Say Hello to the Pueblo Green Chile
You've likely seen and taken in the mouth-watering aroma of roadside stands, markets and even restaurants roasting green chiles. And if you're a Colorado loyalist, you've only purchased green chiles grown in Pueblo, not the controversial Hatch variety from New Mexico.
According to History Colorado, today's Pueblo chiles have a special background that some say make them far superior:
The Mosco chile was a labor of love by Dr. Mike Bartolo and his team at the Arkansas Valley Research Center. Dr. Bartolo is a vegetable crop specialist with Colorado State University, and his family has been in the Pueblo area for generations. His uncle Harry Mosco (for whom the chile is named) was a farmer who like most in the area grew, among other things, Pueblo green chiles. When he passed away in 1988, he left his family the seed stock.
Dr. Bartolo began growing a new crop of chile from this stock, and quickly noticed one very unique plant. “It was a little bit bigger and a little bit different from the rest of them,” he said. “I began making selections out of that original plant, and after several years of selection we developed what became known as the Mosco.”
The result is the Mirasol Mosco a name that reflects its upward-reaching fruit that grows facing the sun. This chile is now the most widely planted pepper in the Pueblo region. It's also quite mild, averaging 5,000 to 20,000 Scoville units, making it highly versatile for cooking.
Now, compared to the Hatch, the Pueblo is longer, more slender and has a thicker, hardier skin that makes it perfect for roasting. There's less risk of the chile breaking open during the roasting process which protects it from drying out or losing heat. What you'll get is a rich, roasted flavor that's uniquely Pueblo!
Cooking with Colorado's Favorite Chile
Whether you've recently moved to Colorado or have been here for generations, you likely know that green chile is incorporated into all kinds of cuisines at nearly every restaurant in the state. Burgers, enchiladas, omelettes, tots, and more can all be smothered in delicious green chile, with or without pork. You can also simply get it by the bowl.
If you want to recreate this deliciousness at home, we've got a great recipe to get you started. There are infinite recipe varieties available to you with a quick Google search, but this one is a great jumping off point. You can then add your favorite spices to make it uniquely your own.
Pork (or Vegetarian) Green Chile
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2½ Pounds Diced Onions
- 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or Vegetable)
- 1/2 Cup Flour
- 8 Cups Chicken Stock
- 2½ Pounds Chopped Roasted Green Chiles
- 2½ Pounds Diced Tomatoes (Along with Juices)
- 2½ Pounds Cooked, Shredded Pork (Shoulder or Leg Roast)
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Lime Wedges
Options – Add to Taste
- Chili Powder
- Mexican Oregano
- Ground Coriander
- Smoked Paprika
- Fresh Minced Garlic
- 1-2 Serranos or Jalapeños for Heat
- Heat oil in a very large pot over medium-high heat and add onions. Cook until soft and onions begin to brown. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium. Combine olive oil and flour in the pot and stir continually to make a roux. Cook for 3-5 minutes, then slowly whisk in the stock until fully incorporated.
- Add the onions back to the pot along with the chiles, tomatoes and pork. Stir together and simmer for 30-45 minutes to thicken and reduce slightly. Season with salt, pepper, and any additional spices to taste.
- Serve with lime wedges and tortillas for dipping.
To make this vegetarian, use vegetable stock in place of chicken and leave out the pork. You can also add hominy or your favorite beans to make it more substantial.
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