In the Southwest, we have more recipes than we need for toothsome green chile—all of them purporting to be the very best. And they are. Each and every one. I promise.
But recently I remembered years ago throwing together a very easy pork green chile in the slow cooker. I really wanted to recreate it this year as fall arrived. (Actually, fall hasn’t yet arrived, but I’m ever-hopeful.) When I considered how to make it–having only a vague recollection– I realized I wasn’t so interested in an authentic recipe (read time-consuming and labor-intensive, though luscious) as I was in one that was healthier, more straightforward, memorable for both shopping/cooking purposes, versatile, and accessible country-wide. One that literally layered just a few basic elements I, or anyone, could recall at will. (For authentic green chile stew, click here for Santa Fe School of Cooking’s famous recipe.)
Sue Hall, Lani Jordan, and I at a Santa Fe School of Cooking class in 2006
To accomplish all that, I skipped the traditional fatty pork shoulder and utilized easily cut-up boneless loin pork chops and hence didn’t have to brown the meat–a step many slow cooker lovers abhor. The cut-up pork chops eliminated the shredding, too. No searching for tomatillos here, and, I also didn’t roast chiles, which aren’t always available everywhere throughout the year and can be both messy and time-consuming. I used canned chiles and so can you–unless you roasted and froze a few containers of Pueblo or Hatch beauties in August.
Click here for post on roasting just a few chiles info.
Large cans of roasted Hatch chiles are easily obtainable at Costco/other stores and frozen roasted chiles are sometimes in your local grocer’s freezer case. (photo courtesy Costco)
Eliminating the browning, roasting/shredding, I found that layering only
lean loin pork/chops, onions/garlic, drained canned tomatoes, chiles, oregano,
along with salt and pepper, creates an easily remembered and homey potful that can be eaten in several ways:
- in a bowl as is
- with garnishes like radishes, cilantro, and lime a la posole (If you have my soup book, there’s an easy posole recipe there.)
- with rice or beans a la American chili #justaddcheese
- for tacos, tostatas, or burritos (use slotted spoon to serve or drain stew meat)
In the end, my simplified version was mostly a quite meaty stew, though despite draining the tomatoes, there’s plenty of mouthwatering juice if you want it. (Thickens up overnight.) You might even have it in bowls one night, freeze the rest, and pull it out for tacos for the weekend as Dave and I did. When we went downstairs to eat on trays and watch a movie, here’s what we found:
Anyway, enjoy Pork Green Chile my easy way. It’s great for Friday dinner at home if you can find a spot in the family room, for the office potluck, or made ahead for the neighborhood holiday do. I’ll bet you, too, will find more than one way to use this filling feast. Be your own taco truck and… … … …
SLOW COOKER 5 main-INGREDIENT PORK GREEN CHILE
— bowls or tacos
Yes, you’re right; there are more than 5 ingredients if you count spices and herbs. Which I don’t. Not here anyway. Remember: Boneless pork chops, onions, garlic, canned tomatoes, and chiles. That’s 5!
6-8 servings in bowls (depends on how served–you’ll get 10-12 servings if you add rice/beans and use less stew)
16-20 tacos (less if using large tortillas, more if using small)
Using canned mild chiles, this dish is not spicy-hot, but is warm and full of flavor. If you like really spicy, you can use hotter chiles, or layer in some minced jalapeños, or even add a little hot sauce to the pork at the table.
If possible, do all the chopping in the food processor for ease of preparation.
- 3 1/2 pounds boneless loin pork chops, cut into 1-inch cubes (or use pork loin roast, sliced and cubed)
- Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
- Dried oregano
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped (reserve tomato juice for another use)
- 2 cups mild, roasted green chiles, chopped (canned, such as drained HATCH* Mild Chiles or home made)
- 1 teaspoon Chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground cumin
Optional garnishes: Lime, chopped cilantro, shredded lettuce or cabbage, sliced green onions, grated cheddar or jack cheese, chopped avocado, chopped cucumbers, chopped fresh tomato, thinly sliced radishes, sour cream/Greek yogurt
In a small bowl, mix the chopped onion and garlic. Set aside.
To the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker, add 1/3 of the cubed pork in an even layer. Sprinkle pork with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano. Top seasoned pork in even layers with approximately 1/3 each of the onion-garlic mixture, tomatoes, and chiles, reserving about 1/4 cup tomatoes for last layer. Repeat twice.
In a small bowl, mix reserved 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes with the chili powder and ground cumin. Spread tomato mixture on top of the layers and stir in just a bit.
Cook on high 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings, remembering that flavors and heat will be dumbed down if serving over beans or rice. Serve hot in bowls (as is or with rice, beans, or with hot tortillas on the side) or, using a slotted spoon or after straining, spoon pork mixture into warm tortillas to make tacos, tostatas, or burritos. Top with optional garnishes as desired; I think the lime just pops the heck out of either the bowl or the taco. Use it!
*If you use a 28-ounce can of Hatch mild chiles, you’ll need about 2/3 of it for this recipe. (Use the rest stirred into your scrambled eggs with cheese or on a salad.) Really like chiles and want a little more heat? Use the whole can, drained.
Serving Notes: Tortillas? Warm your corn or flour tortillas wrapped in foil in a 375 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes or individually on a hot griddle on the stove, adding each to a foil lined bowl placed in 200 degree F oven to stay warm.
Gluten-Free Notes: Check ingredient labels for all added ingredients. Use only GF full-corn tortillas. The Ortega canned green chiles I checked online were gluten-free, for instance, but I did not check every brand.
Bigger Batch? I haven’t tried this yet, but there was definitely room in my 6-quart slow cooker for more pork. Perhaps at least another pound, pound and a half. Of course, you’d have to increase the other ingredients accordingly. If you try it, let me know.
DRINKS: Wine? Syrah. Not a blend. Beer? A really icy Mexican beer like Dos Equis. Your choice.
“Great wine requires a mad man to grow the vine, a wise man to watch over it, a lucid poet to make it, and a lover to drink it.” —Spanish Surrealist painter Salvador Dali (1904-1989).
Update the language in your head; sadly I refuse to change history by making it an inclusive statement. He did, however, live long enough to see female wine-makers.
If you liked this recipe, you may also like my Colorado Two-Potato Stew with Green Chiles and Cheese
Sing a new song,