I had never heard of green chili stew until I moved to Colorado. I'd seen those small, 4-ounce cans of green chiles for making casseroles and enchiladas, but I couldn't imagine using enough of them to make an entire stew with just chiles. The first Costco I went to in Denver had gigantic, 40-ounce jars of green chiles, and the freezer section of every grocery store was lined with frozen Hatch chiles. Clearly, this was a thing out here!
The version of green chile stew I make at home was taught to me by my husband, who was born and raised in Colorado. He grew up calling it pork green chili, where it was usually served in a bowl with a side of tortillas. It can also be used to smother just about everything. If you've never enjoyed a wet burrito covered with green chili (instead of eaten out of hand like a Chipotle burrito), you don't know what you're missing. This magical stew can also be ladled over eggs, nachos, tots, or baked potatoes.
Our recipe makes about a gallon of green chile stew, but feel free to freeze the extras. Freeze it in 16- or 32-ounce containers and thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Use it within six months for best quality.
What Goes In Green Chile Stew
The major ingredient in green chili stew is green chiles. There are several different varieties of green chilies, ranging from mild Poblano and Anaheim peppers to spicy jalapenos. Green chili stew uses green chiles grown in New Mexico that range from mild to spicy depending on the variety. They may be labeled Hatch or Big Jim.
Our green chile stew also includes pork, flour, onions, spices, chicken stock, and a can of fire-roasted tomatoes. You'll also find potatoes on the ingredients list of most New Mexico green chile stew recipes, so we included an option to add the potatoes at the end. Adding potatoes makes the stew heartier while leaving them out makes it easier to use the stew for preparing wet burritos. We love it both ways, so play around with it to see which you prefer!
How do You Thicken Green Chile Stew
There are two ways to thicken this green chile stew. Our preferred method is to use flour. We usually coat the pork chunks with flour, which helps them brown and creates fond (browned bits) on the bottom of the pan. This not only thickens the stew as it simmers, but it also adds a ton of flavor to the stew itself.
To make a gluten-free green chile stew, feel free to omit the flour. The stew still tastes great when the pork chunks are tossed with salt alone. After the stew has finished cooking, whisk 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water. Stir it into the stew and simmer for 5 minutes, until thickened. Keep in mind that cornstarch doesn't freeze well (it becomes slimy in the freezer), so you may want to use a cornstarch substitute like arrowroot if you plan on freezing excess green chili.
Green Chile Stew Substitutions
As we mentioned in the last section, this recipe can easily become gluten-free by swapping cornstarch for the flour. It's also naturally dairy-free, so long as you don't add the optional sour cream garnish at the end.
We love the pork in green chile stew, but we often modify the recipe to make it vegetarian when we're serving a crowd with mixed dietary needs. The first time we took out the pork, we were certain it wouldn't taste as good, but we were surprised at how satisfying the stew was without any meat at all. Simply start the recipe by sauteing the onions in olive oil with the flour and use a flavorful vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth. Sometimes, we'll throw two pounds of quartered crimini mushrooms into the stew to give it a meaty texture.
Green Chile Stew Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 pounds pork shoulder cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1 40-ounce jar diced green chilis
- 1 14.5-ounce jar fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 large russet potatoes cut into 1/2-inch cubes (optional)
- sour cream for garnish
- lime wedges for garnish
- cilantro for garnish
- flour tortillas for serving
- In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Mix together the flour and salt.
- Coat the pork cubes in the flour mixture and add the pork to the pan, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in two or three batches. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes a side and flip until the pork is browned on all sides. Remove the pork and set aside.
- Add the onions to the pan, scraping the bottom to remove any browned bits. Cook for 5 minutes, until softened.
- Add the garlic, oregono, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add pork back to the pan and add 1/4 of the chicken broth, scraping the bottom to release the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Add the remaining chicken broth, green chilis, and tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil before reducing the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours, partially covered, until the pork is tender. Larger pieces of pork will take longer to become tender.
- If using the potatoes, add them for the last 30 minutes.
- Ladle the green chile stew into individual bowls and serve with sour cream, lime, and cilantro. Serve with flour tortillas on the side.
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