Tag Archives: pork

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

9 Apr
Steak and Pork Pot Pie

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

After a busy and fun (OK, awesome!) weekend out of town, I’m finally getting around to cooking and blogging again! My husband had grilled up some pork and steaks over the weekend and I was faced with grilled leftover meat and not a lot of ideas for what to do with it.

When I opened the freezer to look for options, I spied a frozen pie crust and had an “AHA!” moment. Who said you can’t make pot pie with grilled steak or pork, huh? And with the meat already cooked, it became a simple and delicious dinner idea. I did not use the “Holy Trinity” with celery since my daughter does not eat celery (even though I cook with it all of the time), but I added peas for both color and taste. Two thumbs up from the fam, too! Here is what I did:

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup baby carrots, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 small potato, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup flour
2 cups homemade or low-sodium beef broth
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, or salt, to taste
1 sprig of fresh thyme, leaves stripped and minced (or a pinch dried)
1/4 cup milk
1 pound leftover cooked steak and/or pork, cubed (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup frozen petite peas
1 frozen pie crust, thawed
1 egg, beaten with a little water

Grilled Beef and Pork

Grilled Beef and Pork

In a large skillet, melt the butter and add the carrots, onion, and potato. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the flour, seasonings, and thyme and stir until mixed into the butter.  Add the beef broth, then turn up heat to medium, stirring constantly until it thickens and begins to simmer. Turn back down to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the milk and stir to combine. Last, mix in the meat and peas, then turn off heat.

Steak and Pork Pot Pie Filling

Steak and Pork Pot Pie Filling

Pour into a 1.5 quart casserole (or large deep pie dish — I don’t happen to own one like that). Preheat oven to 375 degrees, meanwhile letting the mixture cool for about 20 minutes.  Top with the thawed pie crust and crimp around edges to seal. Brush on egg wash all over crust, then cut a few slits on top for venting. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until crust is golden. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Dee-lish!

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

Steak and Pork Pot Pie

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Carnitas Soup with Tomatillos and Chipotle in Adobo Sauce

29 Jan
Carnitas Soup with Tomatillos and Chipotle Pepper

Carnitas Soup with Tomatillos and Chipotle Pepper

Smoky, spicy, and tangy. That is how I would describe this soup. I was pondering what to do with our leftover Carnitas when inspiration struck me while walking through the produce section at the grocery store. It appeared a fresh load of tomatillos had arrived at the store, as the bin was overflowing with them. I decided right then and there I was going to make some carnitas soup with tomatillos. I grabbed about 8 of them, which turned out to be 3/4 pounds.

This soup was a tad too much on the spicy side for my husband but he still ate his full bowl. I had added the other half of the jalapeño I hadn’t used in the carnitas, but I also added 1/2 of a canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. (Please note that is 1/2 of a pepper, not 1/2 of the can!!) Chipotle peppers in adobe sauce have a beautiful smoky taste, but beware, those peppers are not only smoky flavored, but SPICY! So, so reduce the amount down, if needed.

Tomatillos for Soup

Tomatillos for Soup

Tomatillos are a very tangy fruit, so that is where you get the tangy. But we all enjoyed the flavors and textures of the soup, and my daughter even went back for seconds even though it made her sweat, lol! You can freeze the leftover chipotle chiles for a future use. I love to add a small amount  of them to white beans and garlic as a side dish, oooh yum. Last, the store I went to only had mongo pound-plus cans of hominy, so I just use a cup and a half of them, but if your store has a 14-ounce can or so you could use that instead. Once again, I froze the rest of them for future use.

Tomatillos, Onions, and Jalapeno

Tomatillos, Onions, and Jalapeno

Carnitas Soup with Tomatillos and Chipotle in Adobo Sauce

1 pound leftover Carnitas, recipe here, or cooked pork
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
3/4 pounds tomatillos, husks remove, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 jalapeño, diced small
1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 of 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced small (or less)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 to 6 cups homemade chicken, turkey, or beef broth (or combination of any)
1 1/2 cups white hominy, drained and rinsed
1 jar of homemade tomatoes, diced, or can of diced tomatoes with liquid
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
Lime wedges, for serving

Carnitas Soup Simmering

Carnitas Soup Simmering

Hopefully you have leftover Carnitas at this point. If not, cook up some pork with spices and set aside. Then chop up your onion, tomatillos, and jalapeño.  Heat up a dutch oven or soup pot over medium, then add the olive oil. I’m so bad about amounts on this part, I just eyeball it. But use enough to saute all your veggies. Once the onions start to soften, add the diced chipotle pepper and garlic, stirring until fragrant. Add the broth (I used a combo of turkey and beef broth) and then turn up to high until boiling. Add the hominy, Carnitas or pork, tomatoes, and cilantro. Bring back up to a boil again, then turn down to low to simmer. Simmer for at least one hour to let the flavors meld. Serve with additional cilantro and/or lime, to taste. Yummy!

Carnitas Soup with Tomatillos and Chipotle Pepper

Carnitas Soup with Tomatillos and Chipotle Pepper

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

26 Jan
Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

Some days I go on a cooking binge. I can’t help myself! I suddenly have lots of things I want to make and eat, and yesterday was one of those days. Countless hours of dashing around the kitchen, every measuring device in use, pots, pans, bowls, sticky messes covering all countertops. But when it’s all said and done, I’m tired, happy, and full. And have sore feet.

I had two missions to accomplish yesterday: One, was to concoct a fancy dessert (not my forté as you know) from scratch for an online cooking competition using three required ingredients. (You will get to read about that next week.) Second, was to finally try my hand at making carnitas, which is a Mexican dish of slow-braised pork and then broiled up into crispy bits of yumminess. I added a third mission later in the game and pickled up some spicy red onions to accompany the carnitas tacos. Whoa! Talk about a game changer. My photos don’t do that condiment justice. After my first bite, I went back and mounded way more pickled onions into my tacos. Delish!

Spicy Pickled Red Onions

Spicy Pickled Red Onions

I did learn a couple of things yesterday during all this though. You really should use a cut of pork butt or shoulder that has lots of fat and marbling in it. I only had some country-style boneless pork ribs, and they didn’t have near enough fat to render so had to add a little vegetable oil during the rendering process. I also figured out that by pouring some chicken or beef broth over the pork just before the broiling process lessened the dryness of the pork since it didn’t have the required fat in it. Lessons learned, but it was still incredibly tasty! We have plenty of leftover carnitas for use in either more tacos, burritos, or perhaps even a stew or chili? We shall see what becomes of the rest of the meat, now won’t we? Now on to the recipes!

Spiced-Up Pork and Juices

Spiced-Up Pork and Juices

Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

For the Carnitas:
3 pounds pork butt or shoulder, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
Juice of 4 or 5 limes (about 1/4 cup)
Juice of 1 large orange (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon Ancho chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
Ground black pepper, to taste
About a half a bottle or can of beer
Vegetable oil, if needed
About 1 cup chicken or beef broth, if needed
Cotijo cheese, avocado, spicy pickled red onions, cilantro, and lime wedges, for garnish

For the Spicy Pickled Red Onions
1/2 large red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
6 or 7 thin slices of fresh jalapeno
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic

Add the pork, juices, and spices to a dutch oven and cover with water to just cover the pork. Bring to a boil, then turn down low to simmer for at two hours. About halfway through simmering, I added a half a can of beer. Why, you ask? Because it was in my hand and seemed like a good idea. Did it make any difference? I have no idea, lol!

Simmering Pork

Simmering Pork

While the pork is simmering, you can make the pickled onions. Add all the ingredients to a glass jar, microwave uncovered for 45 seconds, cover with lid, and refrigerate until ready to use. Easy peasy!

After two hours, turn up the heat to medium high and cook the pork for about a half hour longer, until all the liquid is gone and the pork begins frying in its own fat. Or, if your pork doesn’t have enough fat, then add a little vegetable oil at this point to help it along.

Crispy Carnitas

Crispy Carnitas

Once the pork starts looking crispy and browned, remove it from the heat. Add the meat in one layer to a foil-lined baking sheet, pour about a half cup of chicken or beef broth over it, then put it in the oven on broil for 5 or so minutes. Remove the pan, turn pork over with a spatula, then add a little more broth over it. Return to oven and broil about 5 more minutes. Remove from oven, and serve immediately over corn tortillas warmed up in a dry skillet, with cotijo cheese, avocado, spicy pickled red onions, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Pickled Red Onions

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Fuss-Free Spicy Pork and Kale in a Crock Pot

5 Jan
Spicy Pork and Kale

Spicy Pork and Kale

I had a few pieces of frozen pork that had to be used stat, as they were starting to look slightly freezer-burnt around the edges. Then I had this HUGE bunch of organic kale I picked up the other day, for reasons still unknown to me this day. I must have had something in mind, but it never came back to me. Armed with those two ingredients, I thought about making my Spicy Pork and Kale Soup, but decided I needed to try out something new. After countless interwebz searches, I finally settled on a combination of flavors I thought would work together.

Kale Bunch

Kale Bunch

About halfway through the cooking time my daughter said the kitchen smelled really good, so I was hopeful! And thankfully, it turned out delicious! It was spicy, tangy, filling, and made for a great meal for the fam after we spent a good part of the day cleaning out our junk room to make into a bedroom for a foreign exchange student we are hosting in February. (As well as painting my daughter’s bedroom a new color, which I had no part in. That was a father-daughter project for the day.) We served this over a bed of brown rice sided with thick slices of French Bread to sop up the juices. Yummy!

Spicy Pork and Kale Ready to Cook

Spicy Pork and Kale Ready to Cook

Spicy Pork and Kale in a Crock Pot

1 1/2 pounds thick boneless pork loin chops
Sweet Hungarian paprika
Ground black pepper
1 large bunch of kale
2 pints homemade canned tomatoes and liquid, chopped, or two cans of diced low-sodium tomatoes, with liquid
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Cooked brown or white rice, for serving

Season the pork generously with paprika and black pepper. Add to a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker. Tear the kale off the stems into bite-size pieces and add to the crock pot. It fills up almost the entire crock pot, but don’t worry, it all cooks down. For my homemade pints of tomatoes, I just used a knife to chop them up straight in the jar. Pour the chopped or canned diced tomatoes over all, then sprinkle the Balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and crushed red pepper flakes over the kale.

Cook on high 4 to 6 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours. When ready to serve, shred the pork with two forks in the crock pot and give it a good stir. Serve over cooked brown or white rice, with bread for sopping up the juices. Minimal ingredients, fuss-free, huge taste!

Spicy Pork and Kale

Spicy Pork and Kale

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

San Francisco Pork Chops

11 Dec
San Francisco Pork Chops Dinner

San Francisco Pork Chops Dinner

I really have no background on why these are called this, but let me tell you they are AMAZING! Spicy, a very tad hint of sweet, and a delicious gravy to go over your rice. I “borrowed” this recipe over at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, one of many amazing foodie blogs I follow. There are so many fantastic cooks out there that cook meals in “real life” situations, and she is one of them. She also does a lot of baking and candy-making, which I don’t do, but her main and side dishes are great!

I was on a crunch for time (what else is new?) and wanted a quick and easy meal to prepare but I hadn’t started thinking about dinner until after noon. But this slow-cooker recipe saved the day, as I was able to put the crock pot on high and have it ready by a respectable hour. Please don’t skip the crushed red pepper flakes! You can always make substitutions for some of the other ingredients (I did, such as subbing beef broth for chicken broth and I added sliced onions) but the red pepper flakes really rounded out the flavors. I was in such a hurry I didn’t take the proper time to set up for my photos, so I didn’t end up with many usable “in the process of cooking” shots, but really, this is so easy I think you will forgive me this time.

San Francisco Pork Chops
adapted from San Francisco Pork Chops by Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large boneless pork chops or loin, about 1-inch thick
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb blend, or salt, to taste
1/2 onion, sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup homemade beef or chicken broth, or low-sodium store-bought
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Cooked rice, for serving

Onions and Spicy Broth

Onions and Spicy Broth

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops on both sides with pepper and Mrs. Dash, or salt, to taste. Brown the pork for a few minutes on each side then transfer the pork to the slow cooker. Add the sliced onion to the skillet and cook until the onions start to wilt. Add in the garlic and stir for a minute or so more. Really everything cooks so long in the crock pot you could probably skip this step and add that later just to the pot. Stir in the soy sauce, broth, brown sugar and red pepper flakes and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the sauce and onions over the pork in the crock pot.

Pork Onions and Sauce in Crock Pot

Pork Onions and Sauce in Crock Pot Ready to Cook

Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours. In the last half hour of cooking, add in the cornstarch and water mixture and whisk it into the broth in the crock pot. If you cooked the pork on low, turn the heat to high and cook for about 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened, otherwise just add and stir in the mixture and cook for the 30 minutes. We served this with cooked rice and green beans. I kept going back and adding more of the sauce over it. Just delicious!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Calabacitas (Pork and Zucchini Stew with Tomatillos)

24 Nov

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.

anotherfoodieblogger

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…

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Asian Grilled-Meat and Veggie Stir Fry

8 Jun
Asian Grilled-Meat Stir Fry

Asian Grilled-Meat Stir Fry

After a false start to spring last month, we jumped back into “sprinter” and had a couple of weeks of below freezing temps at night, and then last week it jumped straight into summer! It’s been in the mid-80s for a week now, and will continue through the weekend. Next week will return to more seasonal temperatures for this part of the country.

So what’s that got to do with food? Well with such hot weather, we’ve been grilling a lot, and ended up with some leftover grilled meats in the fridge. So for a quick and easy meal, we thinly sliced the grilled meats, then chopped up some veggies, and for some color and texture added edamame. At the last minute I also threw in the last of some fresh spinach hanging around. Whip up a quick Asian sauce, cook some rice in a chicken or vegetable broth, and bingo! It’s dinner! What’s nice about this meal is you can use whatever cooked meats and vegetables you have around (fresh or frozen) and also clean out all those leftovers and bits of veggies in the veggie drawer.

Asian Grilled-Meat Stir Fry

Asian Grilled-Meat Stir Fry

Asian Grilled-Meat and Veggie Stir Fry

1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and diced small
1/2 to 1 pound grilled meat, sliced thin (we had pork and chicken)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 to 3 cups sliced and/or chopped vegetables (we used carrots, edamame, mushrooms, green onion, and spinach)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 cup low sodium homemade chicken or beef broth (we used chicken)
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha sauce

Heat a wok or rounded skillet to high heat. Add the sesame oil and ginger and stir for a minute. Add the sliced grilled meats and toss to heat up for a couple of minutes. Remove and tent to keep warm. Add the vegetable oil, then add in the vegetables that take the longest to cook. In our case it was the carrots and edamame. Cook until just starting to soften, then add the garlic and the rest of the quick-cooking vegetables and stir. In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, soy sauce, vinegar, chicken broth, and Sriracha. Pour over the vegetables, then add the meats back in. Stir and cook until the broth sauce has thickened. If too thick, you can add more broth. Continue stirring until vegetables and sauce are to your liking. Serve with rice cooked in chicken or vegetable broth and additional soy sauce if needed.

Asian Grilled-Meat Stir Fry

Asian Grilled-Meat Stir Fry

Cinco de Mayo Charro, or “Borracho” Beans

3 May
Charro, or Borracho Beans

Charro, or Borracho Beans

I spent a good amount of time the other night cooking almost five pounds of burger and over a pound of ground turkey to make the taco filling for my employer’s Cinco de Mayo Taco Bar Potluck. For some insane reason, I also signed up to make some Charro beans for the potluck portion. The team I’m on pitches in all the taco makings (such as the taco meats I cooked), and since I’m on the organizing team I really didn’t have to do that. But I did. So there I was, all in a sweat after work, with four to five pots and pans cooking a variety of ingredients at the same time.  I posted this recipe over a year ago embedded within my Grilled Tri-Tip Steak recipe, so thought I’d dredge it back up for you so you can take a gander at it and see if this is something you would like to make for your own Cinco de Mayo fest! I tried to clarify my directions from a year ago, so I hope that helps.

This is a tried and true Tex-Mex recipe. These beans are served all over the Austin area, but I’ve found nary a restaurant serving this in my dinky Pacific Northwest town. In a nutshell, they are dried pinto beans cooked for a long time with a spicy tomato-chile mixture, along with bacon or some kind of pork. My version reduces the cooking time greatly by using a pressure cooker. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, increase the cooking time by several hours, adding water as needed. The difference between Charro beans and Borracho beans is that you add a bottle of Mexican beer to the the Charro beans. Borracho means “drunk” in Mexican, lol. Enjoy!

Cinco de Mayo Charro, or “Borracho” Beans

2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
2 cups homemade or low salt chicken broth (or sub all water)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 slices cooked bacon, chopped (or 2 tablespoons bacon bits)
1 can Ro*Tel tomatoes (or diced tomatoes and green chiles)
Black pepper to taste
1 bottle or can of beer (preferably Mexican)
Large handful of cilantro, chopped, and more for garnish

Dried Pinto Beans

Dried Pinto Beans (Soaked and Rinsed)

After soaking and rinsing the beans overnight, add them to a pressure cooker with the chicken broth and enough water to cover the beans by an inch or so. Cover the pot with its lid tightly with the pressure regulator on top, and heat over medium high heat until the regulator begins to rock. Turn the heat down until regulator is rocking gently, then cook for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the oil, garlic, and bacon to a heated skillet and saute until the onion starts to get translucent. Add the can of Ro*Tel tomatoes and grind a bunch of  black pepper over it, cook for about five minutes longer, then set aside.

After the beans have cooked 25 minutes, take the pot off the heat and let the pressure reduce on its own. Do  not cool it by running under water, as you will have to let the pressure come down naturally or you will have a foaming mess on your hands. This will take about 15 or 20 minutes. When you can open the lid easily, stir in the tomato mixture, and beer (if using). Take a potato masher or the back of a spoon and smoosh some of the beans to help thicken up the broth. Cook  for another half hour or so.

Garnish with additional cilantro,  if you prefer. This makes a mess of beans, but they are so yummy you’ll find they will disappear quickly. Eat them in a taco or burrito, or sop them up with tortilla chips. These taste even better the next day, too.  Olé!

Hearty Spicy Kale and Pork Soup with White Beans

21 Dec
Hearty Spicy Kale and Pork Soup with White Beans

Hearty Spicy Kale and Pork Soup with White Beans

I had made a small promise to myself earlier this year that I was going to cook something with kale. In all my years of cooking, this is one vegetable that I just never got around to using. Of course, now that I’ve made this absolutely delicious soup with it, I’ll have to rotate it into our diets. It’s chock full of vitamins and calcium and a chemical with anti-cancer properties. YES! More Kale! I have adapted this soup I found from Eating Well magazine by kicking it up a notch and using Hungarian Paprika and Ancho Chile Powder in place of the smoked paprika, among other modifications. The entire family really enjoyed it and trust me, their is no lack of flavor in this hearty soup. We sopped it up with big thick slices of French bread, which you’ll want to pair this with to get every last yummy drop in your bowl.

Hearty Spicy Kale and Pork Soup with White Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless pork  loin or chops, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
Mrs. Dash Table Blend
Ground Black Pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/4 cup red wine
4 Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
4 to 5 cups chicken or turkey broth, homemade or low sodium
1 bunch of kale, ribs removed and chopped
1 can white bean

Kale and Pork Soup with White Beans

Kale and Pork Soup with White Beans

This is one of those recipes where you’ll want to chop everything up in advance. Once all the chopping is done, the preparation is quite simple.  Start out by heating the oil in a dutch oven or soup pot on medium high. Generously season the pork with the Mrs. Dash and black pepper, then add to the pot. Brown the pork on all sides, then remove to a bowl and set aside. Add the chopped onion to the pot, and cook for about five minutes until starting to soften. Then add the minced garlic, Hungarian paprika and ancho chile powder. If you don’t have those two ingredients, you can substitute with regular or smoked paprika and add some crushed red pepper to taste to make it spicy. Stir for about a minute longer, then add the red wine and chopped tomatoes, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom. Now add the broth, then bring to a boil. Add the kale (it looks like a lot, but it all wilts down just like spinach) until it’s mixed in, then turn down the heat to a low simmer. Add the pork back in and the white beans (I used cannellini) and continue simmering until ready to eat. You could probably eat it right away but I wanted the flavors to meld so let it simmer before about an hour before eating. Serve with thick slabs of crusty French bread. Mmmmmm!

Calabacitas (Pork and Zucchini Stew with Tomatillos)

28 Mar
Calabacitas

Calabacitas

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.

Calabacitas

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.

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