Loaded with roasted green chilies and tender, simmered pork roast, Colorado Green Chili is an unforgettable meal that’s filled with mouthwatering Mexican flavor. Just the fragrance of this beloved one-pot meal will warm up your soul!
Easy Homemade Chili Verde
If you have never tried Colorado green chili, you might be wondering if it’s similar to red chili such as chili con carne. The answer? Sort of… both are thick, meaty stews that contain plenty of delicious spices and Mexican flavors. But green chili is notable for using tender chunks of pork instead of beef, and for its ultra-flavorful, mouthwatering verde (the Spanish word for “green”) sauce made with roasted green chili peppers. Seriously guys, this stuff is so good, you will crave it once you try it.
Colorado is a popular spinoff of New Mexican chili verde, made with New Mexico’s coveted Hatch chilies. In Colorado, a similar chili is grown, which led to this iconic Coloradan version of chili verde. (You can use whatever green chilies available to you, though – more on that later.) Different recipes add different ingredients, but mine includes tomatillo salsa for an extra shot of verde goodness.
How Do You Eat Colorado Green Chili?
You can eat green chili with almost anything, from a drizzle of crema to a plate of scrambled eggs or a full-on burrito! It’s wonderful as a meal in itself, or as a hearty side or “gravy” over other foods. Check out the “What to Serve” section below for more suggestions.
The Ingredients You’ll Need
The basis of this recipe is the green chili mixture, with pork slowly simmered in it until tender. Make sure to use a good cut of pork for simmering like shoulder or butt, not a lean cut for roasting!
- Green Chilis: Roasted and chopped green chilies are the star of the show – see below for the types of chilies that work, and how to use them.
- Pork Roast: A large shoulder or butt roast is perfect for this dish.
- Olive Oil: For sautéing.
- Salt and Pepper
- Garlic: Minced, fresh garlic is best, but garlic powder will also work.
- Onions: Dice up a yellow onion (or any kind of onion).
- Broth: You’ll need about 7 cups of broth, total. Chicken broth is fine, vegetable broth will also work, or you could use homemade broth or stock.
- Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde): My personal favorite tomatillo salsa is this one, but any kind is fine.
- Ground Cumin: For that classic chili flavor.
- Mexican Oregano: If you don’t have Mexican oregano, you can substitute regular oregano.
- Cloves: Just a pinch or two of ground cloves.
- Potatoes: Peel and cube a couple of large potatoes.
- Lime: For a little bit of acidity, you’ll need one lime, juiced.
- Masa (Mexican Corn Flour): If you don’t have masa for thickening the chili, you can use regular flour, but masa is the traditional way.
What Can I Use Instead of Colorado Chilies?
Just as New Mexican chili verde is famous for its Hatch chilies, Colorado green chili is famous for using Colorado chilies – and yes, both are amazing! But if you are having difficulty finding those, any Mexican poblanos or anaheim peppers also work great. All of these are somewhat hot, but usually not as hot as jalapenos.
Notes for roasting the peppers yourself are in the section below – but in a pinch, you could simply use canned green chilis, to save time and skip roasting them yourself.
How Do You Roast Chilies?
Roasting your own chilies is the same as roasting your own bell peppers. It’s easy to do, and great for prepping ingredients ahead of time. Roast more than you need, chop, and freeze. Then you’ll already have this step done the next time you want to use roasted chili peppers!
- Broil the Peppers. First, turn on your broiler. If it has a temperature option, choose 500°F. Move the oven rack on the top rung. Place your green chilis on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and broil until the skins begin to blacken and bubble. Use tongs to turn them, and let the other sides blacken and bubble as well.
- Cool in a Bag. Remove the blackened chilis from the oven, turn off the broiler, and use tongs to place the chilis into a zip-top bag or paper bag to cool for 5 minutes. This will trap the steam inside with the chilies, which will loosen the skins, and help them peel off more easily.
- Peel, Chop, and Store. Carefully remove blackened skins from the cooled chilies. If there is some charring on the flesh of the chili, this is good. (If you’re removing the stems and seeds to reduce the spiciness of the dish, now is the time. Use a sharp paring knife to remove stems and seeds.) Then chop the flesh. Use right away, or place them back in the zip lock bag to freeze for later use.
While Colorado green chili might seem intimidating, it’s actually a pretty easy recipe! There are a few moving parts, though, so it’s helpful to look over the recipe beforehand. Here are the basic steps:
- Brown the Pork Roast. To start things off right, we’ll create a layer of bold, meaty flavor in the pot by browning the pork. Heat some oil in a big, heavy pot (like a Dutch oven). Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the roast, and brown it for about 2 minutes per side.
- Add the Onions and Garlic. Next, add the onion and garlic to the pot. Cook those for 3 minutes or so, so the flavors start releasing from them.
- Add the “Verde” Ingredients. Now it’s time to get green! Add the green chilis, tomatillo salsa, cumin, Mexican oregano, and a pinch of ground cloves to the pork, along with five cups of the broth. Lower the heat and let everything simmer for about 1 hour with the lid on the pot, stirring occasionally. After an hour, check to see if the roast is done in the middle and tender. If it’s not there yet, simmer 20 minutes longer, and check again.
- Shred the Meat and Cook the Potatoes. Once the pork roast is nice and tender, take it out of the pot and place it in a big bowl or pan. Add the potatoes to the simmering pot and let them cook until tender, about twenty minutes. Meanwhile, use two forks to shred the roast into bite size chunks, and set aside.
- Add the Masa Mixture. While the potatoes continue to cook, mix together the masa and 2 cups of chicken broth. Stir this well, to make a smooth mixture, and then whisk or stir it into the chili.
- Finish the Dish. Add the shredded pork back to the chili, and let it all simmer together until the chili has thickened, about 20 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of Mexican crema (or sour cream) and cilantro, if desired.
Tips for Success
Colorado green chili is a really special dish, with a taste that will make your mouth water. Keep these helpful tips in mind to make your chili the best it can be!
- Know Your Recipe: Read the recipe through before starting to get a clear picture of how best to start.
- Maximum Flavor: You can purchase green chilis canned, but the best flavors come from roasting your own green chilis.
- A Secret Ingredient: The pinch of cloves adds a special “family secret” flavor that leaves an impression. Don’t skip it!
- Control the Heat: To make this dish less spicy, remove the ribs and seeds from your chilies.
What to Serve with Colorado Green Chili
My favorite way to enjoy this dish is by the bowl or cup, with a drizzle of Mexican crema (or sour cream) and some chopped fresh cilantro. You can also serve with…
- Burritos: Green chili is fantastic spooned hot over a burrito!
- Cornbread: Sunny yellow cornbread goes beautifully with this chili, especially Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread. It’s a match made in heaven!
- Beer Bread: While not traditional, this Beer Bread is so delicious with this chili!
Storing and Reheating
One of the best things about chili is leftover chili, you know? Once the flavors have time to chill and develop, this chili verde is even better. Here’s how to refrigerate and reheat:
- Refrigerate in an airtight container (or covered tightly with plastic wrap) for up to 7 days.
- Reheat on the stove top over low heat, with a lid to keep in the steam. Stir occasionally. You can also reheat in a microwave, using a microwave-safe dish. I recommend covering the dish with a clean paper towel to prevent spatters.
Can I Freeze This?
Definitely! Chili verde is a great recipe for freezing and reheating. Just cool the chili, pack in freezer bags or containers, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in your refrigerator before reheating.
Colorado Green Chili (Chili Verde)
- 2 cups roasted and chopped ***green chilis
- 2-3 pound pork roast, shoulder or butt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 7 cups chicken broth, divided
- 1 ½ cups tomatillo salsa, salsa verde
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 lime, juiced
- Masa flour, for thickening
- 1. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pan (like a dutch oven) on your stove top, over medium-high heat.
- 2. Sprinkle salt and pepper over all sides of the pork roast. Place the roast in the heated oil and brown, turn the roast over on each side until each side is browned, about 2 minutes per side.
- 3. Add the onion, and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes to get the flavors to start releasing from the onion and garlic.
- 4. Add 5 cups of broth, green chilis, tomatillo salsa, cumin, Mexican oregano, and a pinch of ground cloves to the pan.
- 5. Lower heat to a low simmer and let it simmer for 1 hour with the lid on the pot, stirring occasionally. After about 1 hour, check if the roast is done in the middle and tender. If not, let pork cook another 20 minutes and check again.
- 6. Remove the roast from the broth. Using two forks, shred the roast into bite size chunks. Set pork aside.
- 7. Add the potatoes to the chili broth and cook for 20 more minutes, until potatoes are tender.
- 8. In a separate bowl mix together the masa (a few tablespoons) and 2 cups of chicken broth together until smooth. Stir into the chili. Add the shredded pork roast back to the chili. Cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.
- 9. Serve with a drizzle of Mexican crema (or sour cream) and cilantro, if desired.
- Turn the broiler to 500°F and place the oven rack on the top rung. Place green chilis on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place the pan under the broiler and broil till the tops of the chilis begin to blacken and bubble. Using tongs, turn the chilis over to the other side. Broil each side till bubbled and blackened. Remove the chilis from the oven and with tongs place the chilis into a ziplock bag to steam and cool for 5 minutes. This will help the skins to peel off more easily.
- Carefully remove blackened skins. If there is some charring on the flesh of the chili this is good. With a sharp paring knife also remove stems and seeds. Then chop. You can use them right away or place them back in the zip lock bag to freeze for later use.
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