Diced! Chili Cook-off: Ms Frau – Denver Green Chili

Autumn. Perfect weather for carving pumpkins, watching football and eating chili. The Ranting Chef is excited to host the Diced! Chili Cook-off. We have a number of competitors that have submitted a chili recipe and post for consideration. For three out of five weeks I will post four entries each week. At the end of each week a poll will be opened to vote on your favorite from the week. The poll will be open from Friday to the following Wednesday. The top 3 vote getters in each week will be pitted against each other at the end to determine the winner. Check out today’s post from Ms Frau at Frugal Hausfrau

Does anyone remember the beating the Broncos took last winter in the Superbowl? I’m telling you, my baby Sis, a Seahawks fan does, and still brings it up. It’s a bit humiliating. Perhaps you’ll help make up for it by voting for my Denver Green Chili? As Elmo knows, “It’s not easy being green” but this chili is good enough to throw down against any chili out there, green or red.

Years of living in Colorado left me a Broncos fan, although I’m afraid during many games I end up hanging in the kitchen and talking food rather than watching. I did watch with keen interest, though, when Denver Mayor Michael Hancock set off a flurry of indignation with his announcement that if the Broncos lost, he’d send a package to Seattle and would include some of Denver’s “amazing green chili.”

New Mexico, home of the Hatch green chile (Chili with an I is the finished sauce like stew; Chile with an E is the vegetable its made from) was up in arms. And while Denver is adamantly wild about their Broncos, they are just as adamantly wild about their Green Chili. Often called GC for short, Denver Green Chili is a regional specialty found along the Colorado front range, and differs from the GC made in other places, even New Mexico just to the south. GC contests abound and merits of a GC in one restaurant or another is always a hot point.

This Green Chili, my secret family recipe, made in the classic Denver style, is a secret no more. Rich and silky, just thick enough to smother a burrito and gently pool, it has just the right amount of heat. Enough to catch your interest, to be sure, but not enough to cause any distress. Just marvelous flavor that will tickle your tongue, then wrap around and settle a bit toward the back of the throat…if you are unsure of the heat, start with the smaller amounts in the recipe and increase as desired.

Denver Green Chili 2 - Featured Size

Denver Green Chili

Meat and Stock:

  • 2 pounds Boston butt or country pork chops, preferably with bones
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 – 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chile pequin or red pepper flakes

Green Chili (Chile Verde):

  • four tablespoons bacon drippings (drippings may be combined with the fat from the stock to total four tablespoons ) *
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 7 – 8 cans green chile (7 ounces each) drained but not rinsed or 3 cups fresh, roasted, cleaned & diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile rojo (chili powder will work)
  • a pinch to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon or to taste, of chicken bullion base or a combination of chicken and beef *
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, perhaps more to taste

Place roast in a large stockpot, cover with 2 quarts of water, add onion, garlic, the two teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and chile pequin or red pepper flakes. Simmer gently until pork is tender but still holding together, about two and a half to three hours, depending on the size of the meat used. Shoulder will generally take a bit longer than chops. Strain stock, reserving, and set aside meat until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones and cut or shred into bite sized pieces. May be refrigerated at this point, if desired, which makes it very easy to remove the fat from the stock. Skim fat from stock.

When ready to proceed, heat bacon drippings (or a combination of the fat from the stock & bacon drippings) in a large stockpot. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add flour, stirring until flour cooks for a moment to two and is coated with oil. Turn burner down a bit and add about two cups of the stock, whisking vigorously, until a paste is formed. Continue to add stock in additions, whisking, until all the stock is incorporated into the mixture. Turn heat back up and bring to a simmer.

Note: this is a quite a bit of flour to add to the small amount of fat, and a little care is needed to smoothly incorporate the stock into the flour. It is helpful to have a two cup measuring cup on hand to quickly dip out the stock and add to the roux mixture. After two or three additions, the roux is generally thinned out enough to add the remainder of the stock at once.

Add in green chile and reserved pork. Add seasonings to taste, depending on the heat level you desire.  Add bullion to taste. A restaurant version of this type of green chili is generally very highly seasoned and nearly always contains some bullion, while home versions may or may not. Taste for salt after the bullion is added. Your palate is the best indication of how much or how little spice and seasoning is desired.

Simmer very gently for at least 30 to 40 minutes, stirring often, until the chili is tender. If the chili seems to be a bit thick and is sticking to the bottom of the pan as it simmers, add a little water until a desired consistency is reached. The finished chili should have a slightly thick, gravy like consistency.

Denver Green Chili 1

* A heart healthier Green Chili can be made by replacing the fat in this recipe with oil, although the fats tend to be the basis of some of the flavor.

Denver Green Chili 3

* It is very common for both home cooks and restaurants in the area to use a bit of bullion or base to up the flavor of the Green Chili. While most use chicken, I’ve found the combination of both chicken and beef to be perfect. They are a bit of a “secret weapon.”


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: chili, Guest, Low Carb, Pork2, Recipes

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

16 Comments on “Diced! Chili Cook-off: Ms Frau – Denver Green Chili”

  1. November 14, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    That is a true chili verde!! Condiment and main dish all in one. I have to roast my own though for that touch of smokiness that just doesn’t come from the canned.


    • November 14, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

      Thanks! And roasting your own (or buying from a street Vendor) is the BEST way to go. Unfortunately though, not an option many times of the year and for some locations.


      • November 14, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

        You are welcome. So true about street vendors. I miss the smell of roasting chilies from every grocery store and farmers markets when I lived in Arizona. I now opt for poblano in the off season.


      • November 14, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

        Hatch Green Chili from New Mexico can be ordered frozen, but is expensive. Here in MN there are only a few Poblanos in the store at any given time. When I made the Rellanos on my blog, I had to go to two stores to get four!

        It sounds as if you are a true Chili afficianado!


      • November 14, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

        I prefer chili verde over red. The ranting chef had offered a spot in his cook off, but I honestly ahd too much going at the time and missed the dead line. I won a five state regional amateur division, here in Ohio with my chili verde. I am a true chili head. I typically go to a Mexican market for my traditional ingredients. They do not however carry any decent green chilies, poblanos yes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. November 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    Sounds awesome, and I want to give this a try. I’m from Boston and have a butt, but don’t know the ingredient called for as in Boston Butt. If it is a pork cut, and I don’t eat pork, can I substitute chicken or turkey to get the texture right?


    • November 14, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

      My goodness, I didn’t know that what we call a Boston butt was not called that there! It’s pork shoulder.

      And chicken is very good in this, but doesn’t have to be cooked as long. I would simmer until tender, remove the meat (then continue simmering the bones for awhile for the best flavored stock, if you wish) and then add the shredded meat back in at the end of the recipe to warm through.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. November 17, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    Remember, guys to vote on the poll on the right hand side of the page – it registers there and counts! Thanks Much! 🙂


  4. batsonjay
    April 27, 2020 at 10:27 am #

    I grew up in Denver (lived there 40 years), and loved the green chili. My recollection is that green chili felt so common that doing it well was what made one Mexican restaurant better than another. (I remember liking La Bola & another restaurant in the Highland Park area I can’t remember the name of.) It felt “everyday”, and wasn’t until I moved away and tried to find it elsewhere that I realized how unique it is.

    I searched for & tried a variety of recipes to re-create it – yours comes by *far* the closest. Thank you so much!

    (I made one mistake the first time I made this; I’m trying to reduce gluten in my diet, so I tried thickening it with arrowroot. After about 10 tsp of arrowroot, I gave up, so it was runny the first time. This does not seem like the time to do this gluten-free. Use the flour!)



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