To me, there’s no smell in the world more heavenly than that of chili roasting on a crisp fall day. It’s like comfort, the scent of home. When I was growing up, my grandma had an horno, or a dome-shaped adobe oven, in her back yard. The oven had a place to make a fire in the bottom and a hole in the top to let the smoke out. There was a large, flat stone that fit across the front, sealing the oven closed. After bushels and bushels of red and green chilies were roasted in the horno, children, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, cousins, and anyone else who could be conned, coaxed, or coerced into the job would gather in the yard to peel and bag the peppers so they could be frozen for the next year. My grandma had an entire stand-up freezer in her kitchen devoted to storing quart bags of chili.
The days of hornos are long gone—zoning laws and modern appliances have pretty much wiped out the adobe ovens. But I still love the smell of roasting chili, and I still take as much of the fresh stuff each fall as people will give me. I make my own green chili, using this recipe as a jumping off place. (For example, the onions, garlic, and chicken broth aren’t traditional, but I’ve found I like their flavors.) The pork can be left out if you want a vegetarian green chili sauce.
Green Chili With Pork
2 to 3 pound pork roast, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/3 cup flour
5 cups chicken broth
1 (14-1-2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups diced green chilies
1 tablespoon minced garlic (helps combat heartburn)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
Brown pork lightly in deep skillet over medium heat. Place browned pork in slow cooker.
Add cooking oil to skillet with chopped onion. Cook onion till tender.
Add flour to skillet. Stir to blend flour into cooking oil.
Add chicken broth to skillet. Cook and stir for a few minutes, till mixture comes to boil and is slightly thickened. Cook, still stirring, about a minute more.
Meanwhile, in food processor, puree half of the green chilies till smooth.
Add hot mixture from skillet to slow cooker along with drained tomatoes, pureed and chopped green chilies, and spices and salt.
Cook on low at least half a day, but the longer the better. I usually try for nine or ten hours, at least, or till the meat is falling off the fork when stabbed.
There are so many ways to serve this. If you want a stewish dish, add cubed potatoes to the slow cooker twenty or thirty minutes before dinner. Serve over eggs or refried beans, or have on top of burritos and garnish with lettuce and tomato, cheese and sour cream. It’s really good instead of gravy on your Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing. Enjoy!