Tomatillo Pork with Greens


While doing one of those “clean the fridge” routines recently we were inspired to take the basics of one of our favorite dishes, Chili Verde, and create a totally new dish.  The results were inspirational and delicious enough for us to want to share it with our readers!

Tomatillo Pork with Greens is  a combination of all of the usual ingredients one would expect to enjoy and savor in a traditional Chili Verde, but featuring pork in two ways, namely pork shoulder and salt pork… with the addition of greens of choice to make a hearty and filling one-dish meal.  We happened to have a bunch of collard greens in the crisper so it was designated to go into the pot!  The freezer produced a 12-ounce piece of lean salt pork begging to be used creatively.  Who were we to refuse…!

Tomatillo Pork with Greens

 Remove the ribs from:

  • 1 large bunch greens of choice

Chef’s Note:  A favorite of ours is collard greens, but other greens work wonderfully as well.  Mustard greens are particularly good in this dish and, because they are more delicate, require less cooking time once they are added to the dish.

Stack the trimmed leaves, roll together tightly and cut into 1/2″ strips:

Rinse well, drain and set the greens to the side.

Trim of excess fat, cut into 3/4″ – 1″ cubes, and set to the side:

  • 1 – 3/4 lb pork shoulder

Slice into 1/4″ – 3/8″ thick pieces:

  • 1 12-oz piece of salt pork

 Cut each slice into 1/4″ – 3/8″  strips:

 Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and add the strips of salt pork.  When the water returns to the boil blanch the pork for 12 minutes then drain through a sieve or strainer.  Set the pork to the side:

Chef’s Note:  Blanching the pork removes the excess salt contained in the meat for preservation and begins the rendering process.

Place the pork in a skillet or sauteuse over moderately high heat, rendering the fat and cooking the salt pork until it is crisp and golden brown.  Remove the cracklings with a slotted spoon and set to the side:

To the fat in the pan add:

  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped

Sauté the onion for several minutes, then add:

  • 5 whole peeled garlic cloves, microplaned

Continue cooking until soft and translucent, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the flavor-filled brown bits:


 To the pan add:

  • 1-1/4 lb tomatillos, husked and quartered

Stir to combine then add:

  • the reserved cubed pork shoulder

Cook until the pork is no longer reddish or pink:


  • 2 jalapeño peppers, sliced with seeds and membranes intact



Stir to combine, then add:

  • the reserved salt pork cracklings
  • 2 tsp dried oregano, rubbed

Chef’s Note: Rubbing the dried herbs between the palms of your hands releases the essence of the herb used, making a more flavorful dish.

Stir to combine, then add:

  • 2 – 1/2 C green sauce or tomatillo salsa

Chef’s Note:  Freshly prepared green sauce or tomatillo salsa is often available in both Hispanic markets and restaurants, which is where we are able to purchase it by the container here in our neighborhood.

Stir well to combine:

Bring to a simmer, cover, adjust the heat and slowly braise for approximately 20 – 25 minutes.  Remove the lid and add:

  • the reserved greens

Cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until the greens are tender but not overcooked. 

Adjust the seasonings, if necessary, with:

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serve piping hot over rice in warmed bowls.  This hearty dish is rich with flavor, wonderfully satisfying, filling and, simply said, delicious… Bon Appetit!

 ©2012 Via Aurea Designs, Inc., All Rights Reserved


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Categories: Pork, Stews, Vegetables

Author:Steve Meyer & Dayton Azevedo

Food and fine cooking have been our passion for many years, fueled by the year-around abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry and meats, as well as aromatic spices and herbs readily available to us here in the San Francisco Bay Area, making adventuresome, creative and delicious 5-star cooking a reality in our kitchen. Our aim is to make it yours as well by utilizing our step by step instructions and serial photographs. Bon Appetit from our kitchen to yours...!


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