Every Labor Day, the sleepy town of Hatch, New Mexico, population 1,600, roars to life as 30,000 tourists, tradespeople, and chefs descend to celebrate the Hatch Valley chile harvest. Though arid and unforgiving, the valley is mother to some of the greatest chiles grown anywhere in the world. Their complex flavor (sweet, earthy, with varying heat) is a perfect reflection of the terroir, and no dish better exemplifies their qualities than New Mexico’s famous green chile stew. Chunks of beef, pork, or chicken are braised with fire-roasted chiles, tomatillos, herbs, and spices until the tender meat begins to break apart, blending to create one of the world’s greatest dishes. Pre-seasoning the meat with salt and MSG helps lock in the flavor so it will remain moist and flavorful even after a long braise.
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
- Season the pork butt with 2 tablespoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of MSG and set aside.
- Roast the chiles over an open burner until completely charred, turning as necessary, then place in a bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap to steam for 10 minutes. Remove the stems and wipe away the charred skins and discard, reserving the flesh and seeds.
- Roast the onions over the open flame until lightly charred on both sides.
- In the meantime, sear the pork with the vegetable oil in batches in a Dutch oven until well browned, about 10 minutes, then reserve.
- Add the chicken stock to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil, scraping up any seared bits.
- Add the chiles, tomatillos, garlic, cilantro stems, remaining salt, and MSG and cook for 10 minutes, then blend with an immersion blender until just liquefied but still chunky.
- Add the seared pork to the pot and roast in the oven for 1 hour, turning the mixture every 15 minutes to submerge any charred floating pieces.
- Finish with the fresh lime and garnish with the cilantro tops.
Daniel Holzman started his culinary career at the age of 15 working for Le Bernardin. He attended the Culinary Institute of America with a full scholarship from the James Beard Foundation then embarked on a 15 year culinary journey through some of the country’s finest kitchens including Palladin, Napa, The Campton Place, Aqua, Jardiniere and SPQR where his food received 3½ stars from the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2010 Daniel returned home to team up with his childhood best friend to open The Meatball Shop on New York City’s Lower East Side. Daniel’s culinary experience includes work with consumer packaged goods having launched multiple nationally distributed brands. Daniel is an avid traveler, writer, photographer, and teacher. He is the author of the bestselling Meatball Shop Cookbook, founder of Project Foodie, an online free culinary school and has appeared in countless broadcast segments, local and national publications, as a judge, competitor and the focus of reality television programming and authors a bi-weekly column for TASTE.