Chili Verde typically calls for tomatillos, but when our garden has an abundance of green tomatoes we use those instead. This recipe works well with either. Chili Verde made with Lean Pork Cutlets is one of our favorite comfort food recipes, especially when served with warm corn tortillas, cucumber-sour cream salad and refried beans. We make the green tomato salsa and use part of it for this recipe and save some for later. It freezes well and works as a marinade, braising liquid or sauce. Our next experiment with this recipe was using layers of tortillas, browned pork cutlets or ground pork, the salsa and a layer of cheese baked in a casserole dish to make a Chili Verde tortilla pie. Yum!
1.5 lbs. Lean Pork Cutlets
2 pounds firm, green tomatoes (or tomatillos), cored and quartered
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 fresh green Anaheim (or other large, mildly-flavored) chili pepper, stem and seeds removed, quartered
3-4 green jalapeño chilies, stems removed, quartered
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
1/3 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (optional), coarsely chopped
Additional salt, pepper and olive oil for the pork cutlets.
Combine the green tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, garlic, salt, cumin, olive oil, and water in a stock pot. Bring to a boil and cook covered on a medium-low heat burner for approximately ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if it starts to dry out.
Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, honey (or sugar), and cilantro. Stir and simmer for an additional five minutes. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning, if needed, by adding more lemon juice, honey, and/or salt, to taste.
Spoon the mixture (in batches if necessary) into the container of a food processor or blender and pulse until the salsa reaches the consistency you prefer, either chunky or a smooth puree. Makes approximately one and a half quarts of salsa, which should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
Finishing the dish:
Pre-heat oven to 300. Cut the pork cutlets in to large bite sized pieces, season with salt and pepper and brown well with a little olive oil in a large oven proof pan. Add 1/2 quart or enough of the salsa to cover all the pork well. Place into oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve the pork with the salsa as a filling for tortillas or in a shallow bowl with freshly warmed tortillas for dipping.