Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pork Stew (Guisado de Puerco)

One of my absolutely favorite cuts of meat is pork shoulder. As a roast, as country ribs, boneless, whatever. It's a tough cut that takes some time to cook, but the result is super-tender meat that's never dry. Or maybe you have to work really hard on it to get it dry.

This time around, boneless country ribs were on sale (Wheee! I love a sale!) and I decided to do a stew.

Meanwhile, I had peppers left over from some Marx Foods challenges. I've entered a ton of them, and many have included dried peppers. So I rooted around in my basket o' dried peppers and emerged with some puya peppers and some New Mexico peppers.

And then for the fun of it, I used some blue potatoes from Frieda's Specialty Produce. I was curious whether the potatoes would color the sauce, or whether the sauce would color the potatoes. Both are pretty strong colors.

Pork Stew with Peppers

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into cubes
1 can beer
3 dried New Mexico chiles
3 dried puya chiles
1 green pepper, cut into chunks
1 onion, diced
5 small purple potatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 teaspoon oregano (Mexican, if you have it)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt, to taste

Put the pork in your slow cooker and add the beer plus one can of water. Cook on low until the pork is tender.

It's hard to say exactly how long this will take - it depends on the pork you bought, how large the pieces are, and how hot the "low" setting on your slow cooker is. Figure about 4 hours and cook it longer if you need to.

You want it fork tender, but you'll be cooking it longer the next day, so don't cook it until it's falling apart.

Refrigerate the pork, with all the liquid, until well-chilled. I usually let it sit in the refrigerator until the next day.

The next day, put the pork back in the crockpot along with the green pepper, onion, potatoes, oregano, tomato paste, and salt.

Put the dried peppers in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let the peppers soak until they are softened.

Remove the stems, seeds and ribs from the peppers, and puree until smooth. If you need some liquid to get the peppers pureed, use some of the chilled liquid from the pork.

Pass the pepper puree through a fine strainer to remove errant seeds and bits of skin, and add it to the slow cooker.

Cook on low until the vegetables are cooked through - about an hour. Taste and add more salt, if needed.

Serve hot. I like it over rice.