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2010 Vintagers Chili Champion Recipe

Updated: Oct 29, 2021


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

  • 3 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes and trimmed of large pieces of fat

  • 3 lbs. hatch green chiles, roasted, peeled, trimmed, chopped (net 2 lbs after peeling and trimming)

  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped

  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

  • 1 clove garlic, pressed

  • 4-5 medium tomatillos, chopped

  • 2-3 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1 tbsp.) 1/2 tsp. ground cumin powder

  • Water as necessary

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat olive oil in deep 10 qt. pot until hot, then brown pork thoroughly until 1/2 inch cubes are dark brown on at least one side and sticking to bottom of pot. Some people would think it was burning. Dark brown, not black. (all liquid should be boiled away and the meat sizzling in the pan). (I add my salt and pepper to the meat before browning, then usually add more to taste later.)

I prefer to brown the meat in two batches, because it’s easier to brown that way.

Add chopped onion and garlic and saute with browned meat until onion is carmelized. Add water to cover meat and onion mix by an inch, and bring to a boil, deglazing pot bottom with plastic spatula.

Reduce heat to low bubbling simmer, and add chopped green chiles (if you don’t know how to roast and peel Hatch green chiles, then use them from a can, but it won’t be the same. I prefer the Big Jims, because they are a little hotter than the Serranos. There are dozens of other varieties out there, so be bold and try something new) (No, I don’t roast my own. I buy a bushell every fall and have it roasted at one of the numerous roasting kiosks that spring up in Denver at that time of the year. I put them up in 1 qt. sandwich bags in the freezer, until ready to thaw and peel. I scrape out about 3/4 of the web and seeds with the hotter peppers, because they carry the heat. If you like hotter, then leave more in; less heat, scrape all the web and seeds out).

Add chopped tomatillos, cilantro and cumin powder. You should now have a rather thin soupy chile with chunks of meat and smaller pieces of chile, onion, and tomatillo. Cook covered for 2-3 hours, until the peppers and tomatillos turn mushy and indistinct, slightly thickening the sauce. Add water as necessary to retain volume. Add potatoes and cook another hour or two. The potatoes will start to melt down and further thicken up the sauce.

Once thickened, you may serve the chile at once, or put it in the fridge or cold garage overnight, then reheat and serve the next day. I think it’s better after a day’s melding.

PS - I used to add cornstarch to make up the thickness, but found it wasn’t necessary if you just use enough peppers to thicken it naturally. You can vary the potatoes as well. Use one or two less if you prefer purer green chile sauce for smothering burritos, etc., or use one or two more to make a stand alone stew. If you let it cook for 5 or 6 hours, the meat gets fall - apart - tender. If its still chewy, cook it longer, or let it sit and cook it some more the next day.

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