It's the end of summer and harvest time is upon us. There are lots of great fruits and vegetables available now which is a stark reminder that I haven't written anything on my blog for months now! I've been so busy with other things for the past several months that I've had almost no time to be in the kitchen.
Last week, Kat came home with a very large box of fresh tomatillos and I knew that my "vacation" was over! Tomatillos are one of my favorite autumn fruits. Like a little green tomato wrapped in a husk, tomatillos are perfect for both salsa verde and chili verde. Both are welcome in my house anytime! Kat made salsa verde last week for a barbecue we had and it was fantastic! For all the tomatillos she used in that recipe she only put a small dent in our supply, leaving me lots to make chili with.
This is a recipe I came up with a few years ago and has been one of my favorites ever since. I start with a bone-in pork shoulder roast. Of course, this means I have to bone it myself, which can be tricky as the shoulder blade is a rather twisty-curvy bone and can be difficult to get all the meat off of. If you are completely intimidated, ask your butcher to de-bone the roast for you.
I also like to roast my vegetables under the broiler before making the chili. I roast all the tomatillos and fresh chiles that I am putting into the pot. I usually do not use all fresh chiles, however, as roasting and skinning that many peppers can be rather labor intensive. If you wish to put the time into doing this, by all means do so! I usually roast a few peppers and use canned for the rest. Today I have fresh jalapeños, a banana pepper and a poblano pepper that I will be roasting with the tomatillos.
What I have done today is to start with:
1 bone-in pork shoulder roast ("Boston Butt"), approx. 4 lbs
Carefully carve out the bone and trim the meat. Cut the meat into bite sized pieces, season with a small amount of salt and pepper and set aside in the refrigerator for an hour or two. Also make sure to save the bone and any odd bits of meat. Meanwhile, rend the fat over low heat until well liquified. Set this aside as well.
Take a cookie sheet and line it with foil. Wash and halve:
approx. 2-3 lbs of fresh tomatillos (you may substitute up to half of these with green tomatoes, if you choose)
Arrange the tomatillo/tomato halves on the cookie sheet along with:
5 fresh jalapeños
and broil for about 10 minutes or so, flipping the peppers about halfway through. When finished broiling, remove the pan from the oven and dice everything. Do not skin the jalapeños or tomatillos. The charred skins add a nice color to the chili. The tomatillos will let off a bit of their juices while broiling. Do not throw this away! Save the juices and add it to the pot when the time comes!
Using a little of the fat rendered from the pork, brown the pork over medium-high heat. Do this in 2 or even 3 batches if necessary, so as not to overcrowd the pan. Once the pork is browned, set it aside. Add to the pan:
1 large onion, diced
Saute the onion over low heat until soft, scraping up the fond from the bottom of the pot as the onions cook. Add:
7-8 cloves of garlic (roughly 1 small head), finely chopped
Stir until garlic begins to cook, about 1 minute. Add in:
2 T flour
Stir to combine. Add to the pot:
1 qt. chicken stock
2 c water (if needed)
1 large can mild green chilies, drained, sliced
1 large can hominy, white or yellow (optional)
2 T dried oregano
1 T sugar
2 t salt
2 t ground cumin (I prefer to roast and grind my own with a mortar and pestle)
1 t chili powder
juice from 2 limes
Add in the browned pork, along with the pork bits and the bone from the roast. Bring to a near boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. The chili should thicken quite a bit. When the soup is nearly finished, remove the pork bone. Clean off any remaining bits of meat and add them back into the pot with:
1/2 c chopped cilantro
1/2 c chopped cilantro
Serve topped with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and a garnishment of fresh cilantro, with either corn chips or corn tortillas on the side.