From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This quick braise makes a wonderful family dinner. It's also tasty enough to serve to guests who enjoy a casual Southwestern meal. While this nearly effortless stew can be on the table in less than an hour, its flavor improves with age. That makes it a perfect candidate for a make-ahead meal. The recipe was developed by Grace Parisi for Food and Wine magazine. It is straight forward and easy to follow, but I wanted to expand on it a bit. The original recipe calls for cubes of pork shoulder. Unfortunately, pork shoulder is not always available in my area. I am, however, always able to get pork country ribs that are boneless, so that's what I use when preparing this dish. The ribs come from the blade end of the loin which is close to the shoulder and they make a great substitute for the shoulder in recipes such as this. I also wanted to talk a bit about browning the meat. One Perfect Bite has an eclectic group of followers. Some of you are beginning cooks and others of you are old pros who know more about cooking than I do. That's why I never use the word teach when visiting with you. As far as I'm concerned, only trained cooks and food professionals whose bona fides are recognized within the cooking community truly teach, the rest of us share and play nicely with others. What does that have to do with browning the meat? If new cooks follow the recipe as it is written below, attempting to brown the pork in one fell swoop will cause it to steam rather than brown. While it takes a bit more time, browning the pork in batches will yield lovely caramelized cubes that make for a beautiful and eye-pleasing stew. So, brown the pork in a single layer and don't turn or stir it for at least a minute. Let it sizzle a bit and then give the pan a shake or turn the meat to expose another surface to the heat. I'm very careful about the Mexican and Southwestern dishes I make for the Silver Fox because there are other cuisines far more to his liking. This dish, however, is a repeater at my table and he really enjoys it. I think you will too. Here is how it is made.
Southwestern Pork and Poblano Stew...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Grace Parisi and Food and Wine magazine
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds trimmed boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 pound mild green chiles, such as poblanos and Anaheims—halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced
3 serrano chiles, seeded and thinly sliced (keep some seeds for spicier flavor)
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
Lime wedges, warm corn tortillas and rice, for serving
1) Heat olive oil in a large heavy pan until almost smoking. Season pork cubes with salt and black pepper and add them to pan. Cook pork over high heat, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes.
2) Add onion, green chiles, serrano chiles and garlic. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring once or twice, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
3) Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer stew over moderately low heat until pork is just tender and broth is reduced by about half, about 20 minutes.
4) Stir in the 1/4 cup of cilantro and season with salt and black pepper. Garnish stew with cilantro and serve with lime wedges, corn tortillas and rice.
Make Ahead The stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
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