Inspired by the authentic green chili recipes of New Mexico and Colorado, this shortcut version uses everyday ingredients to create a Green Chili Recipe that’s more accessible if you don’t have a whole day to dedicate to it.
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I’ve had some wonderful, special bowls of green chili throughout the southwest, and especially on colder nights, I find myself missing it.
I set out and create an easier green chili recipe (same logic applied when I created this Baked Pork Tenderloin).
After a few tries, however, I quickly realized this would be no easy feat.
The marriage of flavors in green chili is both an art and a science.
Reproducing the bold, spicy, complex profile of an authentic green chili recipe was certainly a challenge (ditto for these Instant Pot Carnitas).
With that being said, be prepared to be wowed because I think I’ve done it!
About Green Chili
Green chili is wildly popular in the Southwest, where its core ingredient (green chiles) flourishes in the desert climate. Hatch green chili is a way of life in New Mexico. Colorado has its own version, which uses Pueblo chiles.
This green chili recipe tastes reminiscent of the all-day, slow-simmered authentic pork green chili recipe I had the pleasure of tasting New Mexico, but thanks to a few carefully thought-out shortcuts, you can pull it together in less time.
5 Star Review
“Absolutely phenomenal recipe!!! I’ve made it four times in the past 6 months or so. Everyone I’ve served it to has been blown away by how delicious it is.”— John —
Secrets to an Easy Green Chile Recipe
Here’s how I improvised to make a “northern” green chili using ingredients I could find in Wisconsin (in the dead of winter) AND in a fraction of the time.
- Roast the Veg. What makes green chili one of the most special things you will ever taste is its deep, slow-cooked flavor. To simulate this same effect, I started by roasting the veggies (also was key to this Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Black Bean Salad) to give this green chili intense flavor in a fraction of the time.
- Thicken. Authentic green chili thickens slowly over time. As the cooking liquid reduces, the flavors become concentrated, and the pork fat renders. My shortcut recipe uses cornmeal to speed up the thickening process while also adding an extra layer of southwest flavor.
- Buy Local. To my dismay, fresh hatch chiles (ditto for Pueblo chiles) are rarely available to me living in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin. Making do with what is accessible in my region, I went with poblanos and jalapeños (as seen in my favorite King Ranch Chicken).
- Go Lean. Swapping traditional pork shoulder or pork butt for pork tenderloin not only makes this green chili recipe healthier but cuts down the cooking time tremendously. (Save the pork shoulder for these Slow Cooker Asian Pulled Pork Tacos).
- Simple Shortcut. The final touch? A jar of high-quality roasted green tomatillo salsa. It’s the million-dollar green chili shortcut that elevates this dish to a world champion green chili recipe status.
How to Make Green Chili
This Wisconsinized green chili recipe is my northern twist on the American Southwest’s famous green chili (this Pumpkin Chili is another non-traditional chili twist).
It’s deeply warming, complexly spiced, and (along with the Blue Ribbon Chili in my cookbook), is my favorite chili recipe.
- Pork Tenderloin. While pork shoulder (a.k.a. pork butt) is traditional for green chili recipes, it’s a tougher, fattier cut of meat that takes hours of simmering to become tender (e.g. Slow Cooker Carnitas). Pork tenderloin is leaner and requires little more than a half-hour to become so fall-apart tender, you can cut it with your spoon.
While pork is traditional in authentic green chili recipes, you may make vegetarian green chili by omitting the pork and swapping for canned beans, or other vegetables of your choice such as fresh corn, zucchini, or bell peppers.
- Poblano Peppers. My accessible swap for Hatch or Pueblo chilies. They’re roughly the same size and still lend a green in but have a milder smokier flavor.
Anaheim peppers are another suitable green chili you could swap for poblanos. You can also, of course, use fresh Hatch or Pueblo chiles if you have access to them too.
- Jalapeño Peppers. Since poblanos are the milder cousin to classic hatch, I reached for a few jalapeños to kick up the heat.
Feel free to increase or decrease the number of jalapeños in this recipe to suit your personal tastes and tolerance for heat.
- Tomatillo Salsa. Since scrubbing fresh tomatillos is time-consuming, I opted to add them to the chili in the form of ready-made green salsa instead. (You can find tomatillo salsa at almost any grocery store.)
- Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes. This simple pantry staple adds to the illusion of all-day-cooked flavor. (Also my secret to adding tons of flavor to this Easy Taco Soup.)
- Hominy. An undersung ingredient that’s sold in the Hispanic aisle of most grocery stores. If you’re new to this ingredient, try it. Once you do, you’ll be wanting to add it to EVERYTHING!
Hominy is a staple in Mexican cooking and is produced from dried kernels of corn that go through a special processing technique, to make them big, puffy, soft, and chewy. I know it’s not a classic ingredient in green chili (you see it more often in posole), but it’s scrumptious and worth a try.
- Garlic + Onions. Get roasted with the peppers for an added layer of complex flavor.
- Chicken Broth. To better control the seasoning, always reach for a low-sodium variety.
- Cornmeal. To thicken the chili more quickly, I stirred in cornmeal. It’s a gluten-free alternative to thickening with flour, and the cornmeal’s taste is both subtle and a natural companion to the Southwest flavors.
I like to use fine-ground cornmeal in this recipe. If you can’t find a finely ground option at your grocery store, look to see if it is packaged as masa harina (usually found near your grocer’s specialty flours).
- Oregano + Cloves. Add some fresh herb flavor and just a dash of earthy aromatic spice.
- Roast the peppers, garlic, and onion until golden brown and soft. Chop.
- Brown the pork in batches. Add the cornmeal, diced tomatoes, tomatillo salsa, chicken broth, oregano, cloves, and roasted vegetables.
- Simmer the green chili, partially covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chili has reduced slightly.
- Transfer 2 cups of the chili to a blender. Purée until smooth, then return to the pot.
Take care to not include any of the pork in the blender.
- Add in the hominy and continue to simmer, partially covered, until the pork is tender.
At this time, you may add up to 1 cup of additional chicken stock if the chili is thicker than you would like.
- Ladle the green chili into bowls topped with avocado, cilantro, and/or Greek yogurt. ENJOY!
- To Store. Leftovers of this green chili recipe can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze. Green chili may be kept frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before warming.
- To Reheat. Green chili may be warmed on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave until steaming and heated through.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Sheet Pan. I use this everyday pan for everything from roasting veggies to baking cookies.
- Dutch Oven. I kitchen essential no home cook should be without.
- Blender. Not just for smoothies. A high-powered blender is perfect for savory recipes (like this Roasted Carrot Soup) too.
The Best Cast Iron Skillet
The Le Creuset black enamel interior requires no additional seasoning and provides superior heat distribution.
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought!
Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.
Sending love to New Mexico (and Colorado—I know you love your green chili too), from Wisconsin.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have not tried adding beans to this green chili, but I think great northern beans or pinto beans would work well.
I recommend sticking to the stovetop because it is what makes the chili so rich and thick. Additionally, the crockpot might overcook the pork tenderloin because it is so lean. If you’re looking for a great slow cooker chili recipe, try this Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes.
Chili verde is Spanish for “green chili” so they effectively mean the same thing. Both terms refer to a Mexican stew comprised of pork (usually pork shoulder or butt) slowly braised in a sauce made of green chiles and tomatillos until it is fall-apart tender. There are a variety of recipes, such as today’s green chili and this Chile Verde Pork.
Green Chili Recipe
- 3 poblano peppers stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped into 3/4-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 4 medium garlic cloves peels on and left whole
- 2 jalapeño peppers seeds and membranes removed and chopped into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper divided
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup fine-grain cornmeal
- 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
- 1 jar prepared tomatillo (green) salsa (16 ounces) about 1 1/2 cups
- 3–4 cups low-sodium chicken broth divided
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 can white hominy, drained (15 ounces)
- Sliced avocado
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Plain nonfat Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. For easy cleanup, line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place the poblanos, garlic, jalapeño, and onion in the center. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the peppers and onions are golden brown and soft. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Peel the garlic, then further chop the vegetables into small pieces.
- While the vegetables roast, heat a large dutch oven or similar sturdy-bottomed pot with a lid over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Then once the oil is hot but not yet smoking, add half of the pork and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir and cook, disturbing the pork as little as possible, until the pork is lightly browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. It will not be cooked all the way through. Remove to a plate and set aside. Repeat with the second half of the pork, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Return all of the pork to the pot.
- Sprinkle in the cornmeal, then stir to coat. Stir in the diced tomatoes in their juices, tomatillo salsa, 3 cups chicken broth, oregano, cloves, and chopped roasted vegetables.
- Bring the chili to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- With a ladle or large spoon, scoop 2 cups of the chili from the pot and transfer to a blender. Be sure to scoop up some of the roasted vegetables and tomatoes, but be careful that you do not get any pork cubes. (I find it easiest to scoop up big ladlefuls, then use a fork to pick the pork cubes out and put them back into the pot, then transfer the ladle contents to the blender.) Hold down the blender lid with a folded kitchen towel. Pulse it a few times to get the soup moving, then increase the pulse time by a few seconds per pulse, until it purées easily. Purée the mixture until smooth, then pour it back into the pot.
- Stir in the hominy. Continue to simmer partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the pork is very tender, about 15 minutes more. Give the chili one last big stir. If the chili is thicker than you would like, add the additional 1 cup of chicken broth a little at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. Enjoy hot, topped with avocado, cilantro, and/or Greek yogurt as desired.
- TO STORE: Leftovers of this green chili recipe can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- TO FREEZE: Green chili may be kept frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before warming.
- TO REHEAT: Green chili may be warmed on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave until steaming and heated through.
READ: Green Chili Recipe