Award Winning Pork Chili Verde Recipe

Award Winning Pork Chili Verde Recipe

Last Updated on by Adrienne

What is Pork Chili Verde?

Pork Chili Verde is a delicious stew made of slow-cooked pork, peppers, tomatillos and spices.


The traditional recipe for Chili Verde comes from Mexico and, some say, the Southwest. “Verde” is Spanish for Green – and this dish is filled with tasty peppers, herbs and spices.


Some of the basics of Pork Chili Verde

Also, sometimes you might see the word spelled “Chile” not “Chili.”


I use “Chili” here because it is the Americanized version and more familiar to readers.


But keep in mind that chili Verde is not a green version of the better known red chili.


This authentic Chili Verde recipe is made with meaty pork that softens to melt in your mouth, a combination of peppers – mostly ones that aren’t hot – and delicious smoky spices in a rich, savory chicken stock base.

What makes this an “Award-Winning” Chili Verde?


The story goes like this – my husband was running for office and we planned to attend an event in a nearby city. It was an all-day event that included a duck hunting competition and paired with a chili cook-off.


Since we were going to be there for the whole day anyway, we entered the competition. 


This was my first attempt at chili competition cooking. I had entered a couple of recipe contests, but this was live cooking. I wasn’t really scared, but I had no idea what to expect.



Of course I make red chili, but I don’t have a special recipe – not anything that I thought would be competition worthy. How would I make an impression over 20 other bowls of red, tomato chili?


So for us to stand out, I settled on Chili Verde. I had made it at home with good results and after a little internet search, saw that all the REALLY BIG chili competitions had a special category for Chili Verde.


WE WON THIRD PLACE! We had a great day and it was lots of fun…(and, he won the election 3 months later!)

Chili Verde thickened with a cornstarch slurry

Pork Chili Verde

5 from 1 vote


  • Slow Cooker


  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds pork, cut into 1 ½" pieces pork shoulder, pork butt, country-style ribs
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp dried oregano Mexican preferred
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 10 fresh tomatillos
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded
  • 1 poblano chile pepper, seeded
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, packed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 ½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, cut to 1" - 1½" chunks If desired
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnishing
  • pickled red onion if desired


  • Heat vegetable oil in a pot over high heat until it's very hot. Add the pork cubes, leaving space between the cubes and in a single layer. Sear pork for three to five minutes, turning with tongs to brown on the other side. Work in batches until all pork is browned.
  • With all the browned pork in the pan, add onion and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, about three to five minutes, Add oregano, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Stir and cook until seasonings get fragrant then reduce the heat to low.
  • Remove the paper husk from all of the tomatillos. Rinse any sticky residue from the tomatillos and cut into quarters. Into the blender or food processor add garlic, jalapeno, poblano, cilantro, and chicken broth. Pulse on and off until pieces start to break down and you can blend until liquified.
  • Add browned meat, blended vegetables, 1 teaspoon salt and bay leaf. Cover and turn cooker to high.
  • Cook 1 ½ hours (maintaining a slow, steady simmer) If you are using potatoes, add them with ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper. If the mix has reduced where the stock doesn't cover the potatoes, add enough to cover. (As always with a slow cooker, remove the top for only enough time to add ingredients. It takes a while to come back up to temperature.)
  • Simmer until meat and potatoes are tender, about another 1 ½ - 2 hours.

How Can I Thicken My Chili Verde?


Since Chili Verde is something between a soup and a stew, the final thickness really depends upon your own preference. Several cooking choices will change your final result, like:


  • Amount of Chicken Stock used
  • Using Potatoes – I sometimes leave out the potatoes strictly because we watch our starchy foods (carbs), but the starch from the potatoes will help to thicken the broth.
  • Total amount of water in your fresh vegetables – the recipe calls for 10 tomatillos. Tomatillos aren’t all the exact same size, so there will be more water volume in every different batch. Although it is normally small, there is also water in the fresh peppers.
  • Amount of fat/moisture in pork – this recipe gets lots of flavor from the fat in the pork. (FAT = FLAVOR, always!) But, in the real world, some people will choose a leaner cut of pork, which will decrease the moisture.


An easy way to thicken your chili (really most anything) is with cornstarch. Make a cornstarch slurry – two parts cold liquid, one part cornstarch. Always use cold liquid! Cornstarch will not dissolve in hot liquid and will only coagulate and make a mess. 



How to Cook with Tomatillos

You might be new to cooking with tomatillos, but don’t worry. They are easy to work with!


Tomatillos for the Pork Chili Verde
Tomatillos for the Pork Chili Verde


While tomatoes and both are members of the nightshade family, tomatillos are not green tomatoes.  Green tomatoes are hard, unripe tomatoes that can come from any variety of tomato.


Tomatillos originated in Mexico and they are covered with papery husks. The husks are easy to remove, much easier than something like corn, and after removed, sometimes they leave a little sticky residue that is easily rinsed off.

Slow Cooker Chili Verde 


I like to prep all of my fresh ingredients, do the browning and sauteeing and then put everything in the crockpot to slow simmer.

It smells divine and the pork breaks down into a tender, melt-in-your-mouth bite that only makes you want more..more..more.

You can also make it on the stovetop – it is just not as hands-off.


chili verde prepared in cast iron pot
Making Chili Verde in a Vintage Cast Iron Pot


You can also make it in an InstantPot. Just use your conversion rules to get the timing right.



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