Let's get cozy and enjoy with a big bowl of this Colorado-style pork green chili! With its flavorful, tender chunks of pork shoulder and spicy peppers, this Colorado green chili is the perfect comfort food. Eat it as a hearty stew with your favorite chili toppings or smother it on your favorite dish.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
A reader favorite: This Colorado green chili with pork has consistently been one of the most popular recipes here at Burrata and Bubbles. Readers have raved about it, with one reader even saying this is the recipe that satisfied his decades-long search for a great green chili recipe.
Ultra versatile: I love eating this green chili as a stew with plenty of delicious toppings as pictured, but we Coloradans are also known to smother our green chili on almost everything — think burritos, enchiladas, burgers, curly fries, nachos and cheesy eggs. You will get so many uses out of this recipe.
Easily feeds a crowd: Chili takes some time to make, so I like to maximize the effort to ensure there's plenty to go around. One batch can feed between 12-16 people, and if you don't get through the whole batch, this green chili freezes beautifully.
Bonus: If you love this stew, you'll also love my green chile-artichoke dip!
As you can see, you don't need a long list of ingredients to make this pork green chili stew. The green chiles are so flavorful, especially with the pork shoulder, that it's unnecessary to load it with a bunch of different spices. Outside of the pork shoulder and green chiles, there's a good chance you have most of the ingredients in your pantry.
Pork shoulder: Specifically, we're looking for the pork butt cut. Please note that this is not an entire pork shoulder. Most grocery stores cut out small 3- to 4-pound pork butt roasts, and that's what we need here. A whole pork shoulder or butt is way too big.
Green chiles: I love getting my roasted green chiles from a roadside stand. These are all over Colorado during chile season. However, you can substitute canned, frozen or jarred chiles when they're not available.
Masa harina: This is our stew thickener. Masa is a flour made from dried corn kernels and is commonly used to make corn tortillas and tamale dough. While you can substitute all-purpose flour, you'll love the flavor the corn base adds to the chili. You can find masa harina by the other flour products in the grocery store.
Spices: Since the green chiles add so much flavor, we're keeping it simple. A little cumin, smoked paprika and black pepper are all we need.
Potato: Not everyone adds cubed potatoes to their stew, but you'll love the heartiness it adds.
And now to jump into the recipe. To make this pork green chili stew, you don't need a long list of ingredients. The green chiles are so flavorful, especially with the pork shoulder, that it's unnecessary to load it with a bunch of different spices. Outside of the pork shoulder and green chiles, there's a good chance you have most of the ingredients in your pantry.
Step 1: As I mentioned, you need to peel, deseed and dice your green chiles (photo 1), though you get to skip this step if you use frozen green chiles. The ones I've always seen already come prepped and ready to go.
Step 2: After you dice your chiles, coat the pork shoulder with plenty of salt and pepper and sear it on all sides to give it a brown crust in a large stockpot (photo 2). This step adds a nice caramelization to the pork and depth of flavor.
Step 3: Once you develop that lovely crust, remove the pork and cook the onion and garlic in that delicious rendered pork fat (photo 3).
Step 4: Now you're ready to return the pork to the stockpot and add the green chiles, cumin, smoked paprika, pepper, chicken broth and diced potatoes (photo 4). Bring the chile to a low boil, pop on the top and turn to low to simmer. Pour yourself a drink, give the pork green chili stew a stir every so often to prevent burning and cook until the pork is fork tender and shreddable. This typically takes about two to three hours.
Step 5: When the pork is ready, remove it from the stockpot, shred with a couple forks and remove any bones once it's cool enough to handle and add it back to the chili (photo 5).
Step 6: To get that signature Colorado-style thickness, we now make a roux by whisking together masa and butter until smooth and adding it to the stockpot with the pork (photos 6-8). We then cook it for about five or 10 more minutes.
And that's it. If you need more heat, you can always add some diced fresh jalapenos with seeds or cayenne pepper to taste, but I generally don't find it necessary. Another option is to serve jalapenos on the side in case people would like to individually add more heat to their taste. You can either serve the chili immediately or refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to meld.
Like I said, you can smother it on so many different dishes or serve as a stew with a variety of toppings. My favorite toppings are shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, red onion, crushed tortilla chips, cilantro and fresh lime. I also love dipping warm tortillas into this giant bowl of goodness. Now dig in and feel happy that all that me time led to this delicious dish.
How to Store and Freeze
After cooking, let the green chili completely cool. Then, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. As long as it's stored correctly, it should last about four days.
This makes our chili convenient for serving at casual parties. Not only does that refrigeration time give the flavors that melding time but it also means you can make it well ahead of serving for easy entertaining. When you're ready to serve, you can heat it on the stove and keep it warm right there in the pot or move it to a slow cooker on the warm setting for two to four hours.
Alternatively, you can freeze the chili. Like refrigeration, we first let the chili cool, spoon it into airtight, freezer-safer containers and freeze for four to six months. After that, you can still safely enjoy your chili, but the meat quality eventually fades as it sits in the freezer.
Visiting Green Chile Stands
Every year from August until Nov. 1, the green chile stands make their way to Denver, and I have to make at least one batch of Colorado-style pork green chili, which is more of a gravy-like stew compared to the more soupy New Mexico-style green chili. This year, I plan on making two batches. Although this recipe makes a huge pot of green chile that I freeze, I eventually run out during the year, which makes me sad. And I don't want to be sad. I figure it's time to be proactive and make sure I'm fully stocked until next year's crop.
If you've never visited a green chile stand, it's awesome. You choose the heat level you'd like for your chile, and then they throw your chiles into a giant cylindrical gas roaster with fresh garlic and quickly turn it until the chile skins are black.
And the smell? Intoxicating. I keep my nose in the air and happily take it all in while they roast.
But no worries if your area doesn't have green chile stands. You can buy frozen, canned or jarred roasted green chiles and use those in this recipe.
Stir periodically: To keep the chiles from sticking, stir every so often, scraping a large along the bottom of the pot.
Make ahead of serving time: If you can swing it, I like to make this green chili at least a day before serving. As the stew sits in the refrigerator, it gives the flavors time to meld for an even more delicious chili.
Don't forget the toppings: It's just not a chili without your favorite toppings. I love avocado slices or guacamole, sour cream, fresh jalapeños, red onion, cilantro and crushed tortilla chips. And, of course, make sure to have to fresh flour tortillas on the side.
With beer, you have a few great pairing options. Pale ale and pilsner are delicious, but I especially love a good doppelbock with this green chili. Doppelbock's caramel-like notes pair nicely with the pork's browned crust, and the sweet malt contrasts from the heat from the chile, particularly if you go for a hot variety.
For those times wine calls, tempranillo will take care of you. Like a doppelbock's malt, the red fruit in tempranillo balances the spice, and tempranillo isn't overly tannic, so you don't have to worry about the two clashing. Tempranillo also has higher acidity levels than other reds, which works well with the spicy green chile.
With the fall here, I hope you take some time for yourself to make this Colorado pork green chili. Every year I look forward to making a batch, and I'm sure it'll be a new favorite for you as well.
Need More Game-Day Recipes?
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- Ahi nachos with wasabi crema
- Classic margarita
- Creamy white chicken chili
- Instant Pot chicken enchilada soup
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Colorado-Style Pork Green Chili
- Large stockpot or Dutch oven
- Cutting board
- ½ bushel of roasted fresh green chiles approximately 7 ½ cups chopped chiles, mild, medium or hot, depending on your preference
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-4 pounds pork shoulder roast
- Salt and pepper
- 4 garlic cloves grated or minced
- 1 onion diced
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 10 cups chicken broth
- 1 russet potato diced
- 1 cup masa or flour preferably masa but flour works well
- 1 cup butter
- Cayenne pepper optional, to taste
- Fresh jalapeno optional, diced, with seeds, to taste
- 1 lime juiced
- If using freshly roasted green chile, remove the skin, deseed and dice. For frozen green chiles, thaw and dice if they don't come chopped, though most frozen green chiles tend to come diced. You can also used canned green chiles, though fresh or frozen is my preference.
- In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Liberally salt and pepper the pork shoulder roast. Once the oil is hot, cook the pork on all sides until it develops a nice crust. This should take about four to five minutes on each side. Remove the pork, add the onion and turn heat down to medium. Cook for about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Put the pork back in the stockpot and add the chiles, cumin, spiced paprika, pepper, chicken broth and potato to pot. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the pork is fork tender, about two to three hours.
- When the pork is tender, remove the roast from the stockpot and shred with two forks once it's cool enough to handle. Discard any bones.
- In a separate skillet, melt the butter to make a roux. Continuously whisk in the masa or flour for about four to six minutes. Return the shredded pork to the stockpot and stir in the roux. Cook for another five to 10 minutes until the green chile thickens to your liking.
- Taste the green chile and if you'd like to add more heat, stir in cayenne pepper or sauteed diced fresh jalapenos with the seeds. This step is optional. You can also add more salt to taste if desired. Turn off heat and stir in lime juice.
- You can serve immediately or refrigerate it overnight to allow the flavors to meld. Smother or eat as a stew. Garnish with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
- Feel free to use your favorite garnishes. I especially love cheese, sour cream, guacamole, chopped red onion, crushed tortilla chips, cilantro and lime juice. Fresh jalapenos are also great if you'd like to let people add more heat to their liking.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.