My Denver Green Chili

Denver Green Chili

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Meat and Stock:

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) water
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 24 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chile pequin or red pepper flakes

Green Chili (Chile Verde):

  • four tablespoons bacon drippings (may be combined with the fat from the stock to total four tablespoons) and a good lard may be used
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 78 cans green chile (7 ounces each) drained but not rinsed or 3 cups fresh, roasted, cleaned & diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile rojo (chili powder will work in a pinch)
  • a pinch to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon or to taste, of chicken bullion base or a combination of chicken and beef *
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, perhaps more to taste


Place roast in a large stockpot, cover with 2 quarts of water, add onion, garlic, the two teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and chile pequin or red pepper flakes. Simmer gently until pork is tender but still holding together, about two and a half to three hours, depending on the size of the meat used. Strain stock, reserve, and set aside meat until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones and cut or shred into bite-sized pieces. May be refrigerated at this point, if desired, which makes it very easy to remove the fat from the stock.

When ready to proceed, heat bacon drippings (or a combination of the fat from the stock & bacon drippings) in a large stockpot. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add flour, stirring until flour cooks for a moment to two and is coated with oil. Turn burner down a bit and add about two cups of the stock, whisking vigorously, until a paste is formed. Continue to add stock in additions, whisking, until all the stock is incorporated into the mixture. Turn heat back up and bring to a simmer.

Note: this is a quite a bit of flour to add to the small amount of fat, and a little care is needed to smoothly incorporate the stock into the flour. It is helpful to have a two-cup measuring cup on hand to quickly dip out the stock and add to the roux mixture. After two or three additions, the roux is generally thinned out enough to add the remainder of the stock at once.

Add in green chile and as much of the reserved pork as you’d like. Some may be saved for another use. Add seasonings to taste, depending on the heat level you desire.  Add bullion to taste. A restaurant version of this type of green chili is generally very highly seasoned and nearly always contains some bullion, while home versions may or may not. Taste for salt after the bullion is added. Your palate is the best indication of how much or how little spice and seasoning is desired.

Simmer very gently for at least 30 to 40 minutes, stirring often, until the green chile is tender. If the Green Chili seems to be a bit thick and is sticking to the bottom of the pan as it simmers, add a little water until a desired consistency is reached. The finished chili should have a slightly thick, gravy-like consistency.


  • It is very common for both home cooks and restaurants in the area to use a bit of bullion or base to up the flavor of the Green Chili. While most use chicken, I’ve found the combination of both chicken and beef to be perfect. They are a bit of a “secret weapon.”
  • A heart healthier Green Chili can be made by replacing the fat in this recipe with oil, although the fats tend to be the basis of some of the flavor.

Keywords: Denver Green Chili, Family Recipe, Green Chili, Hot Peppers, Mexican or Southwestern, Pork, Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder Recipe

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