Calabacitas (Pork and Zucchini Stew with Tomatillos)

28 Mar


My cousin and her son are coming for dinner tonight, and armed with the fact that they like Mexican food I began scouring my recipe books for something to serve other than my stand-by chicken enchiladas. While they are most delicious, I was thinking of something with pork and tomatillos. I adapted this recipe from Lisa Fain’s Homesick Texan Cookbook. It had pork and tomatillos, AND it looked like a good candidate to be cooked in a crock pot instead of over the stove, since I had to prepare it during my lunch break. Calabacitas means zucchini (or little squash) in Spanish, and the traditional stew is cooked with red tomatoes and zucchini. This version uses tomatillos, which are a small green tomato-like fruit. It also has yellow squash along with the zucchini, which coincidentally I had bought last week to take on our trip to the coast but forgot them. I checked them over and they still looked fresh enough to use so my mind was set. The only thing I didn’t have readily on hand were the tomatillos, but the grocery up the street has a huge Mexican section with bins of tomatillos, and was able to quickly pick them up at lunch. Oh, and I also used some white hominy instead of corn as called for, as I think hominy gives a more complex depth to stew or chili over corn. My initial taste test after it’s been simmering a few hours confirms I made a good choice. I’ll be serving this  in bowls over rice with black beans and warmed corn tortillas on the side.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-sized chunks
Black pepper
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 Serrano chiles
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 pound tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and quartered
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 pound zucchini, sliced and halved
1/2 pound yellow squash, sliced and halved
1 15 ounce can hominy (white or gold)
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons lime juice
Corn tortillas for serving
Cooked rice for serving

Browning the Pork

Browning the Pork

Season the pork with black pepper. In a heavy pot or cast iron skillet, heat the oil on medium and brown the pork on all sides until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. I had to do this in batches, as you don’t want to overcrowd the skillet or the pieces won’t brown up properly. Remove the pork and place into a crock pot. Add the onions to the pot and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for about one more minute. Pour this into the crock pot with the pork. Now take about a cup of the chicken broth and deglaze the hot pan, scraping up the crispy bits from the bottom. Pour this into the crock pot along with the rest of the chicken broth and ingredients except the lime juice, tortillas and rice. Mix well, and cook on high for about three hours, then turn to low or warm until ready to serve. Just before serving, stir in the lime juice. Ladle into bowls over rice, and serve with corn tortillas.


One Response to “Calabacitas (Pork and Zucchini Stew with Tomatillos)”

  1. anotherfoodieblogger November 24, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Reblogged this on anotherfoodieblogger and commented:

    No time for a weekend post so I thought I’d share one of my earlier recipes. This is a great Mexican stew for a cold winter’s meal.


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