Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Tale of Two Chile Verdes

I'll never forget the first time I ever made Chile Verde. We were having a cowboy-themed chili dinner for the volunteers at my work, and I was making the vegetarian option. I followed the recipe from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons (see My Favorite Cookbooks) to the letter. I soaked navy beans overnight and cooked them for hours. I roasted three kinds of chili peppers on my barbecue grill. Husked and chopped fresh tomatillos...

I couldn't think of anything better than getting my boss to pay me to make chili, and to manage a party. It was awesome!

And the results were pretty amazing, too. At the end of the evening, I was excited to see about three cups of verde left in the bottom of the crockpot - since I hadn't stopped 'managing' or socializing long enough to eat any myself. Then my boss decided to be helpful cleaning up the kitchen. She scooped the verde into a container, and then poured the leftover beef chili ON TOP. I almost cried.

Anyway, I've never followed the recipe so meticulously since...but it's still damn good chili. I like to tell people it is award-winning. Because it is. It came in third place at the Utah Hispanic Democratic Caucus Chile Verde Cook-off a few years ago. I placed behind the organizer's father's entry and Peter Corroon's - but Peter's wife made his entry and she told me she liked mine better, ha ha!

So, here is the Liz' Veggie Verde "Shortcut Version"
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped finely
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 29-oz. can of white mexican style hominy, drained and rinsed well
2 15-oz. cans of small white beans, drained and rinsed well
2 7-oz. cans of diced roasted green chiles
2 fresh annaheims
1 fresh jalepeno, seeds removed
2 cups frozen corn
2 small zucchinis, chopped
1 28 oz. can of tomatillos
1 bunch of cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat about ten minutes. Add cans of hominy, beans, and chiles. Chop and add annaheims and jalepeno, if using. Add  just enough water to cover everything. Simmer about 45 minutes or until the hominy is edible :-) (The canned hominy has a chalky texture until it is cooked well enough.) Add corn and zucchini and cook until done, about five minutes (until they are no longer frozen and/or crunchy).

Put the cilantro, including stems, and tomatillos in a food processor or blender. (Adjust amount of cilantro according to your cilantro addiction.)

Add cilantro nectar, lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir well and serve with guacamole, sour cream, cheese and tortillas or tortilla chips

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