Straightforward But Oh-So-Delicious Pork Green Chili

I have a public service announcement for everyone who loves tender, shreddy pork as much as I do: if you don’t already know about the magic of country-style pork ribs, now is your time to wise up. They’re cut from the shoulder region—the same area where the quintessential but inaptly named “butt” comes from. Instead of devoting an entire day to roasting one of those 10-lb. shoulder roasts, you can have the same succulent meat in only a few hours with the smaller country-style ribs. Ever since a friendly meat counter clerk tipped me off to this info last year (and unwittingly changed my entire life), they’ve been my go-to choice for one of my fave cold-weather meals: green chili.

This recipe is simple and super forgiving, making it a wonderful dish to throw together on a cold afternoon at home. The cooking time is relative to the size of pork ribs you have, so err on the side of allowing for more cooking time (up to 4 hours). If the pork gets super tender before that, you can always turn the oven down to 175°F to just keep it warm until dinnertime. If you have nice and gelatinous (mmmm) homemade stock, this is the perfect use for it. If not, don’t trip! Just use a higher quality store-bought stock. Last thing: I typically have a tub of frozen green (and red, for that matter) chopped New Mexico Hatch chiles in our freezer at all times, and they work really well here. If you’re lucky enough to have fresh roasted chile stands in your area, then 3/4 lb. skinned and finely chopped mild Hatch green chiles would be even better.

Straightforward But Oh-So-Delicious Pork Green Chili Recipe

Makes 4-6 servings
Active cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Total cooking time: 3-4 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. bone-in country-style pork ribs (approximately 3 large “ribs”)
  • Kosher salt, to season
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock (homemade if possible)
  • 1 (13 oz.) tub frozen roasted and chopped mild Hatch green chiles (like Bueno Foods brand), thawed
  • 4 tsp. corn starch
  • 4 tsp. water
  • 1 large Russet or Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 Tbsp.)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Season your country-style ribs generously with salt on all sides (you’ll use around 1 tsp.).
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven (3.5 qt or bigger) over medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not quite smoking, add pork and sear until golden brown on all four sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. You should start to see fond (little golden bits) starting to build on the bottom of your pot after your first or second turn. If not, increase your heat slightly. If your oil or smoking or your fond is getting darker than the color of honey, turn your heat down to medium.
  3. Remove seared pork and set aside on a plate. Add onions and garlic to pot and stir to saute. If there is no oil left in your pot, add another Tbsp. or so to get everything lightly coated. Cook onions for 3-4 minutes, or until they are aromatic, translucent, and just beginning to brown.
  4. Pour in stock and stir to gently scrape up the fond from the bottom of the pot. Add green chiles and bring to a simmer. Place pork ribs back into the pot, submerging them in the liquid if possible. Cover pot and place in oven.
  5. Cook for 2-2 1/2 hours, or until pork begins to feel tender when squeezed with tongs.
  6. In a small bowl, combine corn starch and water to make a slurry mixture. Gently stir slurry into green chili, along with potato (if using). Cook in oven for an additional 1/2-1 hour, or until potatoes are tender, liquid is slightly thickened, and pork falls apart when squeezed with tongs.
  7. Carefully remove any pieces of bone (they should easily pull apart from the from meat) and pieces of un-rendered fat. Use tongs to squeeze/shred the pork into bite-sized chunks. Stir in lime juice and season with additional salt to taste if needed.
  8. Serve the green chili with guacamole, shredded cheese or crumbled cotija, cilantro leaves, thinly sliced radishes, and/or tortilla chips. Or ya know, don’t—it’s just as delicious without adding anything extra.

Notes

This recipe could also be made using a slow cooker instead of the oven, but don’t skip the searing and sauteing! Follow the first 4 steps, but place the liquid and ribs into your slow cooker. Cook on low for approximately 4 hours or high for 2-3 hours, or until pork is falling apart. Add the potato during the last hour of cooking if desired.

Leftovers are delicious when topped with an egg and served with a toasted tortilla for breakfast the next morning.

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