Green Chili Pork

4.64 from 11 votes
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This uniquely flavored Green Chili Pork is made with fall-apart tender pork shoulder, fresh tomatillos, and zesty green chiles. You’ll love the versatility of this dish and how easy it is to repurpose leftovers into a meal that feels like something totally new.

If you have ever been to Colorado, then you are familiar with Green Chili Pork. It is one of the few foods that is special to Colorado, and we take it seriously! Sometimes you will see big chunks of pork in it like this, other times it is more of a green chili sauce with just a few pieces of shredded pork.

You can get you burrito smothered in it, your eggs topped with it, or you can do like I did and just turn it into tacos. It is so full of flavor, and you can make it mild or spicy according to your taste buds.

pork green chili in a white bowl

 

In late August to about the middle of October, Hatch chile peppers are in season. Farmer’s markets and grocery stores rotate them in giant black drums, roasting them on site. The scent is intoxicating. If you are lucky enough to be there at that time, those are the perfect peppers for this traditional green chili recipe.

I realize that freshly roasted Hatch chiles aren’t available in all places, but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones you can use. Poblano peppers and Anaheim Peppers are both fresh mild peppers that swap in beautifully. And of course, if you want something that will make you sweat, add a jalapeno or habanero.

green chili ingredients

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Pork Shoulder– Sometimes called pork butt, this will need to be trimmed and cut into cubes. It is a notoriously tender cut of meat when cooked correctly (low and slow) and it is fall-apart delicious.
  • Olive Oil– To saute the onions and garlic and help roast the hatch green chiles, although any neutral oil will do.
  • Cilantro– Gives a slight earthy and citrus flavor to the sauce.
  • Black Pepper– Freshly ground is always best, but preground works too. White pepper is a great swap for a lighter peppery taste.
  • Chicken Stock– Is the liquid that helps the pork become incredibly tender while it slowly cooks while infusing with flavor. Low sodium versions help you control the saltiness.
  • Tomatillos– Gives the sauce the classic green color, flavor and texture.
  • Salt– Enhances and amplifies all the flavors.
  • Oregano– Sometimes viewed as an Italian herb, it is found quite frequently in Latin and Tex Mex cuisines.
  • Green Chili Peppers– If you can find hatch chili peppers, they are the best! But you can also use poblano or anaheim peppers if you have trouble finding them.
  • Cumin– A warm spice that gives a “I can’t quite put my finger on it” taste.
  • Onion– I’ve never met a chili that didn’t have onion.
  • Garlic– Combined with onion, these add a beautiful aeromatic to add to the dish. Make sure to use fresh for full garlic flavor.
pouring green chili sauce into pot with browned pork

How To Roast Hatch Green Chiles

For this green chili, I actually roasted them at home in my oven, but if you can get them already roasted, go for it! Roasting them in your oven is so simple, and the amount of flavor it adds to your dish is worth every extra minute it takes.

  1. Start by drizzling a little olive oil over the chili peppers and tomatillos on a baking sheet. If you want to make it spicy, you can also add a jalapeno to this.
  2. Then, place the baking sheet in the oven and cook until the skins start to char and blister.
  3. Turn the peppers over several times during the roasting process so the skins evenly char all over.
  4. Remove the peppers from the oven and place in a bowl. Immediately cover with plastic wrap to trap the steam and make the skins easy to remove.
  5. After about 10-15 minutes when the peppers are cool enough to handle, carefully remove the charred skin and cut off the stem.
  6. Using the back of your knife (or a paring knife), carefully scrape out the inside to remove the seeds from the chiles and then dice them up.

peppers ready to roast

What Can You Substitute For Hatch Green Chiles?

I adore the flavor of hatch green chiles and wish I could run to the market all year and grab them to make a tasty batch of Green Chili Pork. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find them when they are out of season. I always try to grab enough to freeze and use later, but undoubtedly I never have enough to last until the next season rolls around.

If you’re having trouble finding them fresh, you can always substitute poblano or anaheim peppers. The roasted flavor is something that adds so much depth of flavor to this recipe you’ll barely even notice you used a different variety of pepper.

Fresh is best, but all of these chiles are generally available canned in the International food section of your grocery store.

pork tacos topped with green chili on a white plate

How To Make Green Chili Pork

  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  2. Roast the green chiles according to the instructions above (or prep the canned versions).
  3. While the chiles are roasting, soften the onions and garlic in a skillet with a small amount of olive oil.
  4. Season the cubed pork shoulder and brown it in a stock pot or dutch oven with olive oil.
  5. Combine the chile and tomatillo mixture with chicken stock and other seasonings. Add it to the stock pot or dutch oven and bring the liquid to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 8 hours, stirring occasionally, until pork is fork tender.
browning pork shoulder in a pot

Tips And Tricks

  • Roast your peppers ahead of time. If you can find hatch green chiles while they are in season, you can roast them in bulk and freeze them for up to a year to enjoy them when the next craving strikes.
  • Switch it up. Love the flavor of this dish but hate serving the same recipe too often? Use some of my plating suggestions below to breate some new life into it.
  • Make it a double. Double the ingredients to double the recipe. Once you try this for the first time, I promise you will absolutely fall in love. It makes delicious leftovers and freezes well.
  • Make it spicy. If you are using hatch green chiles, they come in different heat levels, so just use what heat level you like. But if you are using another pepper that is more mild, you can add a jalapeno to the mix to make it spicy. Just roast it along side the other peppers and tomatillos.
pork green chili in a white bowl

How To Serve It

Our personal favorite way to serve this Green Chili Pork is over corn tortillas and topped with avocado and queso fresco. However, the flavors in this dish are so versatile you can enjoy it in a number of ways.

  • Over rice. The rice soaks up all of the flavors from the sauce and makes for a tasty bite.
  • In a bowl. Yeah, I know. This sounds pretty unoriginal but sometimes the best way to enjoy a dish is to appreciate the simplicity of its flavors. You can serve a tortilla on the side to sop up the leftover on the sides.
  • A salad. Serve it over a bed of lettuce with cotija cheese for a fresh take on a traditional recipe.
  • Tacos. Putting the pork inside a tortilla topped with slice avocado and cilantro is just a delicious dinner idea.
a plate of pork tacos

Make Ahead And Storage

As I mentioned, this dish makes great leftovers and can even be a great freezer meal. I don’t always have 8 hours to simmer a meal, so knowing that I have something delicious I can warm up in a flash is always a relief.

To freeze this dish, allow it to cool completely and add it to freezer-safe containers. I prefer to freeze it in individual servings so it can double as a quick lunch box solution and it also defrosts quicker in smaller portions.

cose up colorado style green chili pork

More Flavorful Pork Dinner Recipes

close up pork green chili tacos
4.64 from 11 votes

Green Chili Pork

By Erin
This uniquely flavored Green Chili Pork is made with fall-apart tender pork shoulder, fresh tomatillos, and green chiles. You'll love the versatility of this dish and how easy it is to repurpose leftovers into a meal that feels like something totally new.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound tomatillos, paper removed
  • 1 pound hatch chile peppers, (anaheim or poblanos will work)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into cubes

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • On a lined baking sheet drizzle olive oil over hatch chile peppers and tomatillos. Place in oven and cook until the skin starts to char. Turn over, so most of the skin ends up charred. Remove from the oven, and place in a bowl. Cover immediately with plastic wrap. Let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and saute until soft.
  • After 15 minutes, when the peppers are cool enough to handle, start peeling away the skin. Cut off the stem, and remove the seeds. Place into a blender. If the tomatillos have a stem, cut off and place in the blender.
  • Add onion mixture, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and cilantro. Blend until smooth.
  • In a large dutch oven or stock pot heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Season cubed pork with salt and pepper. Add to the pot, and cook until browned.
  • Stir in the blended chili mixture and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer (uncovered) and cook for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • If the chile sauce reduces too much, you can stir in a little more chicken stock.

Notes

Served over corn tortillas topped with avocado and Queso Fresco.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 624kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 516mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Course: Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 624
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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27 Comments

  1. i have a question…after the peppers and tomatillos are roasted, do i peel the charred tomatillos as well ? not familiar with cooking with them. this sounds sooo great.

    1. You husk tomatillos before you use them, and then no you don’t remove the skin. They act much like a tomato – so once you roast it, it will be soft, mushy and falling apart. Just put it and all the juice together to make the sauce.