January 01, 2013

Slow Cooker Green Chile Pork Stew

So, we launched the new year with, among other things, a new recipe.  We made some beef stew recently, but I was still in a stew mood and wanted to try something different.  I happened to see a recipe on allrecipes.com that got me thinking about a pork and green chile stew, and I used that as my starting point.  The recipe I started with looked essentially sound, but I knew that certain touches - like browning the meat beforehand and adding some tomato paste - would make it more flavorful.  I also decided to toss in a Serrano chile for some extra heat.   The beans are completely my own touch; I know from previous recipes that cannelloni beans go well with both pork and chiles, so they seemed a good touch here.

The results were good:  a flavorful, satisfying stew with tender pork and a subtle sort of heat.  Definitely a good thing for a winter day.  

Some small notes.  As always, I used my mortar and pestle to grind up some cumin seeds, rather than using pre-ground cumin, because the pre-ground stuff loses a lot of the flavor.  I also cooked it in oil before adding the vegetables.   This touch tends to increase the impact of spices.

Also, I initially chopped the sweet potato into 1/2" chunks, and as a result, they all but entirely disintegrated by the time the stew was done cooking.  Next time I'll use 1-inch chunks of sweet potato. and that's what the recipe below calls for. 

Slow Cooker Green Chile Pork Stew

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 ½ lbs boneless pork loin, cut into ¾” cubes
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 Serrano chile (seeds removed), diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cans(7 oz) diced green chiles
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1” pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 cans (15 oz.)  cannelloni (white kidney) beans, drained
Shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Dry half of the pork cubes with paper towels, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add to the Dutch oven once the oil is heated.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is browned on all sides.  Transfer the cooked pork to the slow cooker, then repeat with the remaining pork.  Do not wash the Dutch oven.  Reduce heat to medium.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven and heat it until shimmering.  Add the cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the onion and Serrano chili and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is clear and tender.  Add garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.  Add the canned green chiles and the diced tomatoes, stir and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened.   Add the chicken broth, stir and use the edge of a spoon to loosen any fond from the sides and bottom of the Dutch oven.  Transfer the contents of the Dutch oven to the slow cooker.   

Add the sweet potato and oregano to the pork mixture.  Stir, cover and cook on high 5-6 hours.  Stir in the cannellini beans.  Cover, cook for 10-15 minutes.  Serve topped with shredded cheese.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a great "buff up" of a recipe. The sweet potatoes surprised me but it is a stew and I think I will sub it for white potatoes in some recipes. Also I rarely use my mortar and pestle. The cumin seeds are a great idea.