Pork and Tomatillo Stew
If you’ve been hanging around for a while, then you already know that I love a good glass of a Rhone varietal. I’m not picky, a glass of Grenache, Syrah, Viognier, Roussane, or Mourvedére will do. Heck, I’ve got six or seven bottles of various GSMs (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedére) begging for someone to rescue them from the bottle right now. Today is not their day. Tomorrow probably won’t work out for them, either.
Despite the hot temperatures outside, at the end of the day I’m craving something substantial that hugs me, theoretically speaking. Whether it’s 100º or 44º outside, it’s nice to have a tried and tested dish that works time after time. This is a very forgiving recipe: if you don’t have all of the vegetables, don’t sweat it. In the past, I’ve tossed in bell peppers and star anise (don't ask how that happened).
For this pork and tomatillo stew, I’m reaching for a Syrah. If you have a blend of Syrah and Viognier, that will work as well. Or if you prefer a white wine, Viognier is the obvious choice. The sweet tobacco and smoke aromas and flavors typically found in a Syrah compliment this dish so well that I won’t serve this dish with anything but a peppery-Syrah or Syrah blend. A GSM may not have the body or tannin structure to tame the fattiness of the pork, so unless you’re familiar with a certain GSM blend, stick to a straight Syrah such as this one from Wrath.
If you’re unfamiliar with Syrah, consider it a spicier alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon. Like Cabernet Sauvignon, it can be aged for upwards of ten years and goes fantastically with more expensive cuts of meat, which can sometimes be a bit fattier. Though Syrah can sometimes be lighter on the tannin scale and therefore can be enjoyed alongside leaner cuts of meat. Quality Syrah tends to be slightly cheaper than Cabernet Sauvignon.
This spicy dish is overflowing with vegetables and it’s the perfect conclusion to a long week at the office or after a long, hot day working outside in the sun doing yard work. With tender meat that flakes off your fork, serve it with crunchy tortilla chips for the ultimate comfort food. You can brown the meat the night before and toss everything into the slow cooker in the morning, or cook it in a Dutch oven, which I feel produces more flavors and tender meat and vegetables.
If you are looking to reheat this dish, slow and steady wins the race. Simply put the Dutch oven back into the oven to reheat. Speaking of leftovers, cook some white rice and grab some tortillas from your local bakery because this stew makes outstanding burritos!
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless pork loin, cut into 3 inch chunks and generously seasoned with sat and pepper
2 large celery ribs, diced
1 small red onion, diced
2 Anaheim chiles, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons mild chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
pinch of dried oregano
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup diced carrots
two 6-ounce russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into 1-inch dice
chipped cilantro, for garlic
corn tortilla chips or broken hard taco shells, for serving
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot and smoking, add the pork and cook over high heat until lightly browned on both sides. Add the celery and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the diced chiles, garlic, cumin, oregano, and chile powder, stirring frequently until fragrant.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Add the potatoes, tomatillos, tomatoes and carrots. Cover and summer over low heat until the pork is cooked, about 25 minutes.
Remove the pork from the pot and shred with two forks or an immersion blender.
Simmer the stew over medium-high heat until the mixture has thickened, about 12 minutes.
Return the pork to the pot and season with hot sauce more salt and pepper.
Ladle into bowls, garnish with cilantro and serve with a handful of tortilla chips or broken hard taco shells.