I really didn’t intend to feature yet another Mexican stew this week, but it’s inadvertently turned into a south-of-the-border comfort food month at our house. We had something entirely different planned for this week’s Dark Days Challenge meal, but our schedule got scrambled — by good things — so our fallback plan moved into the spotlight.
Because we’re so addicted to Latin flavors, we put up many of the necessary ingredients in the summer, at the height of their season. For this recipe, we used roasted, skinned tomatillos that we froze in bags, plus jalapeño peppers pickled in a traditional salty brine. Our cilantro’s wintered over quite well, so we don’t even have to claim exemptions this week.
This bean-enriched variation on chile verde isn’t a particularly beautiful dish, but it’s delicious. If you want to make it in the slow cooker, the original recipe omits the stock and layers all of the ingredients in the crock — starting with the tomatillos, followed by the rest of the vegetables, and the pork at the top. Cover and slow-cook on high for 6 hours, then add the cooked beans just before serving.
Puerco en Salsa Verde - Tomatillo Pork Braise with White Beans
- adapted from Mexican Everyday
1 to 1-1/4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 pound tomatillos
3 pickled jalapeños (divided use)
1 medium white or red onion, diced (divided use)
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup loosely packed rough-chopped cilantro (divided use)
2 cups chicken or pork stock
2 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained
Mexican crema, sour cream, or creme fraiche, as desired
Salt the pork cubes, and set aside. Husk the tomatillos, then rinse and cut into quarters. Stem and halve the jalapeños, cut them in half, and scrape out the seeds; dice one of the chiles and set aside for garnish.
Heat oil or drippings in a large saucepan or small Dutch oven over medium heat. When shimmering, add the pork in a single layer and saute until golden brown on all sides. Remove the browned meat to a clean plate. Add about 2/3 of the diced onion to the pan and saute until soft. Add the garlic and continue to cook until garlic is golden. Add the jalapeños and half of the cilantro and cook until just soft. Add the prepared tomatillos and jalapenos, and return the meat to the pan. Add enough of the stock to come a little more than halfway up the side of the pork. Cover and simmer gently, 3 hours or more until the pork is tender, adding more stock as needed to keep the meat partly submerged.
When the pork is thoroughly tender, remove the meat to a clean plate with tongs. Puree the sauce with an immersion blender (or in batches — carefully — in a standard blender; then return to pan). Return the meat to the pan, and add the cooked beans. Taste and season with salt as needed, adding more stock or water to keep the sauce at the consistency of a creamy soup. Bring the dish to a simmer and serve warm, with remaining cilantro, onions, pickled jalapeños, and crema for garnish.
Farmers and food artisans who created the ingredients for this week’s meal:
Marin Sun Farms, Point Reyes: pork shoulder
Catalán Family Farm, Hollister: tomatillos, onion, jalapeños
Iacopi, Half Moon Bay: garlic
Rancho Gordo, Napa: cannellini beans
Bellwether Farms, Sonoma: crème fraiche
Guisto’s Vita-Grain, South San Francisco: sea salt
…and our own homegrown cilantro and homemade pork stock