Puerco Con Chile Verde – Pork Green Chili Stew with Tomatillos

I’m a bit at a loss as to how to describe Puerco Con Chile Verde; tender chunks of braised pork in a slightly spicy, slightly smoky green tomatillo sauce is descriptive but doesn’t quite give justice. Guisado de Puerco con Tomatillos or Carne de Puerco en Salsa Verde rolls off the tongue with a bit more flair.

Puerco Con Chile Verde - Pork Green Chili Stew with Tomatillos
Puerco Con Chile Verde – Pork Green Chili Stew with Tomatillos

Here in the States, we’re more likely to know this dish as Green Chile, Chile Verde or maybe Pork Green Chile Stew,  Puerco con Chile Verde. But no matter what it’ called, this is world-class cuisine, hailing from the Michoacan area of Mexico.

About Puerco Con Chile Verde:

If you know me, you know I have a passion for Mexican food. So when this dish featured on a Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dive’s episode (on Netflix, now) Turn on Traditional, I knew immediately I was going to make it at the first opportunity. The bummer of it was the actual recipe as made by Artemio Espino of Espino’s Mexican Bar & Grill in Chesterfield, Missouri, wasn’t on the Triple D or Food Network Site. There was a slow cooker recipe with different ingredients, instead.

So I rewound the episode a few times just to make sure I had it down. This Puerco Con Chile Verde is pretty classic, just the pork stew and the green sauce. Sometimes there are other ingredients, namely potatoes. Sometimes there are a few other ingredients, in this stew, namely potatoes. Often there’s lime, usually in the States, but orange is used, too, and I tried the recipe this time, like they did at Espinos, with lemon.

Serve Puerco Con Chile Verde with Mexican Rice and my Restaurant Style Canned Refried Beans if you’d like, for a classic Mexican meal or go street food style and serve in tacos, burritos or any other way you’d like. You just can’t go wrong. Or maybe serve Puerco Con Chile Verde as a meal the first night and make tacos with the leftovers. Just reheat any leftovers gently on the stove, adding a little liquid if you need to so the meat won’t toughen up. The microwave isn’t your friend when reheating pork shoulder.

Puerco Con Chile Verde - Pork Green Chili Stew with Tomatillos
Puerco Con Chile Verde – Pork Green Chili Stew with Tomatillos
Making Puerco Con Chile Verde:

There are a few ingredients and a process to follow but Puerco Con Chile Verde is pretty straightforward and simple to make. If you want to be more exact, don’t brown the meat this much and you’ll have a dish just a bit greener in color. Just a note, this dish has a good bit of heat but is not over the top. If serving children or anxious about the amount, feel free to cut back on the amounts or remove the ribs and seeds from the peppers.

You’ll make a Chile Verde Sauce, brown up the pork, then cook it low and slow until the pork is tender and the sauce as thickened enough to coat it all.

Watch below as Abuelita Guadalupe Campos prepares Carne de Puerco en Salsa Verde Estilo Michoacan. (Roughly, Pork Meat in Green Sauce in the Michoacan Style.) She uses the same techniques – or I should say, I use the same time-honored techniques as she shows us here! Gracias, Senora Campos.

Saving Money on Puerco Con Chile Verde:

Anytime you’re cooking with Pork Shoulder, you have the opportunity to bring in a great meal at a budget price. Watch for pork to drop to a low during fall to late winter, with lows again just a month or two before any holiday that features ham. They have to do something with the rest of the pork when all those hams are being prepared for Christmas and/or Easter.

If you miss that timeline, pay attention to the pricing in your area and know the highs and lows. At a really great sale, I can find pork shoulder from around 99 cents a pound (last week, in a bit of a fluke, the sale price was 49 cents, but that’s not normal) and those great sales can range up to around $1.69 a pound. Buy at a low and freezer. If the roast is huge, divide it up. See more on my post on Buying a Large Pork Roast.

The pork for this recipe ran about $5.50 on sale, and as far as the rest of the ingredients, I picked them up at Aldi for around another $1.50 (counting only the portions used for this recipe.) That is why I love cooking at home, folks. A serving at the restaurant runs $13.95! And then I’d “have” to buy a Margarita, too, lol!

Puerco Con Chile Verde - Pork Green Chili Stew with Tomatillos
Puerco Con Chile Verde – Pork Green Chili Stew with Tomatillos; this is just a partial recipe (we ate the rest – couldn’t wait!)

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Puerco Con Chile Verde – Pork Green Chili Stew with Tomatillos

Puerco Con Chile Verde - Pork Green Chili Stew with Tomatillos

Puerco Con Chile Verde – Pork Green Chili Stew with Tomatillos is world-class cuisine, hailing from the Michoacan area of Mexico.

  • Author: adapted from Espino's Mexican Restaurant
  • Total Time: about 2 hours
  • Yield: 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients

The Stew:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 pounds pork butt, cubed 2″ to 2 1/2″ pieces, heavy fat removed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper (or grated zest of one lemon & plus additional 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 small cans green chiles, minced (or two poblanos, roasted, skin and seeds removed and diced)
  • 3 cups Salsa Verde, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Salsa Verde:

  • 12 tomatillos, husks removed (1 pound)
  • 4 cloves garlic, whole & peeled
  • 2 Jalapenos
  • 1 Serrano pepper (may use 4jalapenoso)
  • 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped (1/2 in saucepan, 1/2 in blender)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

The Stew:

In a large skillet, add oil, then garlic and cook a minute. Quickly add pork butt, then add salt, black pepper, lemon pepper, oregano. Brown for several minutes, turning as necessary. Work in batches if needed – this stew is best if the pan isn’t crowded and a deep golden brown is achieved on all sides of the meat.

Watch the heat carefully, the liquid at the bottom should be looking almost syrupy when the meat is done, but do not allow to burn. (If you are replicating the restaurant version, simply brown lightly on the bottom for a few minutes.)

Add the Salsa Verde, cumin, green chiles, and onions and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring. Add the cilantro, stir in, cover tightly and cook for 1 1/2 hours at a bare simmer over low heat. Check 3/4’s of the way through and add a little of the reserved liquid from making the Salsa Verde, if needed.

The recipe is done when the pork is fork tender, still holding together, but will break apart when gently pressed with a fork.

Garnish, if desired, with Cilantro.

For the Salsa Verde:

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add to the dry, hot pan, half of the onion, jalapenos, Serrano, garlic and then the tomatillos. Cook for several minutes, allowing to darken and blister in spots, stirring now and then.

Add water to cover, turn to a heavy simmer and cook until the tomatillos float to the top and are softened, but not to the point of bursting, about 20 minutes.

Strain and reserve liquid. Remove the stems from the peppers. Add tomatillo/pepper mixture to the blender, along with the remaining onion, cilantro, white pepper and salt. Add about 3/4 cup of the reserved liquid and blend. Use caution when blending hot liquids; cover blender with a kitchen towel and press down hard. Do not add the lid until the instant you are ready to blend so steam does not build up.

Set aside a bit of the liquid in case it is needed during the braising of the pork.

Notes

Freezes well, you may want to double for a second meal later.

Tortillas, toasted on a burner or grill are so good with this dish. Keep warm in a clean towel.
To Prepare Tortillas:

Turn burner on to medium-high and allow to heat for a moment or two. Add tortilla and as soon as a few bubbles appear about an inch from the edge, turn and continue to cook for two or three more seconds.

The point is to heat through and soften not to “crisp.” Wrap in several layers of clean kitchen towel to keep warm, adding to the pile as each is done. This works with any type of burner or a grill but use a pan if you’re more comfortable.

Puerco con Chile Verde from Espino's; photo from yelp.
Puerco con Chile Verde from Espino’s; photo from yelp.
If you like Puerco Con Chile Verde, you might also like:

Puerco con Chile Verde from Diners Drive-Ins & Dives, Espinos Restaurant. This is a gorgeous pork green chile with tomatillos, classic recipe hailing from the Michoacan area of Mexico. #PuercoConChilelVerde #PorkGreenChili

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