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3 Dec

pastured lard …which is precisely what I am right now. A big, fat tub of lard. Actually, butter. Full of buttermash (mashed potatoes with so much butter, er, strike that, reverse it) and buttery pumpkin pie crust. Oh god it was the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever eaten. And now, here I am, in the throes of the dreaded holidays. Ugh, what a lady I just sounded like. Excuse me while I snack on my red velvet Yoplait 100 calorie snack cup.
pastured pork fat I really have been meaning to post about lard for a while. I remember the first time I made years ago it seemed to be one of those nebulous if-your-grandma-didn’t-teach-you-you’re-screwed kind of activities. Like seasoning cast iron pans. Every dumb blog out there had a different way of making it with all these hard and fast rules with no reasoning or explanation behind them. It’s really kinda stupid…it’s just getting fat rendered from fat. Ha, wtf. I don’t know how to say that. Fat from fat. Yeah. Okay. But you’ve all done it. You’ve all made bacon. The only thing with lard is that you don’t probably want to render it as quickly as you do bacon fat. You can, but if you want white, not super porky-flavored lard, then do it slow.
pastured pork fat

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thai-esque spareribs

9 Nov

thai paleo spareribsI no longer feel comfortable calling something this generic Thai, after having made several recipes out of Ricker’s Pok Pok. I just kinda feel like a dumb wife saying “oooh honey, I made Thai food tonight”, when all the dumb wife did was use ginger powder, soy sauce, and green onions. Not that that is this recipe, but you know. But considering my week, these are great.
thai marinade ingredientsI don’t really want to rehash, as I have way too many times in my head, but I got in a car-bike accident. Me on the bike. All I can think about is all the things I could have done differently, but I can’t let myself do that. I can’t even think about how lucky I am to have just bruises and scrapes and bumps and probably a concussion. It makes my heart pound and chest get all tight. Suffice it to say, I gotta be better about wearing my dumb helmet. And I gotta not bike like I drive, which I shouldn’t drive like to begin with. It was the driver’s fault, but ultimately I really only take away from the event that I won’t ever win against a car. Fuck.
pasture pork spareribs

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27 Oct

paleo thai larb laarb laabLarb. Doesn’t sound so great in English. I considered titling this “laab” instead, since I’ve seen it like that before and laab just sounds so delightfully ethnic. And don’t you just feel sooo worldly and good about yourself when you eat delightfully ethnic food from oh-aren’t-they-quaint Southeast Asian cultures? It’s almost like being a do-gooder. Larb, on the other hand, sounds like an off-brand lard product, dusty cans of which line the shelves of shitty Tex-Mex restaurant kitchens. It’s not. It’s just a rather wonderfully seasoned herb-y pork-y salad that you’ve probably gotten a dozen times before and it’s all old hat. Yeah yeah, but it’s just so fun to make. So easy and I still am impressed every time I make it, or whatever variation on it. I like being impressed.
grinding toasted rice powder mortar pestle measuring toasting sticky rice I have two furry fleabags in the house. I just knew they’d get fleas. One of them escapes periodically and couldn’t be out for more than like 30 minutes before he comes back crying and flinging himself at the door. Not even 30 minutes most times. And it’s like two times per week maybe. Crap! They do go outside on the second story balcony but, but that can’t be possible for them to get fleas up there, right?! I don’t want to give them medicine wahhhh. I might try flea combing every day for a week or something and see if that helps, along with vacuuming a lot. Blast. Anyone want to come visit?? Hi!!
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coconut-braised pork shoulder

23 Apr

paleo coconut braised malaysian pork It’s done. We’re off to San Antonio. I can’t really believe it. I’m…I’m going to be a Texan. An upstate New Yorker, a Massachusettsan, a Coloradan, a Texan. Right now I’m excited about Joe having a really awesome job that will let me work more on my own crap, perpetual summer, a never ending growing season, throwing a quarter of our shit away when we pack, having a house that I can clean every surface of before moving our stuff in. So that leaves the stuff I’m not so excited about: leaving the mountains right when I am just dying to go backpacking, driving with two yowling, frothing-at-the-mouth cats, packing, loading, driving, driving, unpacking, perpetual summer, leaving a really cool burgeoning food and beer scene, leaving my new gym, leaving my wonderful friends. It’s going to be really sad. What kind of people am I going to meet there? What do they like to do?
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pork neck bones with sauerkraut

14 Mar

paleo pork neck bones and sauerkrautMy trip to New York City nearly killed me with a flake of puff pastry. I hadn’t even had puff pastry in so stinking long and then I like breathed in a litte flake and it flapped over my trachea. Like a vacuum seal. It was the worst. I’d like to say my life flashed before my eyes, but instead I just kept thinking how much I just wanted to be able to freaking breathe. My memory is terrible anyway. Well, I probably have that little pastry flake still in my lungs, because I breathed again. Wait, in a month or something I’ll get some sort of lung rot from the putrified puff pastry residing in there. At least I got to have a wonderful time and was able to eat some pretty great food. And Samantha found a glorious wedding dress.
colorado pork shareSlow-cooked collagen is glorious in its melting rubber texture. That’s the best description I could come up with. I wish toothsome was the right word. If I could redefine toothsome, it’d be to mean the texture of slow-cooked collagen. It’s kinda like melty halloumi. But without the squeakiness. Kind of. I don’t know. It’s good though. And a spine, just like oxtail, has amble amounts of it.
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country style pork ribs confit

23 Jan

paleo crispy pork confitI thought I had the flu. I self-righteously didn’t get the flu shot. I would have gotten so scolded. Turns out that it wasn’t the flu, but perhaps a case of food poisoning? Or just some weird bug? I had eaten at Jonesy’s EatBar – shrimp, on a Monday. What an idiot. I didn’t have to read Kitchen Confidential to know better than that, but I just forgot. But really, they shouldn’t be serving me fish old enough to make me feel like death. I often knowingly choose to eat questionable food, but thoroughly questionable I’m kinda pissed about. Besides, just because I’m lazy and eat questionable food myself doesn’t mean that I want to go to a restaurant and pay out the nose for questionable food. I will forgo that place from here on out. It was nice knowing you Jonesy’s.
pastured country style ribs crushed spices January Whole30: totally failed. The other two times I’ve done it, I didn’t even come close to failing. It was easy, I felt great, I didn’t even want to stop. But this month, I wasn’t in the right mindset and all my excuses seemed really viable in that state. Bleh. At least I’m not worse off for the time I did spend doing it. But still, I feel like the worst New Years resolutioner. At least it’s 60 degrees right now. I feel good about that. But I don’t feel good about the boatload of chocolate chips I just ate. Dammit.
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polish cabbage rolls

6 Nov

paleo golabki polish cabbage rollI can’t call this gołąbki because I felt like I sufficiently interpreted these such that I might get chided by a Pole. Namely, in that I didn’t include rice. Next time I will, I swear (but these are so good I’m not sure I want to change them…). I’ll try to make my grandma proud. I also feel funny because I’m no expert in Polish cuisine – it’s not exactly the most popular ethnic cuisine, with hipsters flocking to little holes-in-the-wall to debate the best pierogi in town. There are actually kind of a few restaurants here, but I haven’t made my way over to them yet. Most of them look kinda crappy. Like, trying to be cool when it’d just be better to be a no frills, oblivious to modern tastes kinda place and have really good, all homemade food. Ugh, that reminds me of a Mexican restaurant nearby that has an ADA-certifited heart-healthy menu or some junk. Stay the hell away from that place. Growing up, my mom used to make gołąbki all the time, but I was a kid and I was picky and I didn’t eat anything that wasn’t Polly-O string cheese. So, I’m kind of starting from scratch here, with nothing much to compare to. I’ve mostly seen these little pigeons (that’s what gołąbki means) with a tomato sauce, but both Polish cookbooks I have seemed to be sauce-ambivalent and said you could serve it with a number of sauces. So, I picked a mushroom sauce because I’ve been in the mood for mushrooms lately. Again, it’s interpreted – I didn’t want to use cream. If you happen to be Polish (or another Eastern European) and make these – what sauce do you like to make for them?
cored cabbage blanched cabbage leafboiled cabbage Continue reading

roasted poblano pork burgers with pipián

11 Jun

Oh hi! Hi!! I’m back from the Southwest. What a freaking trip. I can’t believe that I was waffling on it. Yeah, 10 days was a long time; I’m such a homebody. If I could have brought my cats along I would have been 100% happy. Hiker cats. But wow was it worth it. Now, I am obsessed with ancient Puebloan Indians. And the Fremont Indians. OBSESSED. I want to start growing heritage varieties of corn. And squash. And beans. And just to diversify my Native peoples interests a bit, all manner of ancient potato varietals. And more importantly, I want to scout out ruins and petroglyphs and pottery. All off the beaten path. Bushwhacking (cactus whacking?) please. I found this woman’s blog and we followed her instructions to this one hike up the Vermillion Cliffs near Kanab, UT (not the ones in AZ). Easily the most wonderful hike I’ve ever done – it was full of petroglyphs and pictographs and dinosaur prints, not to mention gorgeous red rock cliffs. Oh yeah, and lots of mountain lion poop. EEK.
Needless to say, I’m in the mood for Southwestern-y food. Loosely defined. I kept wanting to pick cactus leaves (leaves?) and bring them back to our little condo and cook them. Instead we ate out like every night. Barf. I can not handle that. My stomach feels so terrible doing that so often. It didn’t help that one of the people we were with has megasweettooth. And if someone says “ice cream!”, I can’t help myself. So much ice cream that week. I have megasweettooth, too… Coming home means that I can get back into the swing of cooking all of my meals. God I love that. And what a welcome surprise it was to come home to all sorts of produce in my (completely overgrown with weeds) garden! Arugula, mesclun greens, baby swiss chard (too big to be microgreens), radishes and their greens. So wonderful. I’m concerned about all the peppers I planted… I have a bad feeling I may have picked any little seedlings when I’ve weeded. I think the dirt I got from the fix and flip house two doors down was completely full of weeds. Duh, I guess. So the garden has been absolutely ridden with weeds and I’ve been trying to pull them all to give the little veggie seedlings a fighting chance, but I’m afraid I may have picked the pepper seedlings, since they’re kind of indistinguishable. Not sure. They do take a long time to sprout, but ugh. I’ll probably have to buy plants.
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turnip and pork hash

3 Feb

I’m torn about saying this, but it’s not root vegetable season anymore. Winter squashes are long done. In another month or so it’ll be time to start thinking about spring-y stuff. I’m torn because I know that once I admit that heavy vegetables are all coming from like Mexico and that I need to stop making them, I’ll inevitably want to move on to spring before realizing that ugh, it’s March, and the weather isn’t anywhere near warm. So here is an unabashed embrace of all things root. Specifically turnips. It’s not the most attractive dish. It kind of looks like barf when you’re done. Shut up and put a fried egg on top and you’ll be fine.
There was a time a few months back when I was obsessed with hashes. I basically ate some for every meal for like three weeks straight. They make you stink like onions and grease. Small price to pay for eating crispy, sweet browned onions and potatoes, other ingredients optional. I’d be sufficiently happy to eat that with eggs for the rest of my life I think. But, I guess that’d be pretty lame and I like to think I’m pretty unlame and food cool. Seriously food cool. You know I’m really into avocado foam-frosted localorganicwhenpossible ground beef cupcakes. That’s my next blog post.
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cuban pork roast + mojo and chimichurri

16 Jan

It’s been a very garlicky weekend. I’m sure I smell great. It’s also been a very Latiny weekend, filled with yuca, chorizo, cilantro (homemade) mayonnaise, mojo, chimichurri, lime, guacamole, plantains, jicama, burro bananas, and of course, this pork. And then there was the decidedly very down home Americana activity of smoking bacon. My lord I love our smoker. Waiting for the pork belly to defrost, then cure, then smoke was 100% worth it. Holy crap. Let the bacon eating commence! Duh, already started. Garlic and applewood smoke. The smells of a very productive, delicious weekend.
I’m a little wary that this dish is just a liiiiiittle too similar to my carnitas post. Not to knock the Cubans (they should be knocked on about everything else except food), but this is a citrusy, crispy, slow-roasted hunk of pork… just, there are no mountains of lard. Which is good because since doing the Whole 30 I’ve been struggling to keep my jars of animal fats filled. Maybe I should get around to clarifying all the butter I have lying around. But really, this is a different dish from carnitas. It’s incredibly lime-y and garlicky and smidge oregano-y.
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8 Aug

Here I go again posting another traditional, iconic recipe. It’s a little nerve-wracking because with recipes like these, opinions run strong, traditions muster up emotions and memories, and you can look like a fool for trying. But I’m pretty obsessed with authentic, uninterpreted ethnic cuisine. I’m so utterly bored with fusion cuisine, modern interpretations of traditional dishes, and recipes simplified for the home cook. I want the real, time-honored recipe. Even if it takes me all day to cook it, that’s what I want to eat. It’s why I have been eyeing making a proper mole for like 5 years, but have yet to make it (yellow mole aside, which I have made and is much simpler by nature). And it’s why I spent a whole week sourcing and rendering enough lard to make carnitas. I’ve made slow-roasted pork before, and it’s wonderful. But it’s not carnitas and I’m not going to call it such. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a-okay with simple recipes. It’s the bulk of what I make. And on a weeknight I’ll make simple versions of complex recipes. They’re weeknight meals. I just want to eat. But I get exceedingly excited about recipes like carnitas, that are slow-cooked in a vat of lard with a host of spices and aromatics and have been perfected by countless Mexican cooks for decades and decades.
Aaaand, after saying all of this, I have to admit, I modified. I just couldn’t render enough lard by the time I absolutely needed to cook the pork shoulder I bought. So defeated. I oven cooked it. Tightly packing a casserole dish was the only way I could cover the pork with the amount of lard I had. But I still cooked it in lard! And that was my goal when making carnitas. It sounds gross, like the lard will permeate the meat and make it super greasy. This isn’t the case at all. If you’re into nerding it up, you can read this fun article on the science of cooking carnitas.
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moroccan pork skewers + grilled eggplant and leeks

9 Jul

Phew. I hate and love being busy. I can’t even remember what happened the last couple weeks. It’s a big blur of “oh crap it’s 11:30pm, I only completed 2 out of 9 to-dos, and I NEED 8 HOURS OF SLEEP TO FUNCTION”. But I haven’t been eating frozen meals or anything. In fact, I have quite the queue of recipes to post. I can’t give up eating at least a couple fun new meals each week, even if I feel pressed for time. And besides, I pretty much only buy what’s on sale, and since that changes from week to week, it’s just begging for me to try out different stuff.

I found this easy recipe in my favorite little tapas cookbook. I got it years ago on clearance at Marshalls. I was skeptical, but for $2 or whatever, who cares. But it’s great! Everything I’ve made from it has been super good. Plus, they have recipes for all sorts of meat parts. Oh, that reminds me! I got a 1960s cookbook at a used bookstore. It was published by the magazine Sunset and its theme is recipes of the world. But the reason I bought it? Because it’s from the 1960s and the ingredients reflect that. Pretty excited to make something from it.

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13 Jun

It’s hard to explain how incredibly excited I was to try my hand at making my own bacon. It’s both olde tymey and delicious. Two descriptions I really happen to like. And it’s really easy to make. Like, so easy I’m not entirely sure why it’s not more common to make your own. It’s not any more complicated than something like marinating meat before cooking it, which people do all the time. I guess the worst part about it is slicing it when you want to eat it, but that’s not even hardly a pain.
And the seasoning possibilities are endless! I stuck to this Saveur recipe (which I was referred to by a post on Robb Wolf’s site) since I’d never done it before and figured I’d let the experts tell me what to do. But I can envision now, spicy chipotle bacon, sage and a touch of cinnamon bacon, BBQ spiced bacon, various kinds of wood smoked bacon… woo! Don’t worry, baconophobes, I don’t eat a stupid amount. It’s tempting, knowing that there are big ol’ slabs of it laying around in your fridge and freezer, but I really like to eat bacon like a treat. I think it’s a vestige of old habits. But I rather like keeping it like a treat, even if I’m not afraid of it anymore. Plus, as far as salt is concerned, it never scared me much, especially after reading Salt: A World History. Not terribly scientific of me, but meh.
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baby back ribs + cherry cabbage slaw

24 May

The rain stopped! Quick, time to grill! Really, it seemed that desperate. Even though it was warm over the weekend, it still kept threatening rain. And as we were putting the final brush of marinade on the ribs the wind starting picking up – kind of scary, even. Rain didn’t come, but it was so menacing! So thank god the weather cooperated and let us make these. Oh man, they were good. I love summer and summer food.
And while I can think of a thousand rebuttals to this, what’s more summery than cherries? I bought so many at the grocery store, it’s a little silly. They were on super sale and I got carried away. Good thing that there are a bunch of cherry recipes in the new Bon Appetit, including a salad with butter lettuce and pan-fried chicken thighs that I’m for sure going to make. Not that I really need help getting rid of them, but hopefully planning recipes will stop me from just eating two pounds of cherries in one sitting. It’s not hard.
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coliflor a la plancha with chorizo

26 Apr

Wondering where I’ve been the past week? Well, I was visiting my friend Samantha in Boston, and eating my body weight in food everyday. I miss that place a whole heck of a lot and it was really fun to go to my old favorite restaurants and jealously try out wonderful, new places. The weather was suitably crappy. Really windy, mostly cold and then rainy as the week progressed. The sun was out just a couple days. I would say that it made it easier to leave, but when my friend and I came back to Denver to finish the vacation, the weather was nearly identical here! Ugh.

Among the wonderful meals at The Abbey, Orinoco, Hungry Mother, Zaftigs, and too many others, the most delicious (as always) was at Toro. It’s a Spanish tapas place in the South End that goes far, far beyond the typical. Yes, you can get patatas bravas and tortilla española, and they’re wonderful there, but you can also get more unusual dishes. Some of the dishes we got were mollejas (sweetbreads with a blood orange sauce), corizon a la plancha (beef heart), and estufada de tripa (an unexpected southeast asian-inspired tripe stew). We also got an unassuming little dish of coliflor a la plancha. We always get it; it’s not super fancy or complicated, but it’s so yummy. “A la plancha” means grilled on a metal plate, basically. So you get a nice, crisp outside to whatever you’re cooking. I’ve roasted cauliflower a whole bunch, but this is slightly different. The cauliflower is cut nice and thin so it cooks through faster, allowing you to get that browning, but also to have it be really tender.

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yucatecan country style pork ribs with pickled onions

11 Apr

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to eat the night before my half marathon. Carbo load with some pasta? I was nervous to do something like that in case I ate too much or it disagreed with me or what have you. I figured that I’d just make something I would normally eat (I mean, I’d run 11 mile training runs with no real thought on food). I did up the carb content, though. I served this dish with tostones (ooh those plantains again!) and arepas. I would rather eat arepas than pasta ANY day. They’re Venezuelan corn cakes, essentially. Oh yum.

The half marathon was brutal. We were running into gusting wind the whole second half of the race. It killed me. Cars get horrible gas mileage when you’re driving into the wind. Same freakin’ thing here. So, I don’t know if I ate the right thing. Maybe pasta would have powered me through. I also don’t think I ate a big enough breakfast. Ugh, so complicated. I averaged 10 minutes per mile. So much slower than I was aiming for. I was doing about 9:30 minute miles on training runs. I was hoping that I could do low 9 minutes for the race. Darn.

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pork chops with cherry rhubarb chutney + mustard greens + herbed roasted sweet potatoes

28 Mar

You probably think I have an obsession with sweet potatoes. I think I might have an obsession with sweet potatoes. I almost didn’t include them in the recipe because I’m getting embarrassed with how often I post them. I swear I don’t eat them every day. But this recipe isn’t about the sweet potatoes. It’s about pork chops and delicious chutney, and mustard greens too. It’s getting to be warm and spring like and rhubarb is one of those quintessential early spring vegetables, along with asparagus and peas. I might have jumped the gun a bit on rhubarb here – the stuff I found at my grocery store didn’t look the best and it was stupid expensive. Still, I got it in my head to use rhubarb because I want it to be spring and $6.99 per pound be damned.

I had a wonderful, lazy Sunday late afternoon making this dinner. I did all my prepping and took my time with making the chutney and took lots of stress-free pictures. That is, until America’s Next Great Restaurant came on. I had tried to time everything so I could watch that stupid show while eating, but it didn’t work. So now you know about my dedication to not only Biggest Loser, but another NBC product placement-laden television show. I like food and I like exercising and I like shows that revolve around them. And I don’t like waiting until the following day and watching it on my computer. I like to watch it on TV. It’s like I’m 65.

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sweet potato and sausage shepherd’s pie

14 Mar

It being almost St. Patrick’s Day, I’m feeling the urge to make some sort of representative dish. I will certainly make corned beef and cabbage on Thursday, but since I’m not corning my own beef, I don’t think that recipe is really blog worthy – “Go to the grocery store, buy some corned beef, cook in a large pot…” I’ve already posted my Colcannon recipe, which I suspect I’ll make this week too. So I thought, well, Shepherd’s Pie is decently Irish enough. I think most people associate England with it, but those Irish make it too. It can also be called Cottage Pie. And since it’s just a dish of meat and potatoes, the variations are endless!

I originally meant to make this even more interesting by adding butternut squash in the potato mash, but when I started to get all of my ingredients together on the counter, I noticed that my butternut squash that had been waiting to be used had gotten soft and wrinkled. And so, rather than having a kitchen meltdown (which I seem to be apt to do), I said, well that’s just fine, the sweet potatoes will be wonderful on their own. Had I had a kitchen meltdown (because I was really looking forward to using butternut squash in this recipe), I think I would have been excused this time. I’m training for a half marathon that’s coming up on April 10th, and I had run 11 miles that afternoon and was pretty hungry for dinner. And since it had been declared, unbeknownst to me, Household Nap Time at around 4:30, I had to patiently wait to go to the grocery store until the two kitties and Joe woke up from their cuddlefest on the couch. (Joe had said he wanted to come to the grocer’s with me – I am capable of doing it myself normally). So around 6:30 we finally ventured out and got our ingredients. So this meant that dinner was ready at almost 10:00. Ugh. I was pretty ready to eat.

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cajun stew

9 Mar

Oh man, this was good. Really, really good. And to top it off, it’s a really good weeknight meal. It’s one of my most favorite kind of recipe – one of those that does not require any prep work because each ingredient’s cooking time allows to you prep the next ingredient. Oh, and it’s a one pot meal. Win!

This recipe is essentially jambalaya, but since there’s no rice in it, I felt I couldn’t call it such. I might get nasty comments about my blasphemy. There is a type of jambalaya where the rice is prepared separately and added upon serving, so I supposed mine is more like that, but still, I’ll just call it stew. It’s got the trinity of onions, peppers, and celery, which is like the mirepoix of Cajun cuisine, and there’s chicken, kielbasa, andouille, bacon, and shrimp. It is as good, and better, as it sounds.

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pork chile verde + ancho chile salsa

16 Feb

I’m sorry if this dish is difficult for some of you to make. I stocked up on green chiles this summer (as everyone in Colorado does) and froze them. So I had New Mexican Hatch chiles at my disposal. If you’re not as lucky to have these covetable chiles in your freezer, you can use Anaheim, which you may not have readily available in your grocery store. A well-stocked one should, but if not, you could use jalapeños, just a bit less. You might also have trouble finding tomatillos in a smaller, less well-stocked grocery store.

Green chile is very different from what most people think of chili. It’s more of a sauce, it has no beans, and it’s always loaded with pork. It’s a big thing here – instead of talking about the place with the best pizza, people talk about the restaurant with the best green chile. You can use it as a sauce or you can eat it from a bowl, which is what I like to do.

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