VEGETARIAN CHILE VERDE
What you'll need
One sweet yellow onion, diced.
One clove of garlic, minced
About 5 whole Hatches green chiles (see how to prepare below)
15 oz. can of fire roasted diced tomato
One quart of stock (vegetable or, if you must, chicken)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
How to do it:
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot on medium low heat. Add the onion and cover, stirring frequently. You can salt the onion a bit at this point if you like. Add the garlic after about 10 minutes, when the onion is nearly done. Continue cooking the onion and garlic until the onion is nearly translucent.
Note about green chiles:
You can buy them fresh around here from roadside vendors in the fall. They roast them for you while you wait. I usually buy a 1/2 bushel of mild and a 1/2 bushel of medium. When I make the chile, I use both mild and medium in about even numbers. However, green chiles (I usually use those from Hatch New Mexico) vary a lot in heat.. So, when you first get them, taste to see how hot they are. Sometimes the mild have very little heat; sometimes they are blazingly hot. Just make sure you know what you've got before you start cooking with them. When I first get the fresh roasted chiles, I wash off the charred skin and remove the stems and seeds. I then drain and freeze them in individual baggies, about 5 to a bag. A bushel lasts me about a year.
Cut the chiles into rings about 1/4 inch wide and add to the pot. There should be about 2/3 chiles to 1/3 onion at this point. Continue cooking on medium low heat for a few more minutes.
Add the tomato and the stock. Also add the cumin. One-half to a whole teaspoon should be about right, but taste to be sure. Also add salt to taste at this point. I also like to add a little bit of cider vinegar (like half a teaspoon or less), which brightens up the flavors a bit. Continue simmering, covered, for as long as you like. The longer it simmers, the more the flavors develop.
When you're done cooking, pour about 2/3 of the chile in your blender and puree. You may need to do this in a couple of batches so the blender isn't too full. Be careful when blending hot liquids. Add the pureed chile back to the pot. Remove half a cup of the chile from the pot and thoroughly mix it with the cornstarch so they are no lumps. Now add the cornstarch mixture back to the pot and continue heating until the chile thickens. This recipe makes about 1 1/2 quarts, enough for about four generous servings.
Note: if you want to use pork, the recipe is basically the same, with these changes: Cut about 2 pounds of Boston Butt into 1 1/2 inch cubes and toss with flour seasoned with salt and pepper to coat the meat. Brown the meat on high in the soup pot and a few tablespoons of cooking oil (not EVOO, which will burn). After about 5 minutes, add half the onions and the garlic and continue cooking for another five minutes, stirring a few times. Don't worry if there are brown bits on the bottom of the pot - that's the good stuff. Now add chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pot. Also add the diced tomato, the chiles and the spices. Then cover and simmer for a two or three hours until the pork is tender, but still holding together well. Now add the rest of the onion and cook for another 1/2 hour or so. Check the salt and cumin and add as necessary. Then thicken and serve. I don't puree the mixture in this variation. The longer cooking time breaks down the tomato and chiles just fine.