You’ve got to love a recipe that starts in the pantry and finishes up on the counter top without any last minute help from you.
Can you guess what I made with this? If I had not titled this post, would you have figured it out yourself seeing the above cans?
Green Chile Pork Stew.
Why now? Ever since I had a breakfast burrito at the Hollywood Farmers Market two weeks ago, I’ve had verde sauce on my mind.
My burrito wouldn’t win any beauty contestants, but it had a lively chicken verde filling with lots of scrambled egg, potatoes, tomatillo sauce and sour cream. It was scrumptious — but I wanted more of the chicken verde part. It was that good.
I started tinkering in the kitchen. I’ve been asked for years for favorite slow-cooker recipes, and this recipe now tops that list.
What I ended up with was equal parts stew and soup, and wholly delectable — a lovely melange of green chile sauce, tender pork, hominy and barley with a scattering of corn to give extra texture and heft. I hit the garlic and lime notes pretty hard, and a scattering of Juanita’s chips on the side was the perfect accompaniment.
I once went to Santa Fe with my Mom for a long girl’s weekend, and I am happy to report that this dish closely approximates my favorite meal there.
It was so surprisingly delicious that my husband (who usually avoids stews as some might liver) had thirds. And for the first time in a long time he asked me not to give away leftovers — he wanted to hog all that porky-green chile goodness to himself.
Here’s how it started. I made a little spice rub of cumin, smoked paprika, ground garlic and oregano and set that aside. I made sure that I had some last-minute garnishes, too; lime and cilantro seemed like a good place to start.
I cubed my sirloin roast into bite-sized chunks. I browned the meat in just a bit of vegetable oil to get the caramelized flavor going, did a little deglazing with white wine and then set the meat aside. In the same pot I sauteed some garlic and shallots in a bit more oil, and deglazed again. I tossed all the meat together with my blend of spices, and gave it a good lashing of salt (I’m a big proponent of salting each component of a dish, meat being an especially important one).
The sauteed meat, the shallot/garlic mixture, green chile enchilada sauce, and chicken stock all went into the slow cooker. Shortly after that, I added the barley. About another hour or so later, I added the hominy and the corn. And then I did something very important.
I left it alone.
This is no small feat — the aromas coming out of my kitchen started mid-afternoon, and built up to a crescendo by cocktail hour. Very little was needed from me — just an extra pinch of salt, a touch more lime, and we were good to go.
As I write this, I have now had it for two dinner and two lunches in a row, and I was surprised that it got better with each visit — richer, more piquant (also a bit thicker). For lunch yesterday I had some ripe avocado and a little cilantro pesto in the fridge, so that topped off my bowl, and it was fantastic with it.
Best part about it? I had the forethought to double this recipe; half of it now resides in my freezer in single-size servings, ready to spread its chile magic on another day.
- 1½ lbs. pork (I cut up a sirloin), cubed
- small amount of vegetable oil
- splash of white wine or tequila
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbs. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. ground garlic
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- juice and zest of 1-2 limes (the second lime you can use as a garnish later)
- 1 28 oz. can green enchilada sauce, (any kind of green chile sauce should work)
- 1 14 oz. can chicken stock
- ⅔ C. - 1 C. barley
- 1 28 oz. can hominy, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz. can corn, drained and rinsed
- Garnishes, optional: tortilla chips, cilantro, chopped avocado
- Heat small amount of vegetable oil in pan. When hot, saute cubed pork, stirring occasionally so that meat is universally browned. Deglaze with white wine (or tequila) and place in slow cooker.
- Add a tiny bit more oil, quickly saute shallots and garlic, taking care not to brown. Again, deglaze and add to slowcooker.
- In small bowl, mix together cumin, ground garlic, paprika, oregano and juice and zest of 1 lime. Add this to warm pork/shallot mixture and toss thoroughly. Salt and pepper generously.
- Add to cooker enchilada sauce, chicken stock, and barley and figure out cooking time; 4 hours on high or about 8 hours on low.
- Halfway through cooking, add hominy, and corn. Taste cooking liquid -- this would be a good time to add more salt, fresh garlic or lime if desired.
- Cook until pork is fork tender and barley is cooked through (total time was 4½ hours in my slow cooker set on high).
- Serve with garnishes or straight-up. Lime wedges are highly recommended.