soon. The slow cooker makes it easy and fast.
This recipe is very versatile. It can be eaten as is, with fresh flour tortillas to scoop up the luscious sauce, or it can be put into burritos and topped with cheese. If you’re craving breakfast, fry two eggs, place them on a lightly fried corn tortilla, then ladle chile verde over the eggs and top with cheese-bake until the cheese melts; that’s a New Mexican version of Huevos Rancheros. I also love it over puffy omelet-style chile rellenos.
If you insist that your “green” chile has tomatoes, you can add a can or two of Rotel tomatoes during the last few hours of cooking. If you add the tomatoes, though, please don’t call it Chile Verde—people will think you are colorblind!
1/4 cup vegetable oil, or shortening
1/3-1/2 cup flour
2 pounds pork loin, trimmed of all fat and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 8 oz. cans mild diced green chilies
1 tablespoon granular chicken bouillon, or 3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cups water
Heat the oil or shortening in a small skillet over medium heat; whisk in the flour (enough to make a thick roux) and cook, stirring constantly, until, the mixture is the color of peanut butter. Pour the mixture into a 3 quart slow cooker.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally if you happen to think about it. Taste for seasoning and serve.
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