This is not a leftover turkey recipe, but do not fret. While this recipe focuses on pork, the beauty of a chile verde is that you can use the recipe as a template and substitute in your favorite meat for the pork. Chunks of dark chicken are great flavorful contenders. And, yes, turkey leftovers can be switched in, as well.
The tomatillo base of the stew, the key component of this recipe, remains the same no matter the meat. The smoky, herbaceous salsa verde melds with a savory chicken (or turkey) stock, creating a stew that is bright, fresh and comforting at once.
Note that the cooking times will vary depending on your meat choice. Pork requires the longest time to slowly cook and tenderize (and infuse the stew with its flavor, which is a tasty benefit of this recipe). If you use fresh chicken meat or turkey meat, the simmering time will be shorter, approximately 1 hour. And if you repurpose your abundance of turkey leftovers, the time will be about 30 minutes. I recommend testing the stew for doneness every 30 minutes or so if you switch out the pork.
Pork Chile Verde
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 pound tomatillos
1 poblano pepper, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 large jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded
1 medium white onion, cut into 6 to 8 wedges
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 to 2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder (butt), excess fat trimmed, cut in 1-inch chunks
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
2 cups chicken or turkey stock
Cooked long-grain rice
Chopped fresh cilantro
Chopped red onion
Make the salsa verde: Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse under cold water to remove the sticky film. Halve the tomatillos crosswise and arrange, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the poblano, jalapeno and onion around the tomatillos in one layer. Place under the oven broiler and broil until the vegetables are charred, 5 to 7 minutes, rotating the pan once or twice. Cool slightly and peel away the pepper skins as much as possible (it’s OK if some bits remain; they add flecks of char). Transfer the vegetables and any juices to a food processor. Add the cilantro, lime juice, salt and black pepper and process to achieve a salsa consistency.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Season the pork on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the meat on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining pork.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano and coriander and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the stock and stir up any brown bits. Return the pork to the pot, pour in the salsa verde, and stir to coat. Transfer to the oven and cook until the pork is tender, about 2 hours, stirring once or twice. Remove from the oven. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if desired.
Ladle into bowls. Serve with rice and tortillas, if desired, and optional garnishes.
Lynda Balslev is the co-author of “Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture” (Gibbs Smith, 2014). Contact her at TasteFood, c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106; or send email to email@example.com; or visit the TasteFood blog at tastefoodblog.com.
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