Many years ago, a friend gave me the book Perfect Pairings by Evan Goldstein and his wife Joyce Goldstein. She brought my attention to the recipe for Pork Chile Verde and I am ever-grateful that she did. This stew is incredibly tasty, freezes & thaws well, and isn’t the least bit complicated. I have made just a few adjustments below, indicated in (italics & parenthesis):
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used red pepper flakes)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I increase this to 1 teaspoon)
- 3 pounds pork shoulder or butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
In a small bowl, combine the oregano, coriander, cumin, cayenne (red pepper flakes), and cinnamon,
Place the pork in a large nonaluminum container and rub with the spice mixture. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator or for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or lard (I use olive oil, and you could also use melted coconut oil)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the meat in batches (so that the meat is not too crowded and is in a single layer in the pan), sprinkling with salt and pepper, and brown/sear meat on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Set aside the browned meat.
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 7-ounce can whole or diced roasted green chiles
- 1 14-ounce can plum or fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 10-ounce cans Mexican green tomatillos. drained
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup meat or poultry stock/broth
In a stew pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté the onions until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes longer.
Add the green chiles, tomatoes, tomatillos, cilantro and stock/broth. Bring to a gentle boil.
Insert immersion blender — or transfer everything to a blender — and puree.
Add the reserved pork to the chile verde sauce. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low, and cover the pot. Simmer until the pork is tender, 11/2 to 2 hours.
- 1 to 2 tablespoons red vinegar (optional — but highly recommended)
Add salt, pepper, and vinegar (if desired) to taste.
To serve: sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
*I always serve this stew with chunks of roasted sweet potato, but I think it would go well with any roasted hard squash. The roasted, sweet flavor of the sweet potatoes and hard squashes goes extremely well with the chile verde sauce.
*I have made this same dish with whole chicken legs that I dry-rubbed with the spice-blend and then baked, immersed in the chile verde sauce, in a casserole dish in a 350-degree F oven for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
*When I first moved to Rochester, NY I couldn’t find any canned tomatillos. Wait, what? Yep … no canned tomatillos … sad panda. I used fresh tomatillos — approximately 10-15 (depending on the size of the tomatillos), and just simmered in the sauce until cooked — approximately 20 minutes — before pureeing.
*This is a wonderful dish to serve at dinner parties, since all of the prep can be done in advance — and the flavors actually improve with time. I have even made this dish for a dinner party I would be hosting *after* being out of town for a few days. I made the pork chile verde in advance, froze it, and then thawed it the day of the dinner party, and roasted the sweet potatoes while it thawed. This goes very well with zinfandels, syrahs … and not-as-well-but-still-tasty with cab sauvs and merlots.