Saturday, October 20, 2012

Green Chile Pork Stew

There's quite a back story on this recipe. Well, maybe not. That makes it sound a lot more dramatic than it actually is. When Boy #1 was six months old I joined a local chapter of MOMS Club. I'm sure I've talked about it before. It was a huge lifesaver for me for many reasons. I was definitely a workaholic before he was born and then quit to be a stay at home mom when my maternity leave was done. We had moved to a different part of Phoenix when I was pregnant, so all of my friends with kids lived at least 30 minutes away, and everyone else I knew worked. It was a rough transition A friend on the east coast suggested I look into finding a MOMS Club chapter near me to meet other mamas. So I did. And I found one. There were several other women with babies around Boy #1's age, plus a lot of moms with older kids who gave great advice and knew exactly what I was going through. I had a lot of my identity in my career and what I had done, so it was a HUGE change to not have that define me anymore.

This is a lot more deep than I intended to get...sorry about that. The whole point was that one of the monthly activities was a cooking club, where the coordinator would pick a theme and everyone would bring a dish that fit the theme. There was a sandwich one, one to bring something with apples, cookies, and a soup one. I know there were more, but those are the ones that stick out. My friend Aimee brought a delicious green chile pork stew to the soup cooking club, and I've thought about it ever since then. Keep in mind the boy was maybe seven or eight months old at this point, and he'll be seven this coming February. I'm not lying when I say I've thought about it for years. I don't know why I never made it. Then recently I found pork stew meat on sale for super cheap...and of course I couldn't find the recipe. So I posted on her Facebook wall. Our mutual friend Mary saw it and found the recipe and sent it to me (God bless her!). I happened to have some roasted Hatch chilies in my freezer that I wanted to be using, so obviously all signs pointed towards me making this stew.

Wow, that was a really long explanation for a pretty simple soup recipe!

Green Chile Pork Stew
Source: Adapted from my friend Aimee

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound pork loin -- cut into 1/2-inch chunks and remove all visible fat
3 small garlic cloves -- finely minced
1 red onion -- finely chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons flour -- preferably masa flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
28 oz. New Mexican chiles -- roasted, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper -- optional and preferably fresh
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2-3/4 cup chicken broth
2 large fresh tomatoes -- pureed (or peeled and chopped)

In dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute pork until all pink is gone (about 5 minutes). Move meat aside and add garlic and onion. As soon as garlic sizzles, stir together with pork.

In a small bowl, make thickener by adding water to flour and cornstarch. (Add another tablespoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of water if you prefer a thicker sauce, but wait until later in the cooking to decide if the texture is what you want, or you may accidentally make it too thick.) Add mixture to dutch oven.

Add chiles, spices, chicken broth to pot. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and add tomatoes. (puree the tomatoes if you like a very smooth sauce; peel and chop 'em if you like more texture). Simmer on very low heat, covered, for at least 1 hour.

(Makes 4 good-sized servings) Freezes very well.


The original recipe called for using the crockpot, but I think I ran out of time to do it...or figured if I was already dirtying pans, why dirty the crockpot too. The husband and I thought this was fantastic. I didn't bother having my kids try it because it was really spicy, and I knew they wouldn't like it. This was really easy to throw together, especially since I had pork stew meat, so I didn't even have to cut up the meat. I would definitely make this again for the husband and me to eat!

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