We’re still enjoying our batch of Hatch green chiles, which don’t seem as hot this year as they usually are. Maybe it was the unusually dry season last year. But while I was trying to research why they were so mild, I found some interesting facts about chiles:
- One fresh medium-sized green chile pod has as much Vitamin C as six oranges.
- One teaspoon of dried red chile powder has the daily requirements of Vitamin A.
- Hot chile peppers speed up your metabolism and burn calories.
- Capsaicin, the chemical that make chile peppers hot, are used in muscle creams for sore and aching muscles.
- Chile peppers are relatives of tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants
- Red chile pepper pods hs been used as a coloring for everything from lipstick to processed meats.
- There are 26 known species of chile pepper.
Anyway, last night, Jay asked that I make him one of his favorites, Pork with Green Chile. I’ve made this with red chile, too, but we’ve found that red chile works better with pork butt, while the green chile works beautifully with spare ribs, country ribs as well as pork butt. He pulled out ‘da ribs’ from the freezer while I pulled out the Le Crueset Dutch Oven.
I have two sizes of these things – the 5.5 quart round Le Creuset Dutch Oven and the super-sized 9.5 quart oval Le Creuset Dutch Oven. While I use the 5.5 size more often, the 9.5 size is simply irreplaceable for dinners for six or more or for parties. Even when full of stew meat or an entire pork butt, the food cooks evenly because the cast iron core keeps the heat distributed consistently. No burnt edges or uncooked spots around the edges, and the heavy, well-fitting lids stop the food from drying out on top.
Unlike my Corn and Green Chile Chowder, Pork with Green Chile is not a dish that requires measurements. It is, however, another one-pot meal (which Jay appreciates, since he usually does the dishes. I’m lazy that way.) You can use pork butt, but be prepared to allow about 4 hours for a larger piece of meat to cook. But I guarantee that if you let it cook slowly, at a low temperature, in a dutch oven that disburses heat evenly like a Le Creuset, the meat will turn out tender, flavorful and melt in your mouth.
Pork spareribs, about 1.5 pounds (can easily adjust for larger pieces of meat or more ribs – just add more of the other ingredients and allow more cooking time.
One large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 can tomatoes w/jalapeno chiles (I like Rotelle hot, but you can use whatever heat scale your palette will tolerate)
3 roasted Hatch or Anaheim green chiles, diced (Canned green chiles really don’t cut it.)
1/2 can chicken broth (optional)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano (not Greek oregano!)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Olive oil (use can use corn or vegetable oil, but olive oil is better for you)
Fresh lime, quartered, for garnish
Directions - using only one pot, the Le Creuset
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Heat the Le Creuset over medium high heat. Season the meat with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan, and sear the meat on all sides. Remove the meat, lower the heat to medium and add onions. Fry the onions until translucent and a bit soft, reduce heat to low. Add garlic, cook one minute, then add tomatoes and green chile. Cook 5 minutes. Add coriander, oregano and cumin along with 1/4 cup of cilantro. Add chicken broth if the sauce is very thick, but remember it should NOT be soupy. Return the meat to the pan, spoon sauce over the meat, cover and put in the oven. Reduce heat to 250 degrees and cook for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours (4 hours for larger cuts of meat). Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with white or brown rice cooked with chicken broth instead of water, garnish with a bit of the remaining cilantro, and serve with sour cream and lime on the side.