My Denver Green Chili

Denver Green Chili is a regional specialty and is found all along the Colorado Front Range. Silky, rich, delicious and full of mellow flavor – and just a little chile heat to tickle your tongue and settle in the back of your throat.

Denver Green Chili
Denver Green Chili

If I were dying, this would be my last request. And it might very well revive me, it’s that good. Then I’d request it the next time! (Although I would urge you not to wait that long to make it!)

My Denver Green Chili – it’s going to cause cravings, maybe even withdrawal symptoms if you don’t eat it on a regular basis. Developed when I lived in the Mile Hi City, I’ve refined it over the 30 plus years I’ve been making it. See, I couldn’t seem to find this style of Green Chili anywhere else, especially in the Twin Cities.

Denver Green Chili Breakfast Burritos
Denver Green Chili Breakfast Burritos

On a recent visit to see my baby sis, we cooked together and I showed her my Denver Green Chili. She loved it (I knew she would) but then instead of posting here, I got a big head and entered a contest on the Ranting Chef. You’ll have to click over to the Ranting Chef for the actual recipe, but I’ll post some photos to get your taste buds going and show you a few ways I use it.

If you don’t know the Ranting Chef, I promise you’ll love him! Great cooking; his stories will charm you and his recipes will keep you going – you’ll never be at a loss for something to make. His site is so good I don’t even resent not winning – too much – anyway. After all, it’s not easy being green! (This Green Chili did win a couple of contests in Denver, though, years ago, just minor ones.)

If you’re a fan of Green Chili with tomatoes, simply add a can of Diced Tomatoes to the recipe. Me, I think GC should be green, but that’s a personal preference.

A Green Chili Burger - I used to miss these so much!
A Green Chili Burger – I used to miss these so much!

Here’s a few ways I use my Green Chili:

  • A Bowl of Green: Usually garnished with sour cream and cheese – in the Denver area, utensils aren’t used and it is often served with a side of refried beans. The old timers tear off a bit of tortilla and use it as a scoop.
  • A Mexican Hamburger: I’m not sure how “Mexican” they are, but a well done hamburger (in the places I ate in the Denver area, these were always thin, griddled, & well done, with a crust) is sprinkled with cheese, tucked into a tortilla and smothered with green chili and more cheese. And don’t forget the garnishes!
  • A Smothered Burrito: Any filling is good here, but really great are simple refried beans or pulled chicken – just use something that doesn’t compete with the Green Chili and its own special blend of spiciness. Garnish as desired – it’s the Chili that makes these great!
  • A Cheesy Green Chili Queso Dip: Simply heat a little green chili with some grated cheese a few minutes in the microwave. Make it as cheesy as you want and use whatever cheese you want. I like a Monterrey Jack. Serve with tortilla chips and let the party begin!
  • Breakfast Burritos: These are my favorite things to make with this Green Chili. A pound each of sausage, cheese, & cooked hash brown potatoes, a diced and sautéed onion and enough Green Chili to moisten, rolled in tortillas. Make a dozen or a bunch to freeze. I’ll walk you through them step by step in my post on Green Chili Breakfast Burritos.
Denver Green Chili smothering a burrito.
Denver Green Chili smothering a burrito.

One thing I didn’t mention in my recipe: sometimes I make a lot of pork shoulder – more, really, than needed for the Green Chili – then I can shred it for all kinds of things – burrito filling, enchiladas tacos, flautas, tostadas, etc. It’s not “hot” but has a wonderful flavor. Of course, you can doctor it up as desired – it’s really good with barbecue sauce on buns, too.

The Pork Shoulder cooked for Denver Green Chili is fantastic - I make extra to use in other dishes.
The Pork Shoulder cooked for Denver Green Chili is fantastic – I make extra to use in other dishes.

Freezing: This does make a big pot and I use it in so many ways that I rarely freeze this. When I do, I’ve noticed it does thin out a bit. Sometimes a little, but sometimes a lot. What the difference is, I’m not sure. Depending on what I’m using the thawed green chili for, I may or may not thicken it back up.

When I do, I heat up the green chili in pan to a simmer. In another, I melt a little butter in a pan, add an equal amount of flour and stir until it thickens up to a roux. I then ladle a little of the green chili into the butter/flour mixture, stir it together, then add all of to the pot of simmering Green Chili and let it cook for a moment or two.

Denver Green Chili and cheese makes a great Queso Dip. This is about 1/2 GC & half Monterrey Jack.
Denver Green Chili and cheese makes a great Queso Dip. This is about 1/2 GC & half Monterrey Jack.

29 thoughts on “My Denver Green Chili”

    1. Thanks sweetie!! 🙂 Green Chili is often made with Chicken, too (when it is, usually it is thickened with a cornstarch slurry and a can of diced tomatoes and their juices go in ) and every now and then, when I lived in Colorado, I’d come across a Vegetarian version – although I’ve never made it that way.

    1. Thanks, Mum! But keep in mind I’m competing against AJ, who has cooked Chili every day for nearly a year! And he has french fries, cheese, beer & chili in his recipe, considered to be the 4 food groups for many Americans! 🙂

      And thanks much for the vote!!!

      1. Yep! Lots of ham to go. So the split pea soup was fantastic! I can’t believe how much flavor developed from such a simple list of ingredients. I had a bowl for breakfast this morning!

        And the price! I purchased every major ingredient at a discount (except for the split peas, but they’re cheap enough anyway). I have tons of leftover that we’re looking forward too. If I haven’t said thank you for your blog yet, THANK YOU! You’ve really helped me cut my food budget which helps make staying home with my son possible.

        1. I’m laughing because I often eat soup for breakfast! Or any other random foods left over! I’m not a big egg/bacon person nor do I like to eat a lot of carbs like pancakes, waffles, toast, bagels or donuts!

          I’m so glad some of my hints have helped you out, and glad you liked the Split Pea – I think it’s really the way the vegetables are sauteed that make it so good. It freezes VERY well – it separates when thawed but stirs right back together.

          Your comments have MADE my day! 🙂

      1. I believe in giving credit where it’s due. With help from the net and reader suggestions I came up with 14 additional ways to eat chili (in the link posted above) when I first posted my recipe. I enjoyed reading your suggestions here as well.

        With regard to an earlier comment about using ham in split pea soup, even though our local Canadian sales aren’t quite as economical as the ones you enjoy in the US, I wait for our 99 cent a pound smoked picnic shoulder ham sale so I can buy a couple and make all kinds of goodies out of it, including soup. I’m still very proud of my ‘ham that conquered the freezer’ titled post.

        http://a-boleyn.livejournal.com/152085.html

        Laying out all the carved ham, I saved the cooking liquid for stock, made me feel very FRUGAL. 🙂

    1. Thanks! I don’t usually do “contest” things, but obviously went slightly insane! And now, I really want to win 🙂

      It is amazing, by the way – it’s really down home cooking for those from the Denver/Front Range area – and while I enjoy making some of the “Cheffy” recipes I see in books/magazines, this one is the Green Chili that is my favorite comfort food.

  1. It is nice to see you coming over to the chili side of the gourmet spectrum. Your talent is evident and I love your recipe, HF. It looks so incredibly delicious. Well done!

    1. Thanks – high compliments from someone who has cooked Chili for how many days? 320 or so in a row! But, I bet you didn’t vote for me…and I see, although it’s still early, you’re kickin’ my behind in the polls! 🙂 I do hafta say your Chili Pouitine looks great (and messy!) and is perfect fall/football fare. Alliteration accidental.

      Ah, Chili – I do like to walk on the wild side now and then…

      1. Thank you for the kind words. I am looking forward to firing up your outstanding chili- in January. BTW, accidental alliterations are always amazingly awesome.

        Keep on Rocking in the Free World.

        1. I may regret saying anything that may have possibly been misconstrued as “smack talk” about your chili! Ok, ok, I DID smack talk ya! But now I see you’ve pulled ahead with 30 votes to my 29!

          Alas, I mourn my dead relatives and most sincerely regret not accepting all those requests to play farmtown on facebook…

    1. Thanks much! And I hope you do – it makes a big ol’ pot, but there are so many ways to use it. I always start out doling out generously but by the time it starts to run low I’m trying to hoard that last bit and hiding it from Child Number 2 (that’s the gluttonous one) in a nondescript container in the back of the fridge! 🙂

      I’ve even been known to lie about it – “Is there any more Green Chili left?” No! There’s not! And if there were, you can’t have it! I’m saving it for (whatever it is I’m going to make with it…”

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