(Green Chili Sauce pictured on Tamale Pie, upper right)

For years when I have been in Denver visiting my Aunt Ruth, we have dined at Ruth’s favorite Mexican restaurant. If you have never been to the Denver area, (which is a mistake I might add) you pretty much can’t drive a block without bumping into a Mexican restaurant. (Please note, this is not a bad thing in my book. I truly adore really good Mexican food.) And Denver, unlike some areas of the US that I could mention, has more than its fair share of really good Mexican restaurants. (And I’m sorry if my next comments bring offence to anyone, but I don’t consider most of the food served by large Mexican chain restaurants in our area to be good Mexican food! To me, everything tastes the same. Regardless of what you order, it’s served swimming in an uninspired sauce that tastes like it has been sitting in a steam table container since just after the Mexican revolution ended in 1920.) So when I taste a sauce that is fresh tasting and has a depth of flavor that compliments rather than detracts from my chosen entrée, I am in pure hog heaven. And speaking of hogs, a pork product is usually at the base of a truly good green chili sauce. You can practically bet your share of pickled pig’s feet on that one! But back to dining in Denver……

Mexican restaurants in and around Denver are known for their sauces, especially their green chili sauce. And my aunt’s favorite restaurant served the best green chili sauce I had ever tasted. That is until I started messing around with the one I am going to share with you today. (And no I will not give you the name of the restaurant in Denver! I am not going to advertise for them because they have never, and believe me I have asked several times over the years, even given me the slightest hint as to what goes into their amazing sauce. So call me a baby, but darn it, I live 1350 miles away. It’s not like I would publish the recipe in a cookbook or blog for heaven’s sake!) So, in order to pay homage to one of the truly wonderful world cuisines, and to let you know that there are homemade dishes that are far superior to what is available in most Mexcian restaurants today, I’m goin’ south of the border for the next few days. Today Green Chili Sauce with Pork; tomorrow Red Chili Sauce. After that Cheese Enchiladas, Mexican Shredded Beef, Pork Tamale Pie, Mexican Rice (nary a tomato product in this rice), Margaritas, and a couple of other favorites of mine. So pack your metaphorical bags and join me on my Mexican food adventure.  Open yourself a Negra Modelo or Dos Equis, start reading a book by Carlos Fuentes, and listen to some Carlos Santana. Mexico here we come. Provecho!

  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 2-3 bone in pork chops
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 ½ c. chicken stock
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 2 lg. tomatillos, chopped
  • 5 Anaheim peppers, charred (skins, seeds, veins removed) and chopped
  • 1 lg. or 2 small fresh jalapenos, charred (skins, seeds, veins removed) and finely minced
  • flour

Heat oil in a large, covered sauce pan. Season chops with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Carefully place in hot oil and fry until very, very brown and there are lots of brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for about a minute or until you can smell the garlic. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, oregano, and salt. Add chicken stock, tomato paste, tomatillos, and peppers. Bring to just under a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for about 2 hours. Remove chops and allow to cool. When cool, remove bones and as much fat and sinew as possible. Flake the meat into very small pieces and return to the sauce. Discard bones and sinew. You will probably need to thicken the sauce at this point. Take about 1/4 cup of the liquid out on the pan and place in a small mixing bowl. Depending on how thick you like your sauce, whisk in a tablespoon or two of flour into your mixing bowl and gently stir back into the pan. Allow to burble for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, adjust seasoning, and serve over your favorite enchiladas, tamales, burritos, refried beans, etc.