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Wahad
May 19, 2011



Everything by design.


Ah yes, Chili. Potentially the most contentious food, having borne many heated arguments and spicy takes on what is or is not chili. The sandwich state of hotdogs? Get outta here. The best pizza variety? Who cares. Chili is where it's at if you wanna get mad. Thus was borne this contest, to make the chili and decide once and for all what is chili.

Which means we also come to our problem in this entry. I, being a whitebread Dutch man located ~7000 kilometers from the nearest neighborhood chili cookoff, have not really ever tried to make "real" chili. Oh, sure, we get ready-made spice packets for chili con carne here, with Hamburger Helper style instructions to brown off some ground beef, add a tin of beans and a tin of tomatoes, and make yourself a mediocre meal. The Dutch truck in stews, certainly, but they are not good at all with the spice generally speaking, so they are more wine or beer based than chili based. I had to order my peppers specifically from a specialty shop that only grows peppers (whatever else you might say of the Dutch, we do farming well enough), because I could really only find Thai Birds' Eye chilis and regular jalapenos in the store. So to make a chili, we must first answer the question in the title.

What's Chili, Precious?

Dictonary.com states:

quote:

Sometimes chilˇe . a hearty stew that is also used as a topping condiment on other dishes and has varied recipes and ingredients, with or without meat, ultimately derived from the Mexican-style chili con carne.

A fine definition, but a little vague. Let's see if we can try to narrow that down a little.

Merriam-Webster comes in with the following:

quote:

2: a thick sauce of meat and chilies
" // liked to cover her spaghetti with red chili "

Leaving aside the questionable nature of that example sentence, we are now defining chili as a sauce, rather than a stew. However, we can see that meat and chilies are involved. So far, so good.

Finally, we turn to the Cambridge English Dictionary (because it's free, whereas the Oxford one is behind a paywall):

quote:

a spicy dish of meat, onions, chillies or chilli powder, and usually beans

Well! We now come to the crux of the issue. Meat, onions, and some form of chilies are involved. Beans are optional.

So, we need meat, onions, and chilies. Probably some herbs and spices and/or some other flavorings. And the end result has to be thick enough to be considered a stew at least, potentially a sauce, and has to be spicy.

Thus, my entry:


Chile Verde with Pork Shoulder, Pickled Onions and Sour Cream

Let's start by meeting our aforementioned defintions. For the meat, take a 1200g hunk of boneless pork shoulder. For the chilies, take about 500g of Poblanos and a few jalapenos for added heat. Onions are present in two forms, both red and white. But a chile verde is not just named so because of the green chilies, but also because of the tomatillos, or green tomatoes, weighing in at about a kilo. Other flavorings: garlic, cumin, oregano, cilantro and coriander, and some sour cream and lime for toppings.


Start by trimming and chunking your pork shoulder. Half way through, remember you actually wanted to pickle the red onions first so they can soak up the flavor, so slice those up, add a pinch of salt and dunk 'em in some red wine vinegar, of which you belatedly realize you don't quite have enough for two onions, and resolve to occasionally stir up the bowl so that all your slices get pickled.


Continue chunking your meat, then pre-heat the broiler on your oven because you don't have a gas stove. Half your poblanos, remove stems and seeds, and put 'em under the broiler until they look somewhat like this (about fifteen minutes):


Dunk them in a bowl and cover it so they can steam, while you prep your jalapenos, tomatillos and garlic - toss it in some oil with a bit of salt, line your only baking sheet with foil after it's cooled down enough, and under the broiler they go for about the same amount of time.


At this point, most recipes call for a food processor or blender, which you don't have. So remove the skin on your poblanos and chop them up, along with the jalapenos, and toss them in a pan with the garlic. Take your immersion blender and chunk it up a bit more. Add your tomatillos, crush them with the back of a spoon to spread it out a little, then realize they have softened enough and dunk in the rest and let the immersion blender take care of the rest. Puree it until it looks something like this, then realize you still needed to add the cilantro, chop some up roughly and toss it in to puree more.


Time to get to the meat of the matter. Preheat your oven at a low temperature of 110C because you're not American, and start browning off the cubed pork in a Dutch oven on some high heat. Do this in batches, so that you can take the time to brown things, but be lazy and don't brown every square inch 'coz it's gonna cook down a lot anyway.


Once the last of your pork is browned, add it all back to the pan and throw in your diced white onions (did you remember to dice those? Yes, you did. Good job.) to cook off for a little while, until they're softened and a little bit browned because you're still working on high heat. Add in your cumin (3tsp), coriander (1tsp) and oregano (...probably a little less than a tablespoon, you didn't really measure that one) and cook it off until things start smelling really nice. Boil some water to get some bouillon cubes dissolved in to make about a liter's worth of chicken stock, and add it to the pork and onions with the pureed tomatillo/chili mixture. Stir it through, taste, add some salt and pepper.


Put it in the oven and forget about it for like three hours. Take a break. Play some games. Do a laundry. Remember to stir your pickling onions once because you're forgetful like that. Then, after three hours, check the meat. Is it tender enough to pull apart with some forks? Not quite, so put it back for like another half-hour. Put the meat in a bowl and the dutch oven on a stove top to reduce the sauce some, 'coz it's still a little bit liquid-y. Start shredding your pork, then remember you still gotta put some rice with that. Pull out your rice cooker, wash the rice, add water, and let it go while you shred your meat and reduce your sauce, until the end result looks something like this, at which point you can add the rest of your cilantro.


Plate it up with some of the rice, pickled onions, sour cream and some lime wedges. Eat up while your pictures upload to imgur. Realize your final plating picture is blurry because you were impatient. Write a post.


Be satisfied with the end result. There's a nice kick of heat without being overwhelming, the meat is tender and savory, and there's a nice sour tang to cut through things with the toppings. Add in a disclaimer that yes, you mostly followed J. Kenji López-Alt's recipe but with a few changes here in and there that you cobbled from other recipes. But hey, a chili's a chili. Even if it's green.

EDIT:
Remember belatedly you have to justify why this chili is the best chili as part of the rules. Well, the aforementioned disclaimer of it being a slightly-altered Food Lab recipe is a good start. Secondly, there is no question of beans in a Chile Verde, thereby allowing you to neatly sidestep the argument on whether or not there are beans in a chili. Third, it's comfort food that warms the body and soul because you spent all day cooking in cold and dark times, and what's better than that?

Wahad fucked around with this message at 17:56 on Oct 25, 2020

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The Glumslinger
Sep 24, 2008

Coach Nagy, you want me to throw to WHAT side of the field?




Hair Elf

That looks really delcious

marshalljim
Mar 6, 2013

yospos


Looks great. In addition to being a strong ICSA entry, that has to put you in the running for the 2020 Dutch National Chili Championship.

Doll House Ghost
Jun 18, 2011



Are tomatillos easy to acquire in the Netherlands? I live a few countries up north and only found them in single Mexican grocery store (coincidentally the only Mexican grocery store in the whole country) and they were eyewateringly expensive. Which sucks, because I really like their flavour and would like to make my own salsa verde.

Wahad
May 19, 2011



Everything by design.


Doll House Ghost posted:

Are tomatillos easy to acquire in the Netherlands? I live a few countries up north and only found them in single Mexican grocery store (coincidentally the only Mexican grocery store in the whole country) and they were eyewateringly expensive. Which sucks, because I really like their flavour and would like to make my own salsa verde.

I bought the tomatillos with the poblanos and the jalapenos at the aforementioned specialty shop. Altogether (500g poblanos and jalapenos each, 1kg tomatillos) cost me 20 bucks. So...no, not quite easy to acquire, but that's what the internet is for.

Eat This Glob
Jan 14, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

I have never seen chili with rice, but I'd gently caress with this dutchman's take on chili verde! Well done!

feedmegin
Jul 30, 2008




Eat This Glob posted:

I have never seen chili with rice, but I'd gently caress with this dutchman's take on chili verde! Well done!

Dunno about the Netherlands, but when supermarkets first started marketing this exotic 'chili' stuff to the UK in the 50s as a ready meal, it was always, always served on a bed of plain white rice. Not sure why. It was very confusing when I first moved to America.

Eat This Glob
Jan 14, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

There are parts of the US that serves cinnamon rolls with chili (iowa and nebraska, maybe others?), so I know there certainly are regional eccentricities.

Wahad
May 19, 2011



Everything by design.


feedmegin posted:

Dunno about the Netherlands, but when supermarkets first started marketing this exotic 'chili' stuff to the UK in the 50s as a ready meal, it was always, always served on a bed of plain white rice. Not sure why. It was very confusing when I first moved to America.

It's partially this, and partially because it makes the meal easier to consume than with Kenji's suggestion of a tortilla.

Scientastic
Mar 1, 2010

TRULY scientastic.


Lovely, I really love the colour combination of the chili verde and the pickled onion.

Guildenstern Mother
Mar 31, 2010

Why walk when you can ride?

I know exactly the recipe you're talking about and I've made it so many times I could probably talk someone through it through a zoom meeting I wasn't actually participating in. Its my lazy night dinner but I might retry it in your less lazy way with the roasted peppers.

Wahad posted:

Secondly, there is no question of beans in a Chile Verde, thereby allowing you to neatly sidestep the argument on whether or not there are beans in a chili.

Also I'm not sure there's much chance that we get a better argument than this one

Guildenstern Mother fucked around with this message at 06:03 on Oct 29, 2020

field balm
Feb 5, 2012



Looks great! I've never had chilli verde so will have to try out this recipe sometime.

Eat This Glob posted:

There are parts of the US that serves cinnamon rolls with chili (iowa and nebraska, maybe others?), so I know there certainly are regional eccentricities.

That sounds kinda amazing in a disgusting way. Will add it to the list of artery clogging things I want to eat when I eventually travel to America.

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oscarthewilde
May 16, 2012


I would often go there
To the tiny church there


looking really good, especially for if you're in the netherlands and used to whatever passes for chili over here. As a fellow dutchman, i make this weird chili-analogue, my own spin on this god-awful Jamie Oliver recipe, that tastes pretty good but would probably get me tarred and feathered by the whole darn town if i ever tried to make it in Texas or something. i still really wanna try making a real chili, but i'm a bit skint and the peppers are a bit too expensive for my blood so that hasn't happened yet. I'm actually growing my own peppers specifically for making chili someday, probably gotta wait till next summer tho.

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