Winter is chili season, and this week I'm offering a chili change of pace with my Crockpot Chili Verde. Verde means "green" in Spanish, and chili verde contains no tomatoes and usually is a combination of pork, jalape-os and spices. Unlike traditional American chili, my chili verde is not served as a stew, but as a delicious filling for flour tortillas.
The dish starts with a pack of pork tenderloins cut into 1-inch pieces. Pork tenderloin is a very lean cut that stays tender during long, slow cooking. The equivalent amount of lean pork loin can substitute.
The pork is seasoned with salt and pepper, and a can of salsa verde is added. Salsa verde is a combination of tomatillos and green chilies and is slightly spicy - about as hot as medium-heat salsa. You can find this product in the Hispanic section of most supermarkets.
The can of salsa verde is small - just 7 ounces - but it packs enough flavor to season the chili verde when it's prepared in the slow cooker, which produces steam to the stew while it cooks, adding liquid to the ingredients in the cooker.
The chili verde is seasoned with ground cumin and a bit of brown sugar. Just give the ingredients a stir, cover and cook on low for six to eight hours, or on high for four to six hours.
When the chili verde is done, I like to shred it slightly using two forks. Then, serve a bit of the meat in tortillas with traditional Mexican garnishes - a squeeze of lime, a dollop of sour cream and some chopped fresh cilantro. Side dishes can include a tossed salad or coleslaw and some prepared yellow rice mix.
Chili verde freezes well, so I'll often double the recipe and freeze half. The dish also can be turned in to a delicious stew by adding two cups of reduced-sodium chicken broth or a large can of undrained diced tomatoes.
Crockpot chili Verde
1½ pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 7-ounce can salsa verde
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
10-12 fat-free flour tortillas
Lime wedges, if desired, for serving
Reduced-fat sour cream, if desired, for garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Place the pork tenderloin cubes in the slow cooker. Season with the salt and pepper. Stir in the green chili sauce, ground cumin and brown sugar. Cover and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. To serve, place some of the chili verde on a tortilla, squeeze a lime wedge over the top, sprinkle with some chopped cilantro and add a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional information per serving: 576 calories, 22 grams fat, 7 grams saturated, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 780 milligrams sodium, 56 grams carbohydrates, 30 grams protein, 3.5 grams fiber.
Nutritional analysis provided by registered dietitian Rachel Brookshire, nutritional education specialist for the Richmond County School Nutrition Program, in conjunction with the Augusta Area Dietetic Association.
COMING NEXT WEEK: Cream of Tomato Basil Soup will be served at Antiques in the Heart of Aiken Antique Show on Feb. 3-5.
See Karin prepare the recipe at noon Tuesday on WJBF-TV (Channel 6).
Write to Karin Calloway in care of The Augusta Chronicle Newsroom, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find previous Quick Cooking recipes through the online archive at augustachronicle.com/karin.