In Texas they have a bowl of red, in Tucson I preferred a bowl of green, chili that is, Chili Verde. Chili Verde is what I make here in Boquete Panama. It takes a little work to find all the ingredients in Chiriqui, but for me it is comfort food and worth the effort.
My Chili Verde does not win any prizes but I like it and it can be done with almost entirely local ingredients. This is not exactly the same as what I prepared for the Buenos Vecinos event, nor is it traditional, but it is my preferred method using what we have available here way south of Arizona.
Boquete Chili Verde con Puerco, the recipe, not the picture, I forgot to take a picture.
Scaled for 8 servings mas o menos
1.o kilo of Carne Lisa, boneless pork, usually from the leg, they say. Cubed in 1 cm cubes. I ground it for the cook off, but cubed is much better.
8 poblano chiles, fresh, usually at Super Baru or Romero, San Mateo in David. You can substitute canned green chiles if you can find them. I buy these when they have them, roast, skin and freeze for when I want them. The level of heat varies a great deal with the local Poblanos but they tend toward mild. You can kick it up with a couple of chopped Jalapeños which you can usually find in the same places.
1 -2 Tbs lard or if you insist vegetable oil
1 large onion chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1tsp of cumin
4 chopped Culantro leaves (Cilantro is good too)
1 can 15oz of cubed tomatoes, drained or better some blanched, skinned roma tomatoes, remove the seeds and cube.
200 grams mas o menos of tomatillos, chopped fine or pureed, hard to find here, in a pinch use a can of green mexican salsa, I do.
A six pack of Balboa or other lager, don’t waste the dark beer on this, drink it instead.
some flour as needed
some corn meal, I like the Arepas corn meal because I have it in the house.
Ok the fun starts now
You need to fire roast the chilies, here are a few techniques.
1. Using insulated thongs hold them over a gas flame, rotating until charred evenly and then put them into a covered heatproof ceramic or glass container and cover adding them until all are done.
2. Put them on a tray under a broiler, turning as needed to char and them, then put them into a covered heatproof ceramic or glass container and cover adding them until all are done.
Let them sit until cold and the skin will come off easily. Wash and removed stems and seeds.
Chop the chilies and if you have a food processor turn half into a pulp, leave half chopped.
Next heat up a heavy dutch oven or a big heavy frying pan with a lid on the stove, add the lard and then the pork chunks. You want to brown the pork so if necessary do it in batches. Remove the pork and add the onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent but not brown. Then add enough flour to absorb the lard and cook a little more to cook the flour.
Return the pork and any juices from the pork. Add the tomatillos, cumin, culantro, the chile both the puree and chopped and one can of beer, less the can of course. Open a second beer for consumption because this is hard work.
Cover and simmer until the pork is falling apart. I like to use a pressure cooker because I hate waiting, usually about 30 minutes of pressure works vs. hours of simmering on a stove and that way I still have some beer left for dinner. Or you can use a crock pot and lament the long term delay in eating.
Add salt to taste and enough corn meal to thicken the sauce. The corn meal adds a pleasing texture. The beer adds flavor and drinking it makes the entire experience worth doing, over and over.
Break out the tortillas or serve over rice and enjoy with any remaining beer.