Much of New Mexico’s culinary influence made the journey as well- the use of chile, mutton, and an appreciation for advovada (marinated pork). From this foundation, Colorado-Mexican cuisine evolved. The chile turned into more of a gravy, almost indistinguishable from nacho cheese to the outside eye but fierce, verdant, a Rocky Mountain ratatouille with pork bits, tomatoes, jalapeños, diced green chile, salt, and red chile powder, a soothing balm to guard against furious winters.
The Mile High City’s contributions to Southwestern food aren’t just a galaxy apart from Mexican; they’re an entire universe… The green chile has an orange tint, not as a shoutout to the Denver Broncos, but because of all the tomato. It’s more like a stew than a sauce, yet it’s consistently hotter than chile in New Mexico (albeit less hot than Pueblo-style).
(As a side note, if this sort of stuff interests you at all, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America is a super engaging read and governs a lot of what I know about Mexican food – highly recommended!)
Denver Green Chile
Found nowhere but here, Denver green chile is one of those regional specialties that makes us, us!
- 12-14 medium roasted Hatch or Pueblo green chiles
- 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
- 1/4 cup lard (see note above)
- 1 8-oz can no-salt-added tomato sauce
- 4 cups pork broth or water (Do NOT substitute chicken broth!)
- 1/4 cup white flour
- 1/4 cup water
- salt to taste
Roughly chop 10-12 of your roasted Hatch or Pueblo green chiles, reserving 2 of them to use later. Place in the bottom of your slow cooker.
Heat a cast iron or other heavy bottomed pan over high heat and melt lard. If you haven't already, cut a 1/2 lb chunk off of your pork tenderloin. Sear tenderloin in the lard, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Add pork, lard, tomato sauce and pork broth / water into slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours.
After 8 hours, remove pork and let rest on a cutting board. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and water until smooth. Pour into the slow cooker.
To achieve perfect texture, immersion blend the mixture in the slow cooker until smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, pour into a blender in batches and blend until as smooth as possible.
Shred pork and return to the slow cooker. Chop your remaining 2 green chiles and add those as well. Replace the lid and let it cook until thickened, another 30-45 minutes.
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