Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pork Chile Verde Stew

This post was edited in January 2009 based on my second experience making the soup with pork butt as opposed to loin. The two techniques need to be different so I'll publish the pork butt recipe separately.

Evan's mom made a wonderful soup/stew for us for the day we returned from Europe after a three week delayed honeymoon. I think it might be a Weight Watchers recipe, but we never got it from her because we found Pork Chile Verde in the fridge case at Trader Joe's to which we added hominy--this made an excellent and super easy substitute perfect for the post-Elspeth haze.

Alas and alack, TJ's stopped carrying the pork chile verde, so we decided to try to make a stew of our own using some clues from Carol, such as the secret ingredient being green salsa. I guess you could call this a 'semi-ho' recipe (semi-homemade) because of the salsa, but if it's tasty, we don't mind the shortcut. The main issues will probably be making sure it doesn't taste too 'thin' and mitigating the heat of the salsa since we want Elspeth to enjoy it, too.

It turns out, the flour coating is key because it makes a kind of roux that thickens the stew a bit. I was surprised at how fully flavored this stew ended up being for quite little effort. These amounts nearly filled our 7.5 quart Dutch oven and should make about 8 servings.

VEGETARIAN ADAPTATION: We were thinking that a little veggie protein in the stew would be nice (thus carrying it even farther away from anything remotely traditional) and it occurred to me that you could also make it altogether vegetarian. We think that the nicest veggie protein would be pinto beans. You could either add a can instead of one of the hominy cans or add it in addition. Obviously, you'd use vegetable stock or water instead of chicken stock.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2-2 lb pork loin (leave any fat on the pork--you'll need it) cut into bite-sized cubes
3 TBSP oil divided into thirds
1 large onion, diced finely
4-6 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press
3 TBSP plain flour mixed with:
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
pinch of ground cloves
12 oz green salsa or to taste (we're using Emerald Valley)
1 can tomatillos with liquid, chopped (optional)
2 large cans hominy, drained and rinsed
2 bay leaves
6 cups low sodium or homemade chicken stock or water
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
Juice of 1 lime or lemon, as needed for brightness

DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and add the onions. Cook over until very soft and golden.
  2. Add the garlic and cook 3 more minutes. Don't let the garlic brown.
  3. Add the remaining spices and cook another minute. Take the mixture out of the pot and set aside.
  4. In the same Dutch oven, add another 1 TBSP oil over medium-high heat. Add half the pork and brown lightly. Once it's lightly browned, take out and brown the other half. You'll probably need to add that extra 1 TBSP of oil.
  5. Return all of the ingredients to the pot; sprinkle the seasoned flour over the pork, onion and garlic and stir together. Let cook several minutes
  6. Take about 1/4 cup of the stock or water and mix well with the flour-coated ingredients
  7. Add the salsa, tomatillos, hominy, bay leaves, remaining stock/water and cilantro if using. The water should cover the ingredients by 1-2 inches. I think I used about 6 cups stock.
  8. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to one hour and then taste. Adjust the seasonings and determine if you think more cooking time would be beneficial.
  9. Serve with warmed corn tortillas

1 comment:

DC said...

I make this stew all the time I call it Pork and Potatoes in Salsa Verde, and I use pork ribs and/or pork shoulder. As you can see from the name, I add new potatoes which help thicken the salsa verde. I always make beans on the side, and if I have time Mexican rice. It is one of our favorite recipes, we always have people asking for the recipe... really most of the flavor comes from almost caramelizing the onions and browning the meat before you start. I'm getting hungry now!