Monday, May 5, 2008

Dutch Oven Chile Verde for Cinco De Mayo

So, today is Cinco de Mayo. There are those that would say that this is more of an American holiday than a Mexican one. It’s not even a national mandatory holiday. Originally, it celebrates a victory over the French at the battle of Puebla in the 1860’s. Now, it’s a chance for Mexicans in America to celebrate their heritage. Like for a day we all get to be Mexican, like on St Patrick’s Day, we all get to be Irish.

At any rate, in my own attempt to be Mexican for a day, I made some Chile Verde. As usual, I gathered this recipe from a number of sources, mostly from the good folks at the Dutch Oven Cooking Yahoo Group.

Whenever I have chile verde, I remember once when we were foster parents, in a mex-american restaurant with one of the kids we were hosting at the time. He was of Mexican descent, probably second or third generation. He was getting all uptight about how inauthentic the food and atmosphere was, and talking all about brown pride and “la raza”. Then when he ordered it, he pronounced it like a gringo: “chilee virdee”. He was a funny kid.

Anyway, here’s the recipe I used. I don’t know how “authentic” it is, but man it was tasty!

Dutch Oven Chile Verde (pronounced “Chee-lay Vehr-thay”)

12” dutch oven
Lots of coals below


  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 lbs lean pork, cubed
  • 3 mild anaheim chili, seeded and sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced (or more, to taste. In retrospect, this verde turned out pretty mild. I'd have added another jalapeno or two.)
  • 8 large tomatillo, husk peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon dried ancho chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tsp corn starch

First, I got some coals going, and I sliced up the onions. I put the oil in the bottom of the dutch oven, and added the onions, the garlic and the pork. I put all that on the coals to brown.

Then, in a bowl, I chopped up all the other veggies (I’d never used tomatillos for anything before), and added the spices. The amounts here were from a recipe. They’re good guidelines, but I didn’t stick to close to them.

Once the meat was browning, I added everything else, and let it boil for about 45 minutes, covered. Then, I let it simmer for another 45 minutes to an hour or so uncovered, to boil down, some. By that time the tomatillos had dissolved, like tomatoes do, and I added the cornstarch (mixed with a bit of water to help it dissolve), just for a tich of thickening.

In the process of cooking, some neighbors were having some friends over, and invited us as well, so I took the whole pot over. He’d made some rice, and heated up some black beans. I brought tortillas as well. They also had pork chops and veggies, and it make for a great pot luck party.

When I eat Chile Verde, I like to mix in the rice and the beans, tear up a flour tortilla, and scoop up the mixture in the tortilla. I don't know if it's more or less authentic, I just like the taste of all the foods mixed in. The rice adds texture, the pork and the chile give great flavor, and the the tortilla has a bit of a salty zing to it.


  1. The recipe sounds great. I just found your blog and wanted to say hello to a fellow Utahn.

  2. Thanks for hopping in and posting! I liked your blog, especially the art you can eat one, so much I twittered it!

    Check out John's blog at, too, for some good Utah food culture.



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