Chili Verde and Rice (so good I made it twice, well…three times)

For the Santé South wine festival this year, I decided to try a new recipe. Nothing like testing something for the first time when you’re cooking for 800 people, right? Anyway, the recipe sounded bulletproof in concept so I gave it a whirl.

Last year I did an event in Evergreen, Colorado and on the trip I grabbed a bite to eat with my friend and fellow chef, Benjamin Burke. He took me to a great hole-in-the-wall joint called El Taco De Mexico and we had (among other dishes) some of the best Chili Verde that I’ve ever put in my mouth. When I got home I looked up a bunch of recipes and waited for the right time to give this one a try.

It’s deceptively simple. Heavy seasoning, boiling water, a bunch of green stuff. Traditionally it’s served with boiled new potatoes, but I’ve been cooking a whole lot with KenChaux Rice and figured I couldn’t go wrong with Mexican pork and cumin-scented rice.

The dish was such a hit at Santé South that I repeated it the next weekend for Wine & Swine in Shreveport, Louisiana. Again…it was a hit. With the little bit I had leftover I made burritos. Boom – another hit, a hat trick of porky goodness.

I’ve scaled the recipe down from the massive tub of pork that I cooked the past two weekends, but my math should be ok. Give it a try and let me know your results.

Pork Chili Verde

1 Boston butt pork shoulder, cut into 1″ cubes

Ground cumin

Kosher Salt

Black pepper

Cayenne pepper.

Garlic powder

Chili powder

Dried oregano

18 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

2 yellow onions, diced

1 orange, cut in half

6 limes, juice and zest

6 green tomatoes (or 12 tomatillos), cored and chopped

2 roasted poblano peppers, chopped

2 roasted Anaheim peppers, chopped

4 roasted jalapeño peppers, chopped

2, fresh serrano chili peppers, chopped

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 cups KenChaux white rice

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Season the cubed pork liberally with cumin, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, chili powder and oregano. Allow the seasoned meat to dry-marinade for at least one hour and as long as overnight, if desired. Place half of the seasoned pork in a rondeau or dutch oven.Add 10 cloves of garlic, half of the chopped yellow onions, one halved orange and one halved lime and barely cover with water.

Bring water to a boil and continue boiling until meat is thoroughly cooked, but not yet tender. Add remaining meat and continue cooking until the largest pieces are fork tender. Since you are cooking the meat in two stages, some will take on the consistency of pulled or shredded pork and some will remain in cubes. This is exactly what we’re looking for.

In a stock pot, combine remaining lime juice and zest, tomatoes, roasted peppers and fresh serrano peppers, remaining garlic and onions along with a cup of water and a half cup of cider vinegar. Cook until tomatoes and onions are soft. Blend with an immersion blender or food mill.

Combine the pork and the blended chili sauce and simmer for one hour.

Cook the rice, seasoned with a 1/2 tsp of cumin and 2 Tbsp. butter.

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(KenChaux has a beautifully high starch content so if you want fluffier rice, you should rinse it thoroughly.)

Serves 8