One of our favorite dishes to splurge on at a local Mexican restaurant is an amazing burrito that’s stuffed with richly flavored shredded beef, corn, tomatoes and all sorts of other goodies, and then it’s slathered in the most amazing green chili verde sauce. My husband and I LOVE that sauce. It’s what makes the dish!
So, when I came across this recipe in my latest issue of Cooking Light, I figured I’d give it a go. No, it’s not the burrito that we love, but it was a recipe for a quick, easy, and healthy chili verde, and it looked like something I may be able to get my kids to eat as well, which is always a plus.
I started by roasting up a bunch of tomatillos. This was the first time I’d ever done anything with a tomatillo, so that in itself was interesting.
Tomatillos are weird little fruits. Have you ever seen one? They look like little green tomatoes, but they are wrapped in a sticky, dry (yes, sticky and dry at the same time) husk that needs to be removed before cooking. They are a staple in Mexican cuisine, and readily available in your grocery store. I thought they were related to tomatoes in some way, but after further investigation (Thank you, Wikipedia.) I found that they are actually related to gooseberries!
Anyway, I removed the weird little husks from the tomatillos and set the fruit out on a cookie sheet.
The tomatillos went into the oven and roasted for about fifteen minutes, until they started to pop a little and their skins browned up.
Once they were roasted, they went into my blender along with some chopped onion, cilantro, sugar, garlic, and a jalapeno pepper.
After just a few seconds in the blender, I had my chili verde sauce.
Next, I browned up some pork shoulder in a pot on the stove along with a little bit of canola oil. Once it was brown on all sides, I poured my tomatillo sauce into the pot, and brought it to a boil.
Once everything was bubbling away nicely, I turned down the heat a bit, popped the lid on the pan and let the pork simmer in the sauce for one full hour.
While dinner was simmering away on the stove, I had time to get some school stuff done with the kids, and with about twenty minutes left on the pork, I also put together a simple Mexican rice to serve with dinner. I sautéed some onion in a bit of oil, toasted up the rice with the onion in the pan for a bit before adding some water and a can of Rotel tomatoes. Fifteen minutes later, it was ready to go!
Dinner was served! I scooped the rice out onto our plates, and topped it with the tender pork and delicious sauce. The pork was fork tender and the sauce was delicious, but made even better by squeezing a lime or two over the top before diving in.
Was my first attempt at a chili verde sauce as mind-blowing as the one at our favorite restaurant? In all honesty, no. It really wasn’t. That sauce is AMAZING and I’m pretty sure there’s some special secret ingredient they use to make it so good.
That said, this dish was still really, really tasty. It was a perfect weeknight meal, something out of the norm, and I’m no longer scared of tomatillos and their weird little husks.
ROASTED CHILI VERDE WITH PORK AND RICE
Adapted from Cooking Light
- 1 1/2 lbs. tomatillos, husks and stems removed
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup chopped onion, divided
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
- 1 lb. boneless pork shoulder (Boston Butt), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 cup long grain rice, uncooked
- 1 (10 oz.) can mild Rotel tomatoes, undrained
- 1 cup water
- lime wedges, for serving
- Preheat the broiler to high.
- Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and place the tomatillos on the baking sheet. Broil, 8 inches from the heat, for 15 minutes or until the skins of the tomatillos start to blacken and the fruit is soft.
- Place the tomatillos, the juice from the pan, 3/4 cup onion, cilantro, sugar, garlic and jalapeno pepper in a blender or food processor. Process until the sauce is almost smooth.
- Heat a Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. of the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle the pork evenly with 1/4 tsp. of the salt and the black pepper.
- Add the pork to the pan and cook, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes.
- Add the tomatillo mixture to the pan with the pork. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, or until the pork is very tender. Stir occasionally.
- Meanwhile, heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining oil to the pan.
- Saute the remaining onion in the pan until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and saute 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt, the can of tomatoes, and 1 cup water to the pan. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
- Divide the rice among the plates, top with the chili verde pork, and squeeze a lime wedge or two over the top before serving.