Welcome to week 38 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome Colorado, who joined the union on August 1, 1876. The area was first explored by Europeans in the late 1500s (Spaniards referred to the region as “Colorado” for its red-colored earth). It was part of the land given to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War.
First, thank you for waiting until Wednesday! I had my one year post cancer testing this week and it really just wipes you out. Two injections to make me super hypo-thyroid (ie. total exhaustion), followed by a tracer dose of radioactive iodine, then multiple scans in the nuclear lab. Not fun, but the good news is that I have no signs of any thyroid cells or cancer! Yay! I am officially one year clean, post treatment. Only four more until they can say I am cancer free.
Ok, back to Colorado. An interesting fact…In 1972, Colorado rejected the International Olympic Committee’s invitation to host the 1976 Winter Olympic Games. Voters rejected the use of state taxes to finance the games. It is the only state ever to reject an invitation by the IOC to be a host of the Olympics.
When it came to finding a recipe, I had some limitations due to the low iodine diet I was on for my testing. Since I was not allowed eggs, processed meats or cheese, the Denver Omelet was out. But who wanted me to make a Denver Omelet anyway? What I did find was an interesting dish that seems to be very popular and widespread in the state, although I honestly cannot give you a back story as to where it came from. It is called Colorado Green Chili, and it gets its name from the use of tomatillos and peppers as key ingredients. It is also a pork based chili and uses a stew cut, never ground.
I found hundreds of different recipes online; some very complicated and many that used prepared tomatillo salsa. Since prepared products were a no-no for me (due to unknown iodized salt content), and complicated recipes were not in par with my energy level, I decided to take the best of several different recipes, combine them with several homemade tomatillo salsa recipes, and come up with my own version.
The result was a really tasty, on the verge of too spicy soup-like dish. I really liked it, but Josh thought it was a little too hot for his liking. The consistency was a little too thin to hold up against the chunks of meat, but my side dish of black beans and rice was quickly mixed into the chili and made it perfect. The addition of the beans and rice added the starchiness it needed to create the right liquid to solid ratio. I don’t think I would add the rice and beans directly to the chili if I made it again. I sort of liked adding it table side until it got to your personal consistency.
So again, sorry for being tardy. I think the recipe is still well worth it, even if it is a day late. If anyone knows the story of this dish, please let me know. It seems to be too popular to not have a good story behind it.
Thanks Colorado. See you all next week in North Dakota!
Recipe for Colorado Green Chili
For the tomatillo salsa:
2 red onions, chopped
1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved
2 jalapeno peppers
1 poplano pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup fresh cilantro, removed from stems
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
juice of ½ lime
½ teaspoon oregano
For the chili
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with juices
3 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon oregano
pinch of clove
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup masa flour mixed with ½ cup water (optional)
Preheat oven to 450°F.
In a large bowl, toss the onions, tomatillos, jalapenos, poplano, and garlic with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring twice during roasting, until the tomatillos and peppers are charred, softened, and oozing juices.
Stem and seed the peppers.
Add all the vegetables to a blender, along with their juices. Blend until smooth. Add in the cilantro, cumin, white pepper, salt, lime juice and oregano. Pulse to combine. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Season the pork with salt and pepper, and then brown it in the oil until browned on all sides, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatillo salsa, broth, tomatoes, oregano and clove and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, then reduce to medium-low, cover and simmer for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If you prefer a thicker soup, add the masa flour/water mixture in the last 10 minutes of cooking to thicken it.
Adjust your seasoning with salt and pepper.