In northern New Mexico, green chili stew is legendary. Everybody makes it, everybody eats it and everybody loves it, even if everybody makes a different version: with or without potatoes or tomatoes or cumin or tomatillos or cilantro, but never without a healthy amount of green chili peppers.
The original recipe makes 8 to 10 servings, so feel free to double these amounts.
Pork is the stew-meat favorite, but the dish can be made with lamb, beef, chicken or turkey. Serve with warm, thick corn tortillas on the side.
Servings: 4 - 5
- 2 1/2 pounds well-marbled boneless pork butt (shoulder), cut into 2-inch cubes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or lard
- 1 large onion, cut into small dice (about 2 cups)
- 2 to 3 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground (see NOTES)
- 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes (may use fresh or canned)
- 3 large carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut crosswise into chunks
- 1/2 cup chopped, roasted green chili peppers, or more to taste (see NOTES)
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 4 cups water or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice (about 2 large potatoes)
- Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Line a platter with paper towels.
Heat the oil or lard in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Working in batches, brown the meat lightly on all sides (it will not be cooked through), then transfer to the lined platter.
Add the onion to the pot, still over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 or 5 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Add the garlic, cumin, tomatoes, carrots and green chili peppers, then sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to coat evenly. Season lightly with salt, return the browned meat to the pot and stir to mix well. Cover the mixture with the water or broth; increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Taste and adjust the salt or amount of green chili peppers as necessary. The broth should be well seasoned and fairly spicy. Add the potatoes; cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender. Skim any fat from the surface of the broth.
Let the stew rest for 1 hour or more before serving. Or transfer to an airtight container, cover and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, reheat the stew just until the meat is warmed through. Ladle into warmed bowls; sprinkle with the chopped cilantro.
NOTES: Fresh green chili peppers, such as New Mexico or Anaheim, should be roasted over an open flame on a barbecue grill or gas burner or under the broiler. Once they are blackened and cooled, don food-safe gloves to rub off the skins, remove the stems and seeds, and coarsely chop the peppers. Six large fresh chili peppers will yield about 1/2 cup chopped.
A pretty fair approximation can be made with a combination of roasted fresh poblano chili peppers (sometimes called pasillas) and roasted jalapenos. Frozen green chili peppers are an acceptable substitute for fresh; use commercially canned chili peppers only as a last resort.
Adapted from "A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes," by David Tanis (Artisan, 2008).
Tested by Joe Yonan.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.