Sonoran Pork Chile Verde
Make your own Sonoran Chile Verde using my healthier-than-dining-out version. You can also make it gluten-free with a few substitutions.
Ingredients2 lb. pork tenderloin, rinsed, dried and cut into 1‑inch pieces
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose unbleached OR Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour, divided
1¼ tsp. salt divided into 1 tsp. and ¼ tsp.
5 to 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed
2 large onions, chopped
8 roasted Anaheim and/or Poblano (Pasilla) chilies, peeled, seeded, deveined, and divided in half OR
3 6-oz. cans fire-roasted whole green chilies, seeded, deveined, and divided in half
(If roasting chilies, see instructions below*)
½ lb. firm bright green tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed of sticky residue, cored, and cut in fourths
1 bunch fresh cilantro, rinsed, drained, and cut into thirds, discard the last third or ends
1 tbsp. dried Mexican oregano, crushed or regular dried oregano
1½ tbsp. granulated garlic powder
2 to 3 bay leaves – optional
5 cups hot water mixed with 3½ tbsp. reduced-sodium chicken soup base or 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
8 10-inch, low-fat flour tortillas made without hydrogenated oil or lard OR 8 10-inch
gluten-free flour tortillas
8 tbsp. low-fat sour cream or Crema Mexicana (Mexican table cream) – optional
1. Chop four roasted chilies, set aside. Add the remaining chiles to a food processor or blender with the tomatillos and ¾ of the cilantro, including stems. Blend until smooth. Chop remaining cilantro; set aside. 2. Toss pork with 2 tbsp. flour and ¼ tsp. salt.
2. Spray a large Dutch oven or pan with cooking spray and preheat on medium-high. Add pork to pan in a roomy layer. Searing both sides, allow meat to stick slightly to pan’s surface leaving a browned glaze, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove seared meat from pan and set aside, covered. Reduce heat to medium, respray pan with cooking spray and repeat process.
3. Reduce heat to low. Add garlic and onions. Sauté 10 minutes or until browned from deglazing the pan. Add 1 cup broth while sautéing to aid in deglazing. Add oregano thru salt and sauté until fragrant. Add pureed tomatillo mixture and chopped chilies.
4. A tablespoon at a time, thoroughly blend a ¼ cup flour into vegetables. Stirring constantly, increase heat to medium‑high, add remaining broth and bring to gentle boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes.
5. Add pork to pan and increase heat to medium. Stirring, cook 5 minutes or until meat is heated through. If sauce is too thick, add a little water or broth. Remove from heat, adjust seasonings, if necessary, and serve.
*To Roast Fresh Chile Peppers
1. Move rack to top position in oven and turn to “broil.” Line baking sheet(s) with foil, put 4 to 6 chilies on each, leaving 3-inches between. Place sheet(s) on rack directly under boiler, leaving oven door slightly ajar.
2. Using tongs to turn chilies, roast/broil until skin is charred and separated from all sides, 4 minutes per side, 12 to 16 minutes total. Using tongs, place chilies in a heavy-duty plastic bag that seals closed. Allow chilies to sweat for 15 minutes.
3. One at a time, remove chilies from bag. Under cool running water, peel each chile. Slit chilies using your finger and pull out veins, stems, and seeds. Set aside to drain on paper towels before using in recipes.
NutritionNutrition Information: 1½ cups with 1 tortilla and 1 tbsp. Mexican crema at 360 calories; 9g Fat; 40g carbohydrate; 3g fiber; 31g protein; 45mg cholesterol; 845 sodium
Gluten Free Nutrition Information: 1½ cups with 1 tortilla and 1 tbsp. Mexican crema at 370 calories; 11g Fat; 42g carbohydrate; 7 fiber; 30g Protein; 45mg cholesterol; 890mg sodium
Traditional Recipe Nutrition Information: 1½ cups with 1 tortilla and 2 tbsp. Mexican crema at 900 calories; 60g Fat; 40g carbohydrate; 3g fiber; 45g protein; 150mg cholesterol; 1522mg sodium
Healthy Cooking Tips and Techniques
1. Traditional Chili Verde is made with pork shoulder which is higher in fat, so this version is made with pork tenderloin—a leaner cut of meat. Because it’s leaner, it cooks faster. So, to prevent overcooking, we sear it and remove it from the heat until the last few minutes of cooking time. This cooking method is quicker and keeps the meat tender.
2. Vegetables vary in the amount of water they contain. Sautéing them at lower heats prevents their natural moisture from evaporating too quickly. This allows them to cook in their own juices and eliminates the need to add fats such as butter or oil to prevent sticking.
3. Rather than using lard or butter combined with starch to thicken the green sauce, I use what I call a “vegetable roux.” A vegetable roux blends a starch—in this case wheat or gluten-free flour—with the vegetables. As with a traditional fat roux, liquid is added to create a sauce that thickens as it cooks.