We have an ongoing love affair with pork, and with chiles. Hot chiles, sweet chiles. With little left in the freezer, although it is a bit warm outside, today just seemed to be a perfect day to make an oven-braised pork stew. This really is a mish-mash, and despite its color, it has dried red chiles in it, and hot fresh green serranos and jalapenos. Braised in an oven-proof kettle at 275-300 F, this is a dish which needs a bit of attention, can be as dry or wet as you want, and makes a delicious meal for summer or winter, depending on your mood.
Pork & Chiles Stew
2 lbs. pork loin, cubed
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
3 serranos and 3 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
5-8 dried red chiles, sweet variety, such as ancho
8-10 cloves of garlic, chopped and smashed
1 T. ground cumin
2 T. coriander seeds, ground
2 T. fresh oregano
1 c. chopped parsley (I would use tomatillos, but don’t have any right now, and don’t feel like going to the market)
2-4 c. dark beer
2-4 c. chicken broth
Preheat oven to 275 – 300 F. Use a lower temperature for a longer, slower cook. Allow yourself about 6-8 hours of cooking and prep time before serving.
In an oven-proof kettle with an oven-proof lid, heat some cooking oil, brown cubed meat. Add onions, stir until soft. Add all herbs and seasonings as you chop – just add them and continue to stir and add until all is cut up and sauteed together in the kettle.
Seed the jalapenos and serranos under running water, being sure to wear nitrile gloves. Chop fine, then thoroughly clean up cutting block, discard pepper seeds and bits. Then take off the gloves, discard them, and wash your hands. Add to the stew.
Pour in beer and some chicken broth, to cover the meat. Bring to simmer.
Place in 300 F oven on middle rack, cover with lid. Plan to let it bake / braise at least 4-5 hours, or longer if you use 275 F. Add extra liquid if stew appears dry – you need to check it!
After about 2-3 hours of cooking, take the dried sweet red chiles out of their package. (I like Mojave brand, or just the ones in bins at local markets.) Break them up, remove stems, and sautee in some oil over low heat. Make sure they become rather soft. Then pour a couple of cups of boiling water over them in the pan (watch out for splatters!) and let soak for about 20-30 minutes. When this is done, transfer chiles and some soaking liquid to a blender, and puree the mess until all the peppers are broken up. Add this liquid to the stew, stir it in.
Continue to cook the stew for a few more hours, checking liquid levels. About an hour before you think you want to eat the stew, you can add some drained, rinsed canned hominy, or, like I did, some baby potatoes.
Serve with tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream. Garnish with cilantro or something pretty, like more parsley or whatever you want.
P.S. The picture is not any indicator about the tastiness of this dish! I took it last night under fluorescent lighting and forgot to adjust it – and at 1600 iso. Not the best shot. However, the pan really is green – its a “lemon grass” Le Creuset Dutch oven – love it!