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April 25, 2009

Green chile pork stew with potatoes
Posted by Teresa at 08:00 AM *

Patrick has now suggested several times that I document this one, so here goes.

Several pieces of boneless pork, cut into little cubes
1-2 onions, chopped
1/2 C. almonds
a 12-oz. bottle of Trader José’s Salsa Verde*
1 large fresh tomatillo, or several smaller ones
4-8 red potatoes, depending on their size
1 bottle Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale**
a little dab of habanero oil or some harissa
optionally, a dollop of butter
Greek yogurt
Fry the onions until they start to caramelize and turn gooey. Meanwhile, blanch, peel, and lightly chop your almonds. Remove onions from the pan. Brown the pork and chopped almonds together over a fairly hot fire. Do this in a couple of batches if necessary.

Put the onions back in, add the salsa verde and half the beer, and simmer for fifteen or twenty minutes. Chop up your tomatillo, cut the potatoes into chunks, and add both to the pan along with the rest of the beer. Continue simmering until you can’t stand to not eat it. Don’t cook it dry.

Shortly before serving, put in a dab of habanero oil and/or harissa, and correct the seasoning. If it’s too fat-free, a little butter will help. Dish out into bowls and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Nota bene: In the later stages, this has to be stirred every five or ten minutes or it will stick.


*Quantity is approximate. IMO, Herdez Salsa Verde is better, and Hatch’s Green Chile Enchilada Sauce isn’t quite as good; but Trader José’s Salsa Verde was what I had.

**Or the nearest equivalent brew in the medium-dark malty/nutty/umami range that’s light on the hops.

[Recipe Index]

Comments on Green chile pork stew with potatoes:
#1 ::: Jim Kiley ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 09:27 AM:

Something like this shouldn't make me salivate so early in the morning.

#2 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 09:59 AM:

Should so make you salivate. Savory breakfasts are *good*.

*takes notes for later this week*

#3 ::: cleek ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 10:16 AM:

oh yeah. good stuff.

i make something very similar - but i put it over rice instead of adding potatoes. and Herdez salsa verde is the key, it's just not the same with any other brand.

i call mine "green pork". i've made it with leftover roast chicken, too. not quite as good, but it works.

#4 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 10:25 AM:

That's at least a moderately close cousin to the green chile pork stew that I make, except that mine includes cumin and diced green chiles and doesn't have almonds, and uses chicken stock instead of beer. I have to take what's available by way of salsa verde (when I consider that back when we first moved up here, I don't think anybody in town but me knew what salsa verde even was, actually having a choice of one or two brands is a cause for wonder), so the hotness varies quite a bit.

I make the stew in the crockpot because I'm lazy that way.

#5 ::: Laura from Faraway ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 10:30 AM:

I wonder if it would work the same with fresh green salsa? You think I'm trying to act like a food snob, but as long as one is picking up tomatillos and chopping onions already, it takes forty-five seconds to peel/ roast the tomatillos and garlic...

#6 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 10:45 AM:

Laura@#5: I don't know that it would be the same, but it would undoubtedly be good. Stews are handy that way.

#7 ::: ADM ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 10:47 AM:

I am so making this!

I make a puerco con chile verde that is similar, but more suited to eating with tortillas or in burritos...

about 1-1 1/2 pounds of pork, cut into cubes
put in a pan with about 1/3 c water on medium till the pork starts to sizzle in its own fat

Add a chopped medium onion and a couple of cloves of chopped garlic

when the onions are close to translucent, add a small can of diced tomatoes (the ones with green chilies are good), the Herdez salsa verda (or TJs), several chopped tomatillos, about a cup of chopped nopalitos (they come in strips in a jar, and need to be rinsed), and a can of diced green chilies

Also, about a half teaspoon of ground cumin and a teaspoon of ground coriander -- or just throw in a handful of fresh chopped cilantro.

Salt, pepper, simmer till you can't stand to not eat it.

I'm thinking you could actually just dump this all in a slow-cooker and let it go on low all day, and it would also be fine.

#8 ::: Charley ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 11:15 AM:

Use fresh green chilies and roast them in a cast iron skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes. You can throw the unskinned garlic into the same pan, turn both occasionally. No need to peel and seed if using small peppers (serrano or jalapeno) peel and seed if using larger (New Mexican or Poblano.) Higher heat level for smaller unseeded peppers!

Roasting the tomatillos is good too.

If you pursue fiber in your diet check out the calorie to fiber ratio of tomatillos, I have found no other food with as good a calorie to fiber ratio.

#9 ::: Wendy Bradley ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 04:19 PM:

I confess I've never heard of tomatillos before - does anyone know if they have a different name in the UK?

#10 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 04:33 PM:

At least one UK online grocer has canned tomatillos. You'd also have a fair chance of getting them fresh from London's The Spice Shop.

#11 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 07:44 PM:


You might try Physallis, husk tomato, jamberry, husk cherry, mexican tomato, or ground cherry. My guess is that your best bet would be markets in ethnic Meso-American neighborhoods, though I understand that Germany is a major producer of them in the European market (they grow rapidly, and apparently produce well even in a short-summer climate).

#12 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 08:21 PM:

Clarification Query — does the "C/c" in these recipes mean "cup"?
Because centilitre wouldn't go with other measurements given. Speed of light is right out.

(Australian std cup = 250ml. Probably close enough for these.)

Tomatillos get covered betimes as an exotic ingredient here. Probably large &/or high-end greengrocers would have them in larger cities/conurbations. There are many Asian groceries, quite a few Indian, some European delis; if tomatillos are used in those cuisines. No idea about canned.

#13 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 09:12 PM:

Mez @ 12:

Yes, C means cup, which is near enough 250ml as makes no difference for these sorts of amounts.

#14 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 09:56 PM:

I am rather charmed by the notion that something can be "too fat-free." I suspect I will start randomly critiquing things as such, to see the reaction from the local food martyrs.

And now I have to find salsa verde in wintry Melbourne. And alas and woe, USA Foods is out. But they do carry Herdez.

#15 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 10:27 PM:

Oh yum! I'd add some cumin, though, I think. I have a recipe for a pork and tomatillo dish that is kind of similar -- it calls for rolling the pork cubes in a mix of cumin and chili powder before sauteing them with the onions. Add lots of tomatillos and green chiles and cook down. The beer would be a nice addition.

#16 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 11:10 PM:

Wow that sounds good.

I've never heard of harissa before now. It sounds similar to tuong ot + cumin and spices, but I can't really tell from the description. Anyone familiar with both harissa and tuong ot to compare?

#17 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 11:26 PM:

Should the pork measurement be "pieces" or "pounds"? An approximation of the appropriate amount would be useful (and I'm a pretty good estimator in cooking).

#18 ::: joel hanes ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2009, 02:16 PM:

I make this dish, and variations thereon, whenever Safeway has whole pork loins for $2.00/lb. Use half a loin to make a 4-lb (2 kilo) batch, eat half with tortillas, freeze the other half of the chile; (I barbecue the other half of the loin under Hawaiian/pineaple/orange teriyaki and serve with hot fruit chutneys.)

It's a low-effort dish in large batches, tremendously easy to get right, and the proportions don't matter much. Some cubed loin, peppers, salsa - everything else is to taste.

The main difficulty is the self-restraint involved in continuing to cook until it's really _done_, when the pork becomes so tender it starts to fall apart.

Herdez salsa verde, as noted above, is superior.

If you can't get tomatillos, you can use chopped whole roasted green tomatoes. Neither is essential.
Tomatillos mostly bring acidity, and vary wildly between canned varieties and fresh; so the final taste adjustment I make is to adjust the acidity.
If it's too acid, I very much like the effect adding a tablespoon or two of a roux made with masa harina (or wet, microwave, and mash a quarter of a corn tortilla, then add liquid and mash the lumps until smooth.) I have been known to add two pinches of baking soda to good effect when the acid threatens to crowd out the other flavors.

Here in California, many grocery stores carry several varieties of green chile (the chopped pulp of roasted, skinned, seeded chiles) packed in glass jars. These make a good addition; my New Mexican friends claim that the _right_ way to make this dish is to use only New Mexico green chile and to omit the green salsa ...

As a leftover, it makes a dynamite omelette.

#19 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2009, 03:38 PM:

joel hanes #18: I make this dish, and variations thereon, whenever Safeway has whole pork loins for $2.00/lb.

Ummm, I don't think I'd want to eat pork loin that only cost $2.00/lb.

#20 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2009, 03:54 PM:

Earl@19: Ummm, I don't think I'd want to eat pork loin that only cost $2.00/lb.

If it's anything like the pork loin at $1.99 we see around here about once a month, it's a bulk purchase, the whole 7-9 pounds of meat. I generally cube up about 1/3 of it for stew, and cut about 1/3 up into slices, and leave 1/3 whole for roasting, then vacuum-pack them for the freezer.

#21 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2009, 07:55 PM:

Clifton @16, by "tuong ot" do you mean sriracha? Bright red chile sauce, the most common brand (Huy Fong) comes in a bottle with a rooster on it?

If so, harissa isn't really very much like it. In addition to the spices in harissa, harissa is made with dried chiles, sriracha with fresh; this means harissa has an earthy, smoky taste while sriracha has a very "bright" taste to me. In a pinch, to be honest, I'd make harissa rather than using sriracha as a substitute.

#22 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2009, 08:11 PM:

Sadly, I'm just not used to making bulk purchases of non-processed food, so I have no perspective on the subject that isn't based on irrational prejudices (like "good meat must be expensive"). At the moment, I'm annoyed that the low-sodium spice mixes that I can find are by default high-potassium.

#23 ::: ADM ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2009, 09:41 PM:

Earl Cooley @22 -- for a dish like this, you don't want the expensive cuts. This is a slow simmer dish, and the leaner, more expensive cuts tend to have less flavor and can be rather chewy.

Expensive =/= good. With meat, you have to pick the right meat for the right prep.

A nice beef tenderloin makes lovely steaks, for example, but it makes a crap pot roast.

#24 ::: Ben Engelsberg ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2009, 10:14 PM:


What's the textural quality of the almond bits in this recipe? Do they make crunchy bits, or do they mostly sublimate into extra thickening for the stew? Do they behave in some other way?


#25 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2009, 10:49 PM:

Earl, #19, I do this sometimes with bulk meat sales, although I usually portion it as soon as I get home, keep a couple of portions in the fridge to use the next few days, and put the rest of the portions in the freezer. Because the freezer is small and I don't have a lot of money, I'll usually have a lot of one kind of meat and have to use a good batch of it up before there's another bulk meat sale and I can put more in and get more variety.

As to tomatillos, we get them in the farmer's markets here in NoVA as well as fresh in the stores.

#26 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2009, 02:08 AM:

Sriracha (which is a particular brand) is close to tuong ot, and I believe it even says it on the label in Vietnamese, but it isn't what I think of as standard tuong ot. In particular, it doesn't have the substantial wallop of garlic in what I think of as proper tuong ot, like Tuong Ot Voi Toi, or Tuong Ot Viet Nam; and as you say it's kind of a bright hot. It sounds like the others are a step closer to harissa but not really that much like. I'll have to see if I can get my hands on some.

#27 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 27, 2009, 02:18 AM:

Ben @24, they're toasty crunchy bits. If you want some of them melding into the stew, take part of the blanched almonds and grind it finer than the rest, and don't throw it in to cook with the other almonds and the pork until that process is about halfway done.

#28 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2009, 07:36 AM:

Clifton, you should try harissa. It's salty, garlicky, and intensely savory, and fits into a lot of dishes.

An alternate use is to get some real baguettes and high-end butter -- Plugra's good for this -- and make bread and butter with a bare scraping of harissa on top of it.

#29 ::: Brendan ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2009, 11:57 AM:

While you have your pork out (and we're all trying to get rid of our pork)try this!CARNE DE PUERCO EN GUAJILLO SAUCE

4-5 lbs. Pork (shoulder is good) cubed into inch and one half chunks
8 cloves garlic minced
1 medium onion chopped
1 ½ tbls. Cumin
salt to taste
12 Guajillo peppers dried
2 Oranges
Cilantro ½ bunch

In a large heavy pan with lid cook the pork over medium high to high heat adding the garlic and spices. An amount of liquid will release from the pork. Cook until the liquid is gone and then brown the meat.

Slit open the Guajillos and deseed and devein them. Spread them open and lay them flat in a pan on medium high heat. Press down on them for about 5-10 seconds. DO NOT SCORCH!! This releases the oils in the pepper. Do them in batches till all are done. Boil two cups of water and put the peppers in the water. Remove from heat. Add the onion and let this sit for 10 minutes. Then throw all into the blender into a blender and puree. Add chicken broth as needed.

In the heavy pan you should have nicely browned chunks with a fond on the bottom of the pan. Add the guajillo sauce, cilantro, cumin, and bring to a simmer. Cut the oranges in half and squeeze the juice into the pan. Throw in the orange halves and cover. Simmer for an hour or two or until tender, adding water as needed. Serve over steamed or Mexican (Southside Shaylas’ Rice).

#30 ::: Pat Kight ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2009, 02:22 AM:

Harissa is really easy to make at home.

I generally add potatoes to stew-like dishes well before acidic ingredients like tomatillos, since the acid can slow the dissolution of the hemicellulose in the potato cell walls and keep them from getting tender. I assume the long, slow simmering of this dish overcomes that problem.

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

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