Ground pork green chili con carne with tomatillo and navy beans
The Indisputable Ingredient In New Mexican Green Chili
By Julia Mullaney
Chili is a traditionally American dish, a thick and beef-based stew that's loaded with tomatoes and packed with spices. However, there’s a relative of traditional chili called green chili (or chili verde) that has quite a different take, and if you’re from New Mexico, you know about the special ingredient that must always be included.
Originating from Northern Mexico, green chili is typically made with pork and fresh tomatillos (rather than beef and tomatoes) and includes, of course, green chilis. Authentic New Mexican green chili must include Hatch chilies, which are grown exclusively in Hatch Valley, a region in New Mexico known for its high elevation and volcanic soil.
Much like other green chiles, Hatch chiles range in spice from mild to extremely hot, and the heat level varies depending on when they are picked; the longer the peppers ripen, the hotter they'll be. Therefore, authentic New Mexican green chili cannot bear that name unless it is made with Hatch chilies grown in the region.