As New Englanders we may be out of our element when discovering the magic of chilies but it is such a fun, delicious adventure worth experimentation. Pictured above starting with the orange pepper we have the sweet escamillo. Clockwise we have poblanos, then sweet red Marconi, jalepeno, cayenne, small green pueblos and a larger red pueblo. Growing up what I knew as chili was the Tex-mex variety with canned tomatoes, ground beef and beans seasoned with chili powder. A little time in the Southwest introduced me to New Mexican red and green chili which is more like a sauce. Then friends introduced me to these two different styles of green chili. One is the pork and roasted chili "gravy" of Pueblo, CO that fits in half way in the sauce camp and half in the main dish camp. The other is a magical blend of roasted tomatillos, poblanos and chicken for a real hearty stew. Both recipes begin with roasting chilies.
Roasting Sweet Peppers and Chilies - If you have a free afternoon or evening you can build up a backyard fire and when the flames die back to nice hot coals you can grill your chilies right over them to infuse a nice smoky flavor to your dish. If you don't have that kind of time roasting chilies is easy to do at home, under a broiler if you have an electric stove or right over the flame on your gas burner. Let each side get nice and charred before turning the the next side. The blackened skins will easily peel away.
To prepare your peppers after roasting put them directly into a paper bag while they are hot and the steam will help loosen the skins. When cool peel the skins off, and take out the stem and seeds. You may want to wear gloves while taking out the seeds as they can deposit their fiery oils on your skin! Now your roasted peppers are ready to use.
Pueblo Green Chili
In a dutch oven brown a pound of cubed pork shoulder (seasoned with salt and pepper) over medium heat and set aside. To the same pan add a chopped onion, a few cloves smashed garlic and if you like some diced celery and carrots. When the onions are tender add back the pork, about 2 roasted poblanos, pueblo chilies or other peppers such as Annahiem. You can also put some sweet red peppers in or our Ausilio red pepper which has a nice kick to it. The amount and type of chili is highly variable based on the heat of the peppers and the people you are serving. The key is tasting as you go. Add about 2 cups chopped tomatoes - roast them first if you make that fire! Also one tablespoon each of roasted ground cumin and coriander. Top of with a quart and half - 2 quarts chicken stock or bone broth. Season it all with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let simmer unit the pork is tender. About an hour. Feel free to simmer up to 2.5 hours to let the flavors come together and the liquid reduce. Finally make a roux of about 2 Tablespoons each butter and flour. When the roux is golden add to the chili and stir, let cook until the chili has thickened. Then ladle into a soup bowl and serve with cornbread for a simple dinner or ladle generously over chili rellenos. Also great with eggs, refried beans, fresh tortillas.
Green Chili with Chicken:
Chop an onion and 2 cloves of garlic and heat in a dutch oven with olive oil or bacon fat if you have some on hand. Roast 2 poblanos or a combination of poblanos, ausilios or pueblo chilies. While you are doing that you can husk a pint of tomatillos and roast them as well. If you have a grill that is the easiest way to go, but again, under a broiler will work too, just keep an eye on them. Skin and chop your peppers and coarsely chop the tomatillos. Set both aside. When onions are soft add 1 Tbsp each of ground toasted cumin and coriander and a Tbsp of smoked paprika. Next take 2 meaty chicken thighs (about a pound), season with salt and pepper and place skin side down in the pan. Brown the thighs and flip to the other side. Now you can add your tomatillos, peppers and a can of white beans. Cover with chicken stock or bone broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the chicken is cooked through about 40 minutes. Remove chicken and shred. Return meat to pot. At this point you can adjust the seasoning. Serve with various toppings: cilantro, scallions, sour cream, cheddar cheese, radish slices, lime wedges.
And what to eat along side all this chili? Cornbread of course. I use our own freshly ground Roy's Calais Flint Corn in this recipe from Bob's Red Mill. Serve with HMF honey and butter!