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Chile verde is a Mexican pork chili with tender meat in a spicy green broth. Make this recipe today for a fantastic pork verde tonight!
Mexican cuisine is full of slow cooking stews and braised dishes, and I can’t stop making them. From asado to Instant Pot barbacoa and tinga de pollo to caldo de res, the meat ends up fork tender, moist, and incredibly delicious.
This Mexican pork chili known as chile verde is a dish that you simply have to taste to grasp just how delicious it is. The eyes don’t see everything here.
With tender chunks of boneless pork shoulder, roasted tomatillos, onion, and three types of spicy chiles, this is another in that long list of incredible Mexican foods. Whether you want to call it pork verde, green chile pork, or chili verde, it’s pure, unadulterated comfort food!
Chile Verde Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pork shoulder – This cut also goes by the name pork butt. Boneless pork shoulder is almost always sold wrapped in cotton netting to hold the pieces together. You can use boneless pork loin (not to be confused with pork tenderloin) if necessary, but the meat won’t be as tender.
- Tomatillos – Although these are sometimes called Mexican green tomatoes, they really aren’t tomatoes at all. However, if you absolutely cannot find them in the store, you could use under ripe (green) tomatoes.
- Anaheim green chiles – or you can use poblano chiles
- Serrano chiles – to make the dish less spicy, replace the serranos with more Anaheim green chiles. Or replace both peppers with poblano chiles instead.
- Garlic – substitute 2-3 teaspoons minced garlic
- Cilantro – Parsley works as a substitute, but not a great one
- Vegetable oil – or another oil with a high smoke point, like canola or avocado oil
- Spices – ground cumin, salt, black pepper
For a heartier green chili stew, consider adding cubed red potatoes or some black beans.
Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender, then add at the end with the remaining chile verde puree. The cooked beans should be added at the end as well.
Video: Making Chili Verde
To see the process of making this recipe from start to finish, just watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step by step instructions
- Prep the ingredients.
First, cube and season the pork. Slice all the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Also, remove the outer skin from the tomatillos, onion, and garlic, and cut the onion in half for easier blending.
- Blend the tomatillo-chile puree.
Next, boil the tomatillos, chiles, and onion. Or you can char them on a grill or under a broiler for added flavor. Transfer to a blender or food processor along with the garlic and cilantro. Blend until smooth, then set aside.
Reminder: Reserve a cup of puree to add to the chili verde at the end of the cooking time.
Cilantro stems are full of flavor, so there’s no need to remove them. Rinse the entire bunch of cilantro, pat it dry with paper toweling, then include both leaves and stems in the puree.
- Sear the pork and simmer the chile verde.
Brown the pork in batches. It’s very important to get a good sear on the pork, because that’s where a lot of the tenderness and flavor of the meat come from.
It takes about 3 hours for the chili to finish cooking. To speed the process up, look in the recipe card for Instant Pot instructions!
When the meat is tender, stir in the reserved puree. At this point, you could also add in cooked beans or potatoes if you’d like to make a heartier meal.
- It’s best to wear gloves when handling chile peppers, especially when seeding. The oils can burn when transferred to the skin or eyes, and it’s easy to miss some spots when washing with soap and water.
- You can also make Mexican pork chili in an Instant Pot. Instructions for this green chile stew can be found in the recipe card below.
Chile Verde FAQ
A chile verde sauce is typically made with green tomatillos rather than dried red chile, as opposed to a chile colorado sauce. Because of its deep red color, the sauce is known by the Spanish word for colorado, which translates as “red.”
Yes! Let the dish cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container. Freezer bags will also work, but make sure to squeeze all of the air out before storing. Chili verde keeps well in the freezer for 3-4 months.
When you’re ready to use, let it thaw in the refrigerator for at least a few hours or overnight. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove over medium heat until warmed all the way through.
The dish of Chile Verde refers to a Mexican stew made with green chiles. Originated in Northern Mexico, the dish was originally made with pork, but is now made with a variety of different meats depending on preference.
This post, first published on Kevin Is Cooking Sept. 2, 2015, was last updated with new content on Sept. 9, 2021.
Chile Verde (Mexican Pork Chili) + Video
- Cut the pork shoulder (pork butt) into chunks, about 1-2 inches. Season all over with cumin, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Peel the outer skins off the tomatillos, onion and garlic. Cut the stems off the peppers and slice in half lengthwise. Cut the onion in half. (See Note 1)
- In the Dutch oven or large stock pot bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the tomatillos, chiles and onion. Cook for 8 minutes. (See Note 2)
- Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and place all the peppers, tomatillos, onion, garlic and cilantro in a food processor, blender or Vitamix, and process until smooth. Reserve 1 cup, set aside.
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat add the oil. When oil shimmers, add the pork and, working in batches so they brown and not steam, cook on all sides.
- Add all the cooked pork back to the Dutch oven and pour the pureed tomatillo green pepper sauce over and mix together completely to incorporate. Bring to a quick boil, close the lid and cook on low for 3 hours or until fork tender, stirring occasionally.
- After 3 hours, stir in remaining 1 cup cilantro infused chile verde puree (See Note 3). Serve hot with warmed tortillas or biscuits to sop up the amazing chile verde gravy.
Instant Pot Method
- This could easily be cooked in the Instant Pot, too. Just brown the pork as directed on the Sauté setting (in batches to brown, NOT steam) and pour the vegetable chile puree on top. Close the lid and press the Manual setting on High for about 20 minutes. Allow for a Natural release and you're ready to eat. (See Note 3)
- Pork shoulder is also known as pork butt. When boneless, it’s often sold wrapped in cloth netting.
- If you prefer, you can grill or place the tomatillos, chiles and onion under the broiler for a charred flavor instead of boiling.
- Optional ingredients to add to this to make it go further are fork tender, cubed and boiled red potatoes or cooked beans. Add after the 3 hour mark, stir in cooked potatoes or beans with remaining cup of chile verde puree, cover and heat to warm through.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.