PORK AND TOMATILLO STEW

This is an easy slow-cooked meal and my favorite way to use tomatillos. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can cook this is a large ovenproof casserole dish or Dutch oven at 250 degrees F.

NOTES:

The amount of tomatillos (and pork) has some wiggle room, so if you don’t have the exact amount, don’t worry.

In place of the ground fennel seed, coarsely chop a fresh fennel bulb (fronds included) and roast with the rest of the vegetables.

This is great over plain steamed/boiled rice, or wrapped in a flour tortilla.

Queso fresco is worth searching out for this, but a not-too salty feta works well as a substitute. Monterey Jack cheese would work, too.

During a chili pepper emergency (i.e., I did not plan well when grocery shopping), I made this with 2-3 chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. That worked out well, so I’ve made that version again on purpose. The canned peppers don’t need roasting-just add along with the fennel and chicken stock when you are blending the vegetables.

If you are making this for people who aren’t fond of spicy food, you can leave out the hot peppers entirely. Sometimes, I make non-spicy version for my family; the kids eat it as is, and the grown-ups put hot sauce on theirs (green Tobasco sauce is great with this, but your favorite will work just fine).

Ingredients

  • 1 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled (or 1 tblsp chopped garlic)
  • 1 white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 serrano peppers, halved, with stems and seeds removed (jalapeños work fine here, too)
  • 2 corn tortillas,  torn into quarters or eighths
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tblsp vegetable oil
  • 2.5 lbs pork stew meat, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • salt, to taste

To garnish:

  • queso fresco, feta, or Monterey Jack cheese
  • chopped cilantro

Preheat your broiler. Put the tomatillos, garlic, onion, and  hot peppers on a rimmed baking sheet or dish and broil until the vegetables begin to blacken, stirring occasionally. It usually takes me about 20 mins, stirring every five minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Add the vegetable oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Add the pork and cook until it is browned on all sides. Add pork to the slow cooker.

In a blender, put the broiled vegetables (along with any juices that have accumulated in the pan), ground fennel, corn tortillas, and 1 cup chicken stock. Blend until smooth, adding more chicken stock if necessary. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker, over the pork. If you have leftover chicken stock, pour that into the slow cooker, too, right on top of everything else.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the pork is tender. Add salt, to taste, about 10 minutes before serving. I usually add 1-2 tsp. The chicken stock  I use is homemade, with no salt added; if you are using a salty stock, you will probably want to add less salt.

Serve garnished with cheese and cilantro, over rice or wrapped in a tortilla.