The spiciness of green chiles, the saltiness of pork, and the overall tastiness of the complimenting other ingredients dance together to create the hot and healthy Colorado state staple that is green chili.
I am a Colorado native–born and raised. And like any good Colorado girl, I am very familiar with the amazing and delicious stuff known as green chili (also known as green chilli, green chile, or chile verde).
What is green chili (or chile)?
Green chili is a stew (chunky soup) that is considered one of the state dishes of Colorado. It is a New Mexican inspired American dish that contains, most notably, green chiles and pork. It can also include a number of other green things like jalapeños, tomatillos, and cilantro, although my recipe has none of these three items (its primary focus is on the delicious green chile).
Beginning late July and ending late fall is when green chili is the most popular in Colorado because that is when the green chile peppers start popping up in grocery stores and at farmer’s markets. It is great for those who garden and happen to be growing green chiles as well. However, this recipe can be made year round thanks to most grocery stores carrying bags of green chiles in the frozen department.
FYI, the terms “chili” and “chile” are pretty much interchangeable. I usually spell it “chili” because that’s proper in my chef roots versus “chile” (because spelled “chili” it’s a soup, spelled “chile” it’s the pepper itself), but ultimately it really doesn’t matter.
Which green chiles?
You can make this with any kind of green chiles–from fresh to canned to frozen. In Colorado, we highly recommend you use the Pueblo green chiles that are grown in Pueblo, Colorado. Hatch green chiles grown in Hatch, New Mexico, also work. Or anything others grown anywhere else. The best might be the ones popping up in your garden!
Keep in mind that green chiles can vary in flavor and heat levels based on various factors including variety, how it was preserved (such as canned), and location grown.
How do I eat green chili?
Green chili is technically a stew, so you can eat it as such. Grab a bowl and a spoon and eat up. But, as is the Colorado way of doing things, green chili is also used as a condiment (or things are “smothered” in it, which is more than just a condiment volume). It goes great on burgers, hot dogs, scrambled or fried eggs, burritos, tacos, tostadas, and so on. It’s also great for dipping corn chips or pork rinds in.
About the Fuel Source
On Trim Healthy Mama, this recipe can be an S (Satisfying) or an XO (Crossover). When it is an XO, this means it uses a blend of fats and healthy carbs for its tandem fuel source. An XO is completely on plan–it’s great as an occasional treat in weight loss mode and it’s perfect for kids, pregnant mamas, menfolk, and anyone in maintenance mode. Enjoying it as an XO is the best way to have it in my opinion because it this give it the authentic flavor of real green chili. However, it still super yummy as an S as well!
That said, when you make it as an XO, it is really only an XO when eaten as, well, chili (like a stew or a soup–grab a spoon and eat up!). If, however, you eat it as a condiment (think on your eggs, on a burger, on a burrito, in a taco, etc.), you can probably get away with it in either an S or an E setting if you stick to a garnish amount (like a teaspoon-ish). If you enjoy it in a “smothered” quantity (more than a condiment or garnish, but less than a stew) then it is probably still an XO.
As for this being low carb or keto, you will need to make the “S” tweaks for it to fit. It can also be slightly altered to fit a Whole30 round.
About the Heat
This green chili tends to have some kick to it. This is mild to medium to hot to unbearable depending on the person and their heat level tolerance, how much additional heat you add (like jalapeños), and which specific green chile peppers you use (example: Hatch chiles tend to be milder than Pueblo chiles; some canned or frozen green chiles may also be spicier than others).
If you want this green chili to be even hotter than it might naturally be with just the green chiles, you can amp up the heat by adding a jalapeño or two (with the seeds to make it hotter), or even a habanero pepper. Some people really like to cry, have a drippy nose, sweat, and just generally be in pain when they eat it, so if you’re like that, go for all the additional heat options!
Colorado Green Chili (or Chile)
- 3 tablespoons butter, ghee, bacon fat, or fresh lard, divided (do not use butter for Whole30)
- 3 pounds pork roast or boneless chicken thighs
- 3 pounds (about 5 cups or approximately 2 bags) green chiles, chopped; if using frozen, thaw first (can be mild to hot, your choice)
- 4 cups (1 box or
32 ounces) chicken broth or stock
- 2 small to medium red potatoes, peeled and diced (optional, but adds flavor and texture; omit for S, low carb, or Whole30)
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon mineral salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
For the Roux
- ½ cup Maseca masa harina corn flour (substitute 1-2 teaspoons gluccie or xanthan gum for S, low carb, or Whole30)
- ½ cup butter, ghee, bacon fat, or fresh lard, melted (do not use butter for Whole30)
- Melt 1 tablespoon of the fat in a preheated skillet over medium-high heat. Brown every side of the pork roast for about 4-6 minutes per side or until it is lightly crispy and easily pulls away from the pan.
- Meanwhile, add the chiles, chicken broth or stock, potatoes, lime juice, salt, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and black pepper to the crock of a 6 quart or larger slow cooker.
- Add the browned roast to the crock.
- Melt the other 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet. Sauté the onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add the onions and garlic to the crock.
- Set the crock to cook for 8 hours on low.
For the Roux
- About 20 minutes before the crock is done, mix together the masa harina and ½ cup melted fat (I melt the butter in a glass measuring cup in the microwave then add the masa) and stir it into the green chili.