Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mexican Pork Chili

So we made this recipe today. It was long anticipated because we found it about a week or more ago. I have to say, it went a lot differently than we expected. Sadly. It's hard when you invest a lot of time into a recipe and it doesn't come out in the end. We over cooked the pork, so it didn't shred. What's worse than that? Man, it was a let down. The problem was really that we couldn't find a boneless pork shoulder so the woman at the meat counter cut the bone out for me from a larger shoulder. Well, she had to cut it into two pieces to get it out. It messed our cooking time up and overcooked the pork. So in the end, I wish I would have just got it with the bone in. I think it comes out the same either way, as long as you don't over cook it. The other thing was the overall flavor of the chili was a lot different than we were both expecting. Not that it was bad, but the tomatillo is definately a flavor we are not used to so it was a shock to the taste buds. I am not saying it wasn't good. It was good. It was really good, just a new taste. I would highly recommend this recipe if you like salsa verde (green salsa) or tomatillos. I would also check your pork before it's done and don't worry if you can't get a boneless shoulder. Just get a little over 3 lbs then to account for the weight of the bone. I ended up adding a little sugar to try and balance the sweetness and I also added two diced chipotle peppers in adobo as well as cumin. Just trying to balance all the flavors. You could also add some more garlic if you like. We kind of longed for that flavor.

Mexican Pork Chili

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 2 hr 30 min

Level: Easy
Serves: 6 to 8 servings


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon toasted fennel seeds, ground
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15 whole tomatillos, husked
  • 3 poblanos
  • 2 white onions, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 limes, halved
  • 1 big bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup masa harina, to tighten it up

Chili bar toppings:

  • Crispy fried tortilla strips, fresh corn tortillas cut into strips and deep fried in vegetable oil
  • Mexican crema, store-bought with lime zest
  • Shaved radishes, radishes shaved vertically on a mandoline
  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • 2 limes, each cut into 8 wedges


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Season the pork shoulder with salt, pepper, fennel and cumin. Take a large roasting dish and place over medium-high heat. Add a 3-count of olive oil and sear pork shoulder all over until golden brown on the outside, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add vegetables, spreading out tomatillos, poblanos, onion, garlic and bay leaf around the seared pork shoulder. Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze lime juice all over and season with salt and pepper. Cover the whole tray with aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the pork is falling apart. Remove from oven, set the pork aside and pull apart. Rake all the other ingredients into a blender (a bit at a time) with the bunch of fresh cilantro and process until smooth. Pour into a large Dutch oven. Set over medium heat and add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and whisk in masa harina to thicken the sauce up. Fold in shredded pork shoulder and season with salt and pepper to finish. Serve with Chili bar toppings.

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