Stews in New Mexico tend to be simple affairs—some meat, some onions, and a richly flavored sauce steeped in tradition. If you’re used to the black-bean-and-avocado Mexicali cuisine or the greasy, melty plate of Tex-Mex, you might be surprised at what you get in the northern parts of New Mexico.
If you’re not familiar with tomatillos, this is a perfect introduction. They’re the funny green tomatoes that come in a papery husk. Simply remove the husk and wash the sticky film from their skins. They have a lot less moisture than a tomato, and their flavor isn’t really similar at all. Tomatillos have their own bright, almost tangy attitude.
This little bowl of warm comfort can be simmered stovetop or in your slow cooker. If fresh tomatillos aren’t available, feel free to use canned ones if you’re cool with that, or even a jar or two of salsa verde.
2 lbs. pork stew meat or pork shoulder, cut into cubes
salt and fresh ground pepper
lard, bacon grease, or cooking fat of choice
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. fresh tomatillos or 2 cans tomatillos or 2 jars salsa verde
1 cup green chiles, chopped
handful fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. salt
4 cups chicken broth
Optional Garnishes: cilantro, sour cream or Greek yogurt, cheese, diced avocado
1) Sprinkle S&P over pork chunks. Melt cooking fat in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add pork when fat is hot and sear until browned on a few sides. Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to do this in batches so you don’t crowd the meat and steam it instead of searing it. When all meat is browned, put it on a rimmed baking dish and set aside.
2) Add onion and garlic to pot, adding more fat if needed, and stir. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, add tomatillos, green chiles, cilantro, spices, and salt to a blender or food processor. Add broth until it reaches halfway up the blender and purée. Again, depending on the size of your gadget, you may need to do this in batches.
4) Add pork and any accumulated juices back to pot with onions and garlic, or put meat, onions, and garlic in a slow cooker. Pour chile verde sauce over. If mixture needs more liquid, add more broth. Cover the pot and cook over medium-low heat for 2 hours (low heat for slow cooker), or until pork is tender. You can add broth along the way if it needs it, or alternatively, if you want to thicken it, leave the lid off and turn up the heat to high at the end to reduce the liquid. Serve with garnishes.