Green Chili Stew and Mencia

Mencia from Spain tames this bold dish


As the weather cools and my thoughts turn to hearty stews and braises, it’s nice to be able to transition slowly from the lighter fare of summer. My weeknight meal of a deep, long simmered dish can be just the ticket for welcoming the arrival of cool, crisp  weather. However it may not be the right time for me to go looking for the rich wines that are a easy match.

In its place I look for something a bit more retrained perhaps, and certainly easier on the wallet. The 2005 Flavium Bierzo Crianza is great example of an affordable option, perfect for Wednesday night, but a wine I welcome any day of the week.

Coming from the Bierzo region of Spain, and made with 100% Mencia, this wine captures the warmth and exuberance of Spain with its bold fruit but at the same time reflects a complex and historic past. Mencia is capable of producing deep, layered wines but even this Crianza, signifying the wine spent only at least 6 months in oak barrels, has a nuanced character that speaks to me and sets this apart from similar, fruit driven, wines.

What to expect: Mencia

Menica is the red grape of the Bierzo region in Spain. It produces a medium bodied red wine with good acidity and slightly rustic, though fine grained, tannins that support dark cherry fruit with complicating notes of spice, earth, tar and herbs.
Before diving deeply into the pantheon of Beef and lamb dishes that are the staples of winter, I always look to pork to help make the transition from lighter summer fare to the stick to the ribs dishes I use to fend off the chill of winter.

Pork and green chilies are a wonderful pairing, I find the typical Pork in green chili sauce sometimes  lacks a little oomph for my tastes, so I’ve taken a bit of creative license here. With my busy schedule I try and make one pot dishes whenever possible so the addition of some beans, and posole is not only in keeping with the south of the border spirit of this dish but takes this Chile verde from oh! to Wow! In my book.

This dish can get a bit spicy so look for a fruity, full-bodied red with soft tannins to pair here though a big, rich white would work as well. I’ve chosen the Flavium Bierzo specifically because of its soft tannins, rich, subtly spicy fruit and great balance, and it’s a wonderful match.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

The subtle spice of this pork stew pairs perfectly with the plush fruit of Mencia.

2005 Flavium Bierzo Crianza
This is a lovely little wine with ripe fruit scents that waft from the glass, uncomplicated but fresh and pure. The palate is soft and enveloping with sweet red fruit tones, good acids and just enough tannin to give this some weight in the mouth.

Spicy Pork and Green Chile Stew
This take on Pork in Salsa verde introduces an extra layer of spice and smoky heat to the traditional reecipe while making it an easy one-pot dinner with the addition of beans and posole. An autumn dish to warm the soul.

To download a printable PDF file of this recipe please click here. Serves 4


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 chipotle chilies, crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and ½ inch dice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 16oz can posole (hominy)
  • 1 16 oz can pink beans (All canned beans and posole should be rinsed with water in a colander, to wash way all traces of canning residue, before using them)
  • 3 Poblano Chilies, roasted*, peeled and 1 inch dice Or-2 7 oz. cans California green chilies, seeded and chopped
For Garnish: Fresh Cilantro leaves, Diced red onion, diced tomato, lime wedges


  1. Over a medium high flame heat the Dutch oven. When it’s hot add 2 tbsp of the oil and then brown the pork cubes. You may have to do this step in batches to avoid crowding. Once the cubes are well browned on all sides remove them from the pot.
  2. Add the Crushed Chipotles, oregano, coriander and cumin to the fat that remains in the pot, adding the remaining tbsp of oil if necessary, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minutes, keep stirring the spice mixture to prevent burning
  3. Add the sliced garlic and sauté with the spice blend until fragrant, about 90 seconds.
  4. Add the diced onions and salt to the pot and stir well. Continue cooking until the onions have begun to brown, approximately 8 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatillos to the onion mixture and blend well. Reduce the heat and simmer until the tomatillos have softened and released their liquid, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the reserved pork cubes, chicken stock, bay leaves, pink beans, posole, and green chilies to the pot, blend well, and allow to simmer until pork is fork tender. Make sure that the stew doesn’t become too dry. Add water as needed.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve garnished with Cilantro, diced red onion and diced tomato with a squeeze of lime.

This dish is actually better reheated so don’t be shy about doubling the recipe and saving some for leftovers!

* Roasting Poblano chilies is easy to do on any open flame. Simply rest the chili on your stove top (or oven broiler) and leave in the flame until the skin is burnt and blistered. Once the chilies are charred on all sides remove them to a bag or closed container to allow them to steam while they cool. That will make peeling them all the easier. You can wash off the charred skin that remains on the chilies under running water but I like to leave some on for this dish as it adds a bit of extra smokiness to the finished product.

Mentioned in this article


  • Would love to have caloric/nutritional values.

    Oct 09, 2009 at 12:02 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    That's a great idea but not one I'll be able to do.

    It's enough work writing down the ingredients and steps I use in making a dish.

    I generally cook on Saturday evening or Sunday morning so spending additional time researching this sort of information is really not possible.

    If anyone out there can think of an easy way to get it done I would love to hear it!


    Oct 09, 2009 at 12:39 PM

  • Snooth User: Philip James
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    1 12,575

    Not easy, but there's an open source database of calorific content, its possible to pull that data in and figure out the calorific contents, but its probably quite a lot of work...

    Oct 09, 2009 at 3:45 PM

  • Snooth User: Sckrambo
    254549 3

    My calculations from shows about 565 calories a serving, 9 g fiber, 30 g carbs, 50 grams protein, 30 g fat, 7 g saturated.

    Oct 09, 2009 at 6:01 PM

  • Snooth User: Philip James
    Founding Member Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    1 12,575

    Not exactly open source, but is a fun site to play with to determine nutrition info.

    Oct 09, 2009 at 6:05 PM

  • Snooth User: fussen
    264795 1

    Nutritional analysis per serving:
    1063 calories, 88.6g protein, 30.5g fat, 65.7g carbs, 34.8g fiber.

    Does NOT include: chipotle chilies, oregano, coriander, cumic, garlic, salt, bay leaves, garnish.

    4 servings
    Pork - roasted without fat
    Chicken stock - condensed canned Campbell's broth
    Hominy - white


    Oct 09, 2009 at 6:41 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    Wow Fussen,

    Nice work and thank you.

    Just a note on the servings. If my mother was serving this to her friends I expect we'd be looking at 6 to 8 servings but for 4 guys sitting around watching football and drinking wine it's four.

    Oct 09, 2009 at 6:47 PM

  • Snooth User: Sckrambo
    254549 3

    I don't agree with fussen's calcs...I think that he used raw pink beans vs. canned...

    Oct 09, 2009 at 10:55 PM

  • Snooth User: jfhwyom
    186768 4

    I made this two days ago (although I used lamb) and it rocks! Even better two days later. Thanks for a new favorite recipe!

    Oct 20, 2009 at 3:07 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    Super JF!

    Glad to hear it. It does get better day after day! I didn't mention that because I know the idea of keeping food for days can freak some folks out.'

    Thanks very much for trying it out!

    Oct 20, 2009 at 3:36 PM

  • Tried this stew with the "bierzo-flavium-crianza" wine was great, also froze remaining and it was just as tasty reheated. Perfect for a cold day or to share with friends at super bowl.

    Jan 31, 2010 at 12:12 PM

  • since we're in transition weather again (colder to warmer) i made this tonight - the aroma of cooking it was amazing :) didn't have a mencia so we had it with some California Zinfandel. thanks for sharing such a great recipe!

    Mar 10, 2010 at 1:14 AM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    I do love how this smells, warming and hearty yet so fresh. I haven't made a pot in while but was thinking about it just last saturday! Time for my turn!

    Mar 11, 2010 at 11:00 AM

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