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.

Beef & Barley Stew

Being the farmer’s daughter has its perks. My dad raises grass fed beef, so my freezer is often loaded with the best ground beef, roasts, and even a few steaks (if I can get my hands on a filet mignon, I’m a happy gal). I grilled every chance I got this past summer. That, combined with the fact that I haven’t been back home to Kansas in a few months (sorry family!) means that my meat supply is seriously dwindling.

When I did my regularly scheduled freezer search to plan dinners for the week, I found the short ribs, roasts, and cubed stew meat that I had been squirreling away for when the weather turned chilly. Since it basically snowed the entire last week of October, I felt like a slow-cooked barley stew was totally deserved.

Although I hadn’t ever attempted to put barley in the slow cooker, this came together super easily. It only took a few hours for the grains to soften and the meat to be perfectly cooked, tender but not shred-y. I used my old trick of adding honey along with the crushed tomatoes to help minimize the flavor of canned-ness (you know what I mean). With all the hearty flavors involved, this stew really benefits from the splash of red wine vinegar and fresh parsley at the end—so don’t skip ’em!

Beef & Barley Stew Recipe

Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil (use only if following oven method)
  • 1 lb. cubed beef stew meat
  • 1 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 small yellow or white onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • Salt & pepper, to season
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Chopped parsley, to garnish

Preparation

To make in a slow cooker:

  1. Add stew meat*, barley, vegetables, garlic, canned tomatoes, paprika, herbs, and honey to slow cooker. Pour stock over and season generously with salt & pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Cook until barley is softened and stew meat is tender, about 2 to 3 hours on high or 5 to 6 hours on low.
  3. Finish the stew with a small splash of red wine vinegar (this helps brighten up all the flavors). Season to taste with salt & pepper and serve with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.

To make in the oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat canola oil in a Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Add stew meat in an single layer (cook in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding) and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side.
  2. Remove stew meat from pot and set on a plate. Add vegetables and garlic and saute until beginning to soften and brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add barley, tomatoes, honey, paprika, herbs, and stock. Season generously with salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring to combine.
  4. Cover pot and place in oven. Cook until barley is softened and meat is tender, about 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Finish the stew with a small splash of red wine vinegar. Season to taste with salt & pepper and serve with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.

Notes

*For extra flavor, sear the stew meat as directed in Step 1 of the oven method before adding to the slow cooker.

This recipe is also published on redgerfarms.com, where my family sells all natural grass fed beef.