Monday, September 13, 2010

Slow-simmered pork

When the weather starts getting cooler, I happily get reacquainted with my old friend the slow cooker. And after Trevor brought home a couple of pounds of tomatillos, cilantro and several onions after working at the Persephone Farm stand at the PSU Farmers’ Market, I couldn’t wait to make chile verde.

Chile verde is home-style Mexican cooking at its best. It’s versatile — eat it as a stew, wrap it up in a flour tortilla, or make enchiladas with the leftovers. It’s filling and comforting — the pork falls apart when touched with a fork. And it’s healthy — a serving is a moderate amount of lean pork swimming in a sea of vegetables. Serve it with corn or flour tortillas, homemade gorditas or even with some Spanish fried rice.

Slow Cooker Chile Verde
Serves 6 to 8
I adapted this recipe from a Cooking Light recipe. I like to use a mix of Anaheim and poblano chiles. Sometimes the chiles are hotter than other times, but this dish isn’t supposed to very spicy. You can also make this on the stovetop, so I included a link to the original version below.

2 tablespoon canola oil
2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins or pork sirloin roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup water
4 cups onion, chopped
2 pounds small tomatillos, husks and stems removed and quartered
1 pound fresh Anaheim or poblano chiles (about 4 medium), cut into 1-inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup water

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the pork evenly with salt and pepper. Place flour in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork to bag; seal. Shake to coat. Add pork to pan, and sauté 5 minutes, browning on all sides. This may need to be done in batches. Add more oil if necessary. Remove pork from the pan and place in a slow cooker. Add ¼ cup water to the hot skillet to deglaze it. Use a wooden spoon to loosen all the browned bits stuck to the bottom. Add water and browned bits to slow cooker.

Add onions, tomatillos, chiles, garlic, chicken stock, cilantro, cumin and oregano to the slow cooker. Stir to combine ingredients. Cover and cook for desired amount of time. (I usually cook on the high setting for 4 to 5 hours, but you can use the low setting and cook for 8 to 10 hours.) 1 hour before chile is finished cooking, use a fork to mix together 2 tablespoons flour and ¼ cup water. Mix until there are not any lumps. Add mixture to slow cooker and stir. Cover and let cook for remaining hour. Taste chile verde and add salt and ground black pepper as needed. Enjoy!

Chile Verde

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