My Denver Green Chili

Authentic Denver Green Chili - make up a big pot!

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 – a classic

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.

Green Chili Breakfast Burritos
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.

Green Chili Burgers - Denver Style, smothered with Green Chili
A Green Chili Burger – I used to miss these so much!

Here are 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.
Burrito Smothered w Denver Green Chili
Burrito Smothered w Denver Green Chili

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