Well, I finally did it. I cracked the code! If you crave the style of green chili you’ll find on smothered burritos throughout Denver and the rest of Colorado, this is a recipe you’ll want to bookmark. This is a very thin chili that contains little to no meat, which is quite different from a traditional chunky Chili Verde. If you’ve ever eaten at Santiago’s, Alberto’s or Chubby’s, you’ll know what to expect from this recipe. Unfortunately, this is not an exact science, so it will take a little trial and error with each batch to get it the way you want it.
20 cups water
2 bone-in pork chops
26 ounces roasted chopped green chilies
2 cloves minced garlic
5 oz tomato purée
2 tablespoons bacon grease
2 teaspoon salt
A word about the chilies: If you can, get Hatch… Or at least something from New Mexico, or perhaps Arizona. If you can’t, avoid the canned stuff at all costs. That strange preservative they’re floating in (brine?) just kills the flavor. Find some Bueno frozen chilies if you can’t get the good stuff. Hot, mild, or mixed… The choice is yours. I’m able to find hot enough chilies that I don’t need to add jalapeños to the mix.
Simmer pork chops until the meat is completely falling apart. This should take 2-3 hours. Liquid should reduce to 12 cups. If you don’t have a stock pot large enough to accommodate this, you may need to go back and add water from time-to-time to end up with 12 cups at the end.
Remove the meat and feed it to the dog.
Add everything else and simmer for 2 hours. Attack the chili with a stick blender to get it smooth.
At this point you’ll want to decide if it’s thick enough for you. If it’s not you can either keep reducing or use a cornstarch slurry to thicken it up. Beware of reducing, though… It doesn’t thicken up that much and you may have to adjust other ingredients down to avoid too intense a flavor. Particularly, the salt.
Notice the lack of meat? If you want meat in your chili, I wouldn’t recommend using the removed pork chops. The fact is, it’s been hammered by simmering water for hours, and it’s just going to turn into pork shavings when you break it up in the chili. Instead, cube some pork, brown it, and throw it in with about an hour to go.
If you know of a recipe that better imitates the ones found at those restaurants, please post them in the comments below. I’m always open to trying something new.