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Lynda Balslev: Chile verde can utilize turkey leftovers — or not!

Lynda Balslev
Columnist
This is not a leftover turkey recipe, but do not fret. While this recipe focuses on pork, the beauty of a chile verde is that you can use the recipe as a template and substitute in your favorite meat for the pork.
Photo by Lynda Balslev for TasteFood

This is not a leftover turkey recipe, but do not fret. While this recipe focuses on pork, the beauty of a chile verde is that you can use the recipe as a template and substitute in your favorite meat for the pork. Chunks of dark chicken are great flavorful contenders. And, yes, turkey leftovers can be switched in, as well.

The tomatillo base of the stew, the key component of this recipe, remains the same no matter the meat. The smoky, herbaceous salsa verde melds with a savory chicken (or turkey) stock, creating a stew that is bright, fresh and comforting at once.

Note that the cooking times will vary depending on your meat choice. Pork requires the longest time to slowly cook and tenderize (and infuse the stew with its flavor, which is a tasty benefit of this recipe). If you use fresh chicken meat or turkey meat, the simmering time will be shorter, approximately 1 hour. And if you repurpose your abundance of turkey leftovers, the time will be about 30 minutes. I recommend testing the stew for doneness every 30 minutes or so if you switch out the pork.



Pork Chile Verde

Active time: 30 minutes

Total time: 2 hours and 30 minutes



Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Salsa Verde:

1 pound tomatillos

1 poblano pepper, halved lengthwise and seeded

1 large jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded

1 medium white onion, cut into 6 to 8 wedges

1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 to 2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder (butt), excess fat trimmed, cut in 1-inch chunks

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

2 cups chicken or turkey stock

Optional:

Cooked long-grain rice

Tortillas, warmed

Chopped fresh cilantro

Chopped red onion

Sliced avocado

Lime wedges

Make the salsa verde: Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse under cold water to remove the sticky film. Halve the tomatillos crosswise and arrange, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the poblano, jalapeno and onion around the tomatillos in one layer. Place under the oven broiler and broil until the vegetables are charred, 5 to 7 minutes, rotating the pan once or twice.

Cool slightly and peel away the pepper skins as much as possible (it’s OK if some bits remain; they add flecks of char). Transfer the vegetables and any juices to a food processor. Add the cilantro, lime juice, salt and black pepper and process to achieve a salsa consistency.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Season the pork on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the meat on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining pork.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano and coriander and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the stock and stir up any brown bits. Return the pork to the pot, pour in the salsa verde, and stir to coat. Transfer to the oven and cook until the pork is tender, about 2 hours, stirring once or twice. Remove from the oven. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if desired.

Ladle into bowls. Serve with rice and tortillas, if desired, and optional garnishes.

Lynda Balslev is a cookbook author, food and travel writer, and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area

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