Pork and Tomatillo Chili Verde Recipe

Switch up your chili with tangy-sweet tomatillos—plus more chili recipes to satisfy meat-eaters and vegetarians alike
Pork and Tomatillo Chili Verde

Photography Terry Brennan, Food Styling Lara Miklasevics

A pot of chili is perfect for get-togethers or an easy family meal. And if you’re looking for a twist on your usual recipe, this meaty chili gets a uniquely delicious edge with tangy-sweet tomatillos in the mix, says cookbook author and culinary instructor Molly Stevens, who created this recipe for Real Food. You can make a big pot to serve a crowd on the weekend or to heat up later for easy weeknight suppers. For hearty appetites, Stevens suggests adding a spoonful of rice to each bowl. Like most stews, this keeps for days.

Pork and Tomatillo Chili Verde

Makes 6 Servings

2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1½-inch chunks
1½ pounds tomatillos (about 15 medium), husks removed and rinsed (see Cook’s Notes)
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1-2 jalapeño peppers, cored and seeded
1½ cups lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 poblano peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
1 large bell pepper cored, seeded, and diced
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
1¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ¾ teaspoon fine salt), plus more to taste
1 (15.5-ounce) can hominy, drained (see Cook’s Notes)

For Serving (optional)
Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
½ cup crumbled queso fresco or feta
Thinly sliced radishes
Lime wedges
Warm tortillas and/or plain rice

  1. Spread the pork out on a tray or plate to dry; pat dry with paper towels if necessary.
  2. Heat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches below. Put the tomatillos on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil, turning a few times, until charred all over and beginning to soften, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor with any juices. Add the celery, onion, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based stew pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the pork in batches, turning with tongs, until nicely browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Return to the tray or plate.
  4. Lower the heat to medium, and add the poblano, green pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Sauté, stirring, until the peppers and spices are well combined, about 1 minute. Add the puréed tomatillo mixture and the broth. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste. Stir to dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the hominy and pork, along with any juices. Bring to a gentle simmer. Partially cover, and adjust the heat so the stew simmers gently, and cook until the pork is tender, about 1½ hours. Add salt to taste. Serve in deep bowls, topping as you like with cilantro, queso, radishes, and lime wedges. Accompany with warm tortillas and/or rice.

Cook’s Notes:
• Fresh tomatillos, sometimes called husk tomatoes, look a lot like unripe, green tomatoes except they come wrapped in a papery husk. Before using, peel off the husk and discard, then rinse the tomatillos under warm water to remove the sticky coating. If you can’t find tomatillos, green tomatoes may be substituted.
• Hominy is made from whole kernels of corn that have been treated to soften their outer husks and plump up. Canned hominy is ready to eat straight from the can, but it benefits from being simmered alongside other ingredients as in this stew.

Nutrition (per serving): With queso fresco: Calories: 440, Fat: 25g (Sat: 7 g), Cholesterol: 105 mg, Sodium: 740 mg, Carb: 19g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Protein: 36g

Hungry for More?

Check out the variety of chili recipes I have highlighted here that are adaptable for vegetarians and meat-eaters as well as those on a gluten-free diet:

5 Award-Winning Chili Recipes

Mix up your own International Chili Society World Champion recipe and get a taste of cookoff victory.

Lentil Mushroom Chili with Optional Ground Beef Recipe

This twist on traditional chili can satisfy both vegetarians and meat-eaters from the same pot.

White Chili with Jalapeños, Spinach, Cheddar and Optional Chicken Sausage Recipe

Please everyone at the table with the same pot of chili—plus it’s gluten free.

Chipotle Red Bean Chili with Bulgur, Roasted Peppers, and Optional Chorizo

Here’s a thoroughly modern chili that can also be made gluten-free.

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.