A Chili Verde

To most people chili conjures up an image of thick reddish-brown, spicy stew full of beans. No one will mistake chili for anything else. Green chili is another matter. Is it just chili that is colored green somehow? Does it contain beans? Is it a sauce or a stew?

In New Mexico or Colorado you can order chili verde on the menu that is like soup eaten with corn or flour tortillas. Yet, there is something that seems very different on the green chili and pork burritos. Is this chili verde, too? The following recipe works well for a sauce or soup and will serve at least 8 people. Using two jalapenos may make this about as spicy as most people can stand.


Fry the pork, onion, garlic, and jalapenos in a pan with the butter. Do not let anything brown, but fry until the vegetables are all wilted and there is no pink to the pork. Add the flour and corn starch. Mix the ingredients until the flour and starch coat everything. You may find that the flour also coats the bottom of the pan.

Pour in two cups of water and continue to cook until it becomes a thick sauce. Add this sauce to a crock-pot with the other ingredients and cook for 4 to 6 hours on medium heat stirring occasionally. Add water, if needed, to give this the consistency of thick soup. The soup is ready to eat immediately, but it always seems better when re-heated on the second day. It will congeal in a refrigerator, but thins just fine when reheated.

The same recipe makes a very good verde sauce for burritos or huevos if you also leave out the tomatoes and limit the water to two cups. The sauce has to be thick enough to stay in and on the burrito, but not so thick that it will burn in the crock-pot. The jalapenos are the most difficult item to proportion because the peppers that I find in grocery stores range from mild to hot and are impossible to distinguish from one another.

I try a little chili verde in any restaurant that serves it, but I always make a small taste test first. There is a world of bad chili verde out there. Color is not its defining feature.

Here is a list of three interesting spots in Eastern Colorado to eat chili verde. However, this is not an exhaustive list. There are as many varieties of chili verde as there are cooks to prepare it.