Tuesday, October 17

Chili Verde, geared to lowest-carb

My grandfather (whose family left Texas in a covered wagon in 1904 to head to California!) had two dishes he specialized in, and one was Chili Verde. Not just some pork and some tomatillos and a wimpy california anaheim chili, but a KNOCK YER SOCKS OFF mix of hot peppers and pork.

Looking back, I'm not sure why botchilism didn't kill us all, but he would make a gigantic sized pot of it on the stove, and it would literally sit there and simmer on lowest fire for DAYS. (If grandma needed the stove, he would move it to the top of the Wood Stove that was the house's heater.) Everybody in the extended family would at some point drop by and have some.

I have many fond memories of the stuff, and I didn't think of it being "low-carb-able" until I saw the recipe. Granted, I can't have the big homemade flour tortillas to go with it (primarily used to cool the fire of it in your mouth) but that's ok. I don't much like pork, either -- bacon, spicy sausage, and this, that's it. I detest 'ham'. But the meat is so good in this! I can't resist.

If you like SPICY FOOD and meat, I bet you'll like this. If you're a spice wimp, or you don't much care for things like garlic/onions/peppers, skip this recipe, or definitely use only a tiny amount of sweet peppers instead of the pepper mix and quantity I mention -- and use the 'variant' below that makes a thicker, less meat-heavy stew.

I first found the recipe here, although this is only one version (there are many I've found on the web).

Below is the version I make in my large oval crockpot -- and it is more than twice the size of the original recipe so you might want to cut this down a bit if your crockpot is the typical round-size. This stuff would freeze very well for the long term.
Traditional chili verde is basically a thick stew. This recipe, if you want to make that, should increase everything but meat and decrease the meat (so it's more like 4lbs meat and 4cups 'stuff' and 2tsp+ of each of the spices). However I wanted something super-heavy on the meat, so it would be really low carb, yet still with that awesome flavor and heat, so that's what this recipe is geared for. It is basically a bowl of supersoft spicy meat chunks with a bit of 'sauce' that is in the bowl that I spoon over 'em that is the beer, onions, peppers and spices all cooked together.


About 5-7 lbs of pork loin, chopped into bite-size chunks. (There are two 'grades' of this, one half the price of the other. The cheaper is just fine. This cooks so much that when I've combined them, I can't tell the diff anyway. The cheaper variant has a lot of fat; we cut most the fat off the outside of ours first but it's your option. We used about 8 lbs last time.)

8oz of beer and 8oz of water (we use Foster's lager. You can taste the beer if you use more than about 12 oz of it. If it's Fosters, that's not a bad thing (I dislike beer, but I don't mind the malt/hops 'influence' on this), but if you're using cheap beer I'd dilute it! ;-))

About 1/2- 2 cups of coursely chopped onion. (We used around a cup last time. Green onion has fewer carbs than regular if you care, but we used a white onion last time.

About 1.5-2.5 cups of chopped hot and sweet peppers; chop them about the size of the onions. (We used about 2-2.5 cups last time. We use our garden stuff which has poblano, cayenne, jalapeno, anaheim chili, hot banana, cherry bomb, and red bell, now that most the season is over; most of those are very red at this point (hot!) and yummy.)

About 12-14 fresh tomatillos. Chop them about the size you did the veggies. These are the small mexican green-tomatos that come in a 'husk' in the store. You can just stuff 'em in a food processor if you prefer.*

One can (I forget size. 8-10oz?) of the HOT green tomatillo sauce -- the kind you get in the mexican section of the store, NOT the green enchilida sauce.*

* Alternatively just add a few more tomatillos and no sauce, or use more of the sauce and fewer fresh tomatillos, or just forget the sauce, it's up to you. We like the spice of the canned stuff but the freshness of the real veggies.

4oz can diced green chilis.

6 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 tsp Oregano
1.5 tsp Sage
1.5 tsp Cumin
a little bit of salt and pepper
a little bit of peanut oil (or whatever you wish)


Dice the pork into small bite-size pieces. Brown it in a big pan, separate or stirred enough that the pieces get a bit cooked on at least 4 sides. It'll take a lot of batches to do this. Toss your browned pork into the crockpot.

Add some oil to the pan and saute all your onions and peppers a little. (Note: peanut oil is good for browning, as olive oil isn't great used with heat and veggie oil usually has trans-fats.) Lower the heat so they can brown without burning. When done, dump the whole pan of stuff into the crockpot.

Mix all your spices, garlic and the water with the beer and dump it over the whole thing in the crockpot.

Put the lid on and cook on high for around 8-9 hours. If you want, you can take off the lid after about 5 hours and stir it well. You'll lose about half an hour of heating time if you do that just fyi (that you should add to the end). I should mention that when you begin this, you don't see the fluid -- it's way at the bottom -- you just have veggies and stuff all the way to the top of the crock. So stirring is a good idea.

Note: you can eat it in 5 hours if you must. But it's better cooked longer; the pork is softer and the spice is stronger and hotter. Sometimes we have a bowl for dinner and leave it cooking for several more hours.... in fact the more it's cooked the better it gets, so cooking leftovers is great.

I stuff those little 4oz "Glad" containers with it, put 'em in the fridge, and several times a day I grab one, take off the lid and nuke it for 45 seconds, and I have an instant little meal. Since it's almost entirely meat it's still pretty filling though not a big portion.

My version of it, per one of those containers of stuff (4 7/8 oz not counting container weight), comes out to around

Calories: 261.04
Carbohydrates: 1.54
Fiber: 1
ECC: 0.54
Protein: 22.10
Fat etc.: no clue

But you really need to figure your own ingredients and quantities for counts. Really. It varies a great deal depending on the quantity of beer, onions and peppers and spices.

I had to figure my counts in reverse -- by measuring how much meat vs. veggies vs. liquid was in one of those little containers we filled 'on average' and then calculate. If you weigh your ingredients in grams and then get the counts for that many grams from the USDA database for that food, you'd have a good idea what the whole recipe has... if you separate it into little bowls, you can divide up how many servings it made.

I love this stuff. Of course, the more veggies and spices you have compared to quantity of meat, the more glorious it is, but the mostly-meat variant above is still insanely good. It has finally allowed me to make a ton of food that is easy to grab a small serving of for eating, freezing for later, whatever.

I recommend most folks start with the above recipe using about 4-5lbs of meat instead. I suspect most people would like it better. I'm really trying to limit carbs is all, hence my over-emphasis on the meat in the dish.

ADDENDUM 10/26/2006: We just made this again. This time, we used a little less peppers, but a can of hot tomato+chilis (Rotel brand), a little less beer, but a bunch of water. The result was still spicy, a little more rich, and with a lot more "juice" (the yummiest part).

1 comment:

Big Daddy D said...

This is an awesome recipe, highly recommended.