Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with This Chili Verde Recipe

Here in the United States, we’re all ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, no matter how far we are from Mexico. But what many of us don’t realize is that the broad, varied cuisine is much more than tacos and chimichangas.

Just like how food differs within the miniscule state of New Jersey depending on geography, food differs in massive Mexico depending on a given region.

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That’s also true in New Mexico, which has fare that is not Mexican, Tex-Mex or So-Cal. It’s its own authentic and distinctive food category that we as food and wine professionals are profoundly interested in being that it dates back long before our own country was founded and its fare is reflected within the United States’ massive size and influence.

A cuisine all its own

New Mexican cuisine has its own tendencies, even if on the surface, the food appears similar to Mexican cuisine. First of all, there’s a reliance on both green and red chili peppers not just for spice, but also for flavor. One of our favorite dishes that showcase this is chili verde with pinto beans served with rice and tortillas.

The chili verde starts with pork simmered in fire-roasted tomatillos, poblanos and jalapenos, with lots of onion, garlic and cilantro added, as well as cumin, oregano and other spices.

Next, the pinto beans wait patiently for a sauce made from dried New Mexican chili peppers, which are hatch chili peppers that have some heat, but really offer flavor.

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We’re lucky that in New Jersey, you can enjoy traditional dishes just like this since we have greater access to authentic Mexican and New Mexican fare than ever before due to the plethora of people who have settled here.

To us, that couldn’t be more exciting. Just like how we use European grapes to interpret wines and express ourselves here, we love seeing cooks do just the same with delectable Mexican fare.

New Mexico Chili Verde


  • 1 and 1⁄2 lbs. Fresh Tomatillos
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 Fresh Poblano Peppers
  • 2 Large Fresh Jalapenos, stems, seeds and ribs removed; chop the peppers
  • 1 C. Cilantro Leaves
  • 4 lbs. Pork Loin, cut into 1” cubes (pork shoulder OK, but add 2-3 hours of cooking time)
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 3 T. Olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 Yellow Onions, chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 1 T. Oregano, dried
  • 2 t. Ground Cumin
  • 2 and 1⁄2 C. Chicken Stock


  1. Remove (and discard) the papery husks from the tomatillos, rinse them well. Slice in half
    and place cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, leaving space between
    them. Scatter the garlic cloves among the tomatillos, and broil for 5-7 minutes until
    blackened. Transfer to a plate to cool, with the garlic.
  2. Place the poblano peppers on the sheet pan and broil until both sides are blistering and
    blackened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the broiler and place the peppers in a paper
    bag, sealed (this will steam them and make removal of their skins easier). When cool
    enough to handle (about 10 minutes), use a paring knife to remove the stem and seeds, and
    then peel the blackened skin from the peppers. Slice the peppers into 2” pieces.
  3. Remove the skins from the roasted garlic cloves; place the garlic, tomatillos, poblano and
    jalapeno peppers, along with the cilantro, into a food processor. On medium, reduce to a
    coarse and thick sauce (do not liquify this), then set aside.
  4. In a large heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil on medium to medium-
    high and brown the pork on all sides, seasoning with salt and pepper; this will likely be done in shifts so the pan is not crowded. When the pork pieces are browned, transfer them to a
  5. In the same pot – adding more oil if necessary – sauté the onion and chopped garlic until
    translucent, add the oregano, cumin and the stock, plus all of the pork and the
    tomatillo/pepper mixture. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for 1 hour (NOTE: if
    using pork shoulder instead of pork loin, simmer for 2 – 3 hours). Taste and adjust the
    seasonings, as necessary.
  6. Serve immediately or – for best results – chill overnight and reheat gently before serving.
    Accompany with flour or corn tortillas along with New Mexico Pinto Beans or New
    Mexico Rice.

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