February 19, 2014
Anthropology of Food
Recipe Report: La Bolos Green Chili
2-½ lb. pork roast (preferably pork shoulder
44 oz. canned tomatoes
23 oz. tomato sauce
28 oz. hot water
23 oz. diced green chilies
1 oz. diced hot peppers
1.5 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Cut pork into ½ in. squares and with the pork bones fry over low heat until brown and the meat is slightly dry. If pork is very fatty, pour off all but 4 or 5 tablespoons of the grease. Using a colander, strain tomatoes into an 8-quart saucepan and coarsely chop tomatoes. Combine tomatoes, tomato sauce, hot water, cooked pork, and bones in the same saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil and continue boiling for 20 minutes. Add spices, chopped hot peppers and chopped chilies (including jalapeño). Continue boiling for another 20 minutes. Finish by cooking on medium heat until desired thickness, usually about another 20 minutes. Remove bones before serving. Serve in deep bowls with tortilla if desired.
The recipe for green chili comes from the La Bolos restaurant in Denver, CO. My mother gave me the recipe, which she acquired from the restaurant in the 1980’s. She first started going to the restaurant with her best friend Debbee when she was in graduate school. My mother has always told me that she loved the recipe because even though graduate school was grueling and tiresome, her and Debbee would make time to go to La Bolos. At La Bolos they would wait in line just to get their table in the back then they would both order the smothered bean burrito with their signature green chili. Although eventually my mother and Debbee graduated, my mother got the recipe for green chili and continued to make it on her own.
When my mother first started to make the green chili she followed the recipe to the “t”. However after decades of taste testing her and I have tweaked the recipe to increase the amount of green chili peppers and jalapeño peppers. We have also replaced the sugar with Splenda in order to cut down calories. My mother started to make green chili for my grandpa when he came to visit her after graduate school and he fell in love with it. Since he enjoyed the chili so much my mother began to make it every time my grandpa visited. It became a tradition that green chili would be made every time grandpa came to visit. When I was a young girl my grandpa always taught me that the chili wasn’t hot enough if he wasn’t red in the face and sweating; Hence the addition of jalapeños. Usually the dish is served in the mid-afternoon after my grandpa has walked around the house making minor fixes to the various appliances. Everyone sits around the table and has a bowl of green chili while we inquire into my grandpa’s fascinating history.
The main ingredient in the green chili is pork shoulder, which comes from the pig. Pigs originated from the wild boar, Sus scrofa, which originated from the Middle East and the Mediterranean sometime between 7000-5000 BCE. Archaeologists have also found remnants of domesticated pigs in Palestine, Iraq, Turkey, and Greece (Gade). They have also found pigs were the oldest domesticated animal besides dogs. Other archaeologists have found that pigs may have originated in Southeast Asia then migrated to China. Since archaeologists have come to different conclusions as to where the pig originated, it has been suggested that the pig may have domesticated in multiple places. In addition pigs may have made the conscious choice to move to places where were humans present, since pigs could feed off of humans waste (Gade). Waste was a good source of food for pigs because they are able to eat plants and animals. In the Middle Ages people began to breed and sell pigs as a source of income. Breeding of pigs became more intricate at this time because now there were laws and regulations that needed to be followed in order to be a pig farmer. In the...
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