Slow-cooked spicy, Hatch green chile goodness with tender pork cubes to serve over rice, polenta, or in tortillas... Pork and Hatch Chile (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot) is a perfect "set it and forget it" main dish with the flavors of New Mexico!
Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.
~~ Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
When our circumstances drive us too close to the "edge," it is time to find a bit of "wilderness" and respite from it all. Back in 2014 when I originally published this recipe, we packed up our new "tiny" trailer,"and headed to Hueco Tanks State Historical Park.
We had recently downsized from a 27' trailer with a slide out to a compact folding trailer with room only for the bare necessities. One of my main concerns about the substantially smaller trailer was my ability to enjoy cooking as I always have in our larger trailers.
I decided the key to meal planning on our camping vacations would be in the preparation - selecting simple dishes that require only a few ingredients, packing portions rather than entire containers, and using my slow-cooker or Instant Pot in advance.
One of the food bloggers I follow - Elaina Newton, The Rising Spoon - had recently posted a recipe for Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast with Tomatoes and Green Chiles. I decided to use this recipe as inspiration, knowing I could get the slow-cooker going early, pack the trailer, and take a portion of that slow-cooked goodness on our trip. With brown rice and a green salad, we had a delicious meal with little to prep and room to spare in our little fridge!
Pork and Hatch Chile (Slow Cooker) 2014
In shopping for my protein, I was shocked to discover the price of beef chuck. We don't eat very much beef, so it has been quite a long time since I've purchased this cut. It was $5.48 a pound! My plan was to do a very large batch in my very large slow-cooker, and I could not see spending $30.00 for chuck.
At $3.48 a pound, the lean boneless pork loin caught my eye. I love pork and green chile. I was hoping the absence of fat would not negatively affect the dish. I used my fresh, frozen Hatch "hot" green chile, and little Cherub tomatoes.
A bottle of Corona, some good stock, cumin, chipotle chile powder, and a generous amount of garlic lent lots of flavor to the dish. The tantalizing aroma of the slow cooker all day long meant I was really ready for dinner when we arrived at Hueco Tanks a few hours later... I did a 6 pound pork loin, so we will enjoy this a few more times 🙂
Fast Forward to 2019... An Update
I'm cooking for 2 now, and this being a favorite recipe, I decided to update it and make it a smaller batch recipe (still plenty for a second meal). The recipe now reflects smaller quantities. We get 6 healthy servings from the updated recipe.
I have made this tasty main dish in both my slow cooker and my Instant Pot (or stove top pressure cooker). If you prefer traditional stove top cooking, the pork will need 1 1/2 to 2 hours to get fork tender.
If you have fresh Hatch chile and weren't fortunate enough to get them roasted at the source, you can do them on the grill or under your broiler en masse, or 1 at a time on a gas flame (tedious and time consuming!). Most recently, I did them under the broiler because it was 100 degrees on my patio! 🥵
Arrange the Hatch chiles on a baking sheet. Place on the top rack. Watch them carefully! Turn as they blacken until all sides have a good amount of char. Flat chiles are easier to blacken!
Place the charred Hatch chile into a covered container. I prefer glass. I have also successfully used a paper bag, but don't often have them. The chile needs to steam 10-15 minutes before peeling and seeding.
Browned pork cubes, onion, garlic, spices, and tomatoes as the beer is added.
Browned pork cubes, onion, garlic, spices, and tomatoes as the broth is added.
Tips and Tricks for Pork and Hatch Chile
- The process is the same whatever cooking method you choose. Browning the meat and aromatics bumps up the flavor. Don't skip this step!
- If my chile is already peeled and seeded, I add it with the aromatics and pork. It not, I start the pork tenderizing while I char the chile and add it prior to serving (it's already cooked). Most often, I have chile that is charred and peeled and I just need to remove stems, seeds, and chop. The recipe is pretty flexible.
Hatch green chile after the charred skins are remove, seeds are scraped away, and stems are removed.
A rough chop on the Hatch green chile is fine. Add to the pork as it cooks or just prior to serving.
If you can't get fresh (as I often can't 😢), check out The Hatch Chile Store. The quality of their chile is always fantastic!
Do you have favorites you cook in big batches to freeze for several meals? I love this Slow Cooker Pork and Green Chile, but my Pressure Cooker Pork Ragu with Basil Polenta and Pressure Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork are also favorites...
Keep in mind the versatility of a dish like this one. Wrapping the tender, spicy pork in a whole wheat tortilla is a great alternative when time is in short supply. It would also be fabulous on top of soft polenta or Mexican Cilantro Rice. Freeze in zip bags, and thaw as needed. We enjoyed this with a Deschutes Red Chair NWPA (Northwest Pale Ale).
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1.5 pounds lean pork (see notes)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 tbsp. chile powder*
- 2 cups good broth or stock, chicken, beef, vegetable
- 1 cup (or 7 ounces) decent light beer
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 pint Cherub tomatoes, or similar small tomatoes*
- 2 cups Hatch green chile*
- 1 teaspoon sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- In a large skillet, add oil over high heat. Add cubed pork. Brown on all sides. Adjust heat if pan is too hot.
- When pork is browned on all sides, add to slow cooker or Instant Pot
- Add chopped onion, minced garlic, and cumin. Cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Add to slow cooker or Instant Pot).
- Add the remaining ingredients to slow cooker or Instant Pot. Stir to combine.
- Cook until pork is tender and falling apart. In the slow cooker this will require 6-8 hours depending on heat level of your specific appliance. I usually set my Instant Pot to 45 minutes and de-pressure for 10 minutes before opening (making the process about an hour).
- Taste for seasoning.
- Serve over rice, polenta, or wrapped in a tortilla.*
I have used pork stew meat (great time saver!), pork loin, thick chops. You could even substitute chicken.
I use NM red chile powder, but you can use any good chile powder such as ancho, chipotle, guajillo, or a chile powder mix.
There really is no substitute for Hatch green chile. It is commercially available in cans and the freezer section of most of the U.S. now. In New Mexico, we freeze fresh chile in September to last through the year...
Slow-cookers vary in temperature. I set mine to "high" and cooked it for 6 hours. I'd say you could cook it 8 to 10 hours on low, and get good results.
In the Instant Pot, I use manual and set to high pressure for 45 minutes, then de-pressurize for 10 minutes before opening.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 338 calories; 41 g protein; 15 g fat; 6 g carbohydrates.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 338Total Fat: 15gCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 41g