Colorado Green Chili [Gluten Free]

Have I mentioned my love of chili lately? It's one of my favorite comfort foods (alongside curry). Why? Because it has everything! Meat, beans, vegetables, a kick of heat and so much flavor. Give me a bowl of chili over mac and cheese or casserole any day, I will gladly take it. Which is why I'm so excited for this week's recipe - Colorado green chili!

Now, this recipe is especially close to my heart because I used to live in Colorado before moving to Singapore. It's where I started a career I loved, really became an adult, developed a love of food photography and met my husband. It's near a dear to me for so many reasons. And one of them is this chili variation. Tender, savory chunks of pork and tons of roasted peppers and onions, all in a spicy broth that teeters on the edge of soupy and stewy. Me likey.

When I moved to Denver, people raved about green chili, where to find it (um, basically any and everywhere), and where to get the best of it (jury is still out on that one - I've never met a green chili I didn't like. Although I am partial to a burrito bowl smothered in green chili from Illegal Pete's). In the late summer and early fall, you can't avoid the smell of roasted Hatch chiles wafting through the neighborhood, and vendors are slanging these charred peppers out of almost every corner parking lot. It's a beautiful thing.

This green chili variation isn't traditional, per se; I searched Singapore high and low for anything resembling a Hatch, poblano or even anaheim chile, with no luck. So instead, I used three green bell peppers and two green chiles leftover from a Thai recipe I made. To add a little extra spice, I threw in a dash of chili powder, but you could use an extra chile or even a jalapeno if you like it spicy! And instead of thickening the chili with a flour/water slurry, I pureed white beans with some of the chili's cooking liquid and let it simmer to thicken. Worked like a charm!

Anyway, I hope a bowl of this chili is as comforting to you as it is to me. Let's get cooking!

Colorado Green Chili [Gluten Free]

Makes 6 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2-1/2 to 3 hours

1-1/2 lbs pork shoulder (also called pork butt) roast, cut into 1-inch cubes

4 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 green peppers
2 mild green chiles
2 white onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
Juice of two limes
1/2 cup white beans

1. Season pork generously with 2 tablespoons cumin powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown pork, remove from Dutch oven and set aside.

2. While the pork browns, prepare your green peppers and chiles for roasting by rinsing them thoroughly. Broil the peppers and chiles in the oven until the skin is blistered and charred. The chiles will blister much quicker than the peppers, so keep an eye on them! Once everything is nice and roasty, place both the peppers and chiles into a heat-safe container, lid on. The heat from the vegetables will continue to steam them, allowing for easier peeling. When the chiles and peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the stems and seeds, and roughly chop the veg.

3. Add onions, garlic, peppers and chiles back to the Dutch oven with a splash of olive oil. Cook vegetables over medium heat until the onions soften and become translucent.

4. Return browned pork to the Dutch oven, along with 3 cups of chicken broth, remaining cumin, lime juice, and salt and pepper, to taste. Bring green chili to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Using a heat-safe measuring glass, remove about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid from the Dutch oven. Add the cooking liquid and 1/2 cup of white beans to a blender, pureeing until beans are smooth and creamy. Add back to Dutch oven.

5. Simmer the green chili on low for about 3 hours, or until pork is fork tender. Serve with your favorite chili accoutrements - I recommend Greek yogurt, cilantro, a squeeze of lime and charred tortillas!