December 19, 2010

New Mexican Pork Stew and Homemade Flour Tortillas

So far I've made almost half of the recipes in the newest (December 2010) issue of Cook's Country, and have been quite pleased with most of them.   It is rare that I get that much use out of a single recipe source, and especially rare for a cooking magazine.

The two most recent things I've tried from that particular magazine are a natural combination:  posole - a stew common to New Mexico, made from pork, hominy and pureed onions and dried peppers - and fresh, homemade tortillas.  The stew was by far the more time-consuming of the two recipes, due to it having several steps - roasting the dried ancho chilis, rehydrating them in hot broth, browning onions, pureeing the onions and peppers, browning the pork and the hominy, long periods of stewing - but the bulk of that was time when ingredients just cooked on the stove top. 

The flour tortillas were comparatively quick to make:  Mix shortening, flour and water into a dough, roll the dough into small balls, roll the balls into thin, flat rounds and quick-fry them in a smoking-hot cast iron skillet.   My Lodge cast iron skillet came in quite handy for that, naturally. 

Both the posole and the tortillas were pretty easy to make, really.  The clearly-written recipes are about as close to foolproof as one can get.

I liked the stew a lot more than Juli did.  I found the tender, shredded pork, the rich, smoky, chili-based broth and the hominy to be a great combination, making for a hearty, flavorful stew.  Juli, however, was less than thrilled with the texture of the hominy.  We both loved the tortillas, though.  I'll definitely be making the tortillas again - like, next time I'm in a mood for tacos, more likely than not - but I'll probably only do the stew only occasionally, if I decide I'd like to make some to take to work as lunches.   If you like the idea of a hearty stew with a rich, complex mix of distinctly southwestern flavors that does not rely on over-familiar staples like chili powder and cumin, give it a try.

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