OK, so I'm trying to figure out how to use chiles in my outdoor cooking. It seems to me that you can never fully tell just how hot something's going to be just by how many jalapeňos you add, right? I mean, the actual hotness varies, it seems. I put in one chile one day, and wow! It's way too hot, another day I put in three and it barely tickles. What's up with that?
OK, I'm exaggerating. A little. Still, I'm struggling, here. He'p me out!
The reason I bring all this up, is because I revisited an old favorite recipe the other day, one that I pulled from my outdoor cooking archive. Dutch Oven Chile Verde. I had eaten a smothered burrito at a small mom-n-pop Mexican place a few weeks back that was hotter than that one hot place that good Mormon boys aren't supposed to say. I swear this burrito bit me back. Man, it was good!
I kinda wanted to duplicate that sensation. But I failed miserably. I think it had a lot to do with the knowledge that my kids don't handle hot very well, and I knew that if it was a "3-alarmer", they wouldn't even touch it. So, I did back off a bit. But it also turned out that I backed off too much. It was pretty weak. Still, the family liked it, so I guess that's OK, right?
I also did some black beans in my 10", and some rice in my 8" dutch ovens.
Dutch Oven Chile Verde
12” dutch oven
Lots of coals below
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 green onions, sliced (into the greens)
- 3 lbs lean pork, cubed
- 8 large tomatillo, husk peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2-3 mild anaheim chilis, sliced
- 1-3 jalapenos, sliced
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground sage
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice of 1-2 lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- sprinkles of flour for thickening
The whole process started the night before, when I took out a half pound of black beans and set them in a bowl to soak.
The next day, when cookin' time came, I started up some coals and got the onions and garlic chopped while they were getting ready. I put the oil in the dutch oven, and got it good and hot. I've learned that's the secret to sauteeing. It's gotta be hot first.
While the onions were carmelizing, I cubed up the pork, from a roast we had in the freezer (thawed, of course), and added that to brown. Since the dutch oven was quite hot, it was easy to get a good brown singe on the pork. Yummmm....
I don't remember exactly how or when, but somewhere in all that, I changed the water on the beans, put them in my 10" dutch oven and put that on a lot of coals as well. I put the lid on and let that simmer and cook, adding coals all the while to keep it hot.
While that was going on, I got the tomatillos chopped and added them as well, with the chicken stock (which was stock that I made myself in my own dutch oven!). Once the tomatillos and the chicken stock was in, I put on the lid, and the rest of the time it cooked lid on, with only bottom heat.
Here's where what I actually did diverges from what I'm telling you I would do next time. Next time, I'd start by slicing up the anaheims and just adding them in, without de-seeding them. Then, I'd probably add one jalapeňo, also sliced, also without seeding, and I'd let that cook for about a half hour. While that was going on, I'd add all the herbs and spices in the next ingredient group. Much of the spices and herbs are being added, not so much by measure, but more by taste, by the way.
Then, after about a half hour, I'd taste it and see if it were hot enough. If so, great, just let it keep cookin'. If not, I'd add another jalapeňo, and let it cook for another half hour. I'd keep going like that until it was just as hot as I'd like it.
Then, once it's hot enough, I'd let it simmer for about another half hour or so. At that point, I'm back to where I was on Sunday. I set up my little 8" with a cup of rice and 2 cups of water, and put that on some coals to boil. This was also done with the lid on, and only bottom heat. I kept checking on the beans, and they were done right (with a bit of salt) and ready to go.
Dinner was served!