... it was a dark and stormy night. No, actually it was a damp and dismal day, the kind of day when only a fragrant kitchen would improve the afternoon. What is more appealing than the smell of roasting peppers? or more tantalizing than the sizzle of onions and garlic? You see where I'm heading with this, right? Southwest something! The refrigerator and freezer held a variety of protein choices, and any of them would have worked with chiles, onions and garlic. I think cardboard might even taste good with this sauce, but I chose pork. Mexican Pork with Poblano Peppers, yum.
In the midst of chopping, slicing and organizing my ingredients, I broke into giggles and turned to check the computer. Sure enough, last year around the same time I grumbled about March Madness (my own version, not the basketball tournament). The 2010 post was about chile verde, another tasty pork and poblano recipe. The two recipes showcase similar ingredients, but the preparations create different results. RL prefers this year's dish... a very diplomatic choice on his part. I'll share the recent recipe, this newly-declared favorite that's delicious, and quite a bit speedier to prepare.
Mexican Pork with Poblano Chili
Based on Rick Bayless' Puerco a la Mexicana in Mexican EverydayServes 4
2 large fresh poblano chiles
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 medium onion, in 1/4-inch slice or medium chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 small jalapeno, minced (optional)
1 can diced tomatoes in juice, drained
1 can beef broth
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 cup frozen corn (I like Mexicorn with peppers and beans)
Optional accompaniments: fresh cilantro, avocado slices, shredded cheese, warm tortillas, salsa verde, etc.
- Place the peppers on a foil-covered sheet; roast about 4 inches below a preheated broiler element; turn regularly, until blistered and blackened on all sides. Remove peppers from the oven, cover with a kitchen towel and cool until you can handle them comfortably. While the peppers cool...
- Pat the meat dry using paper towels, then salt all over. Heat the oil in a large skilled over medium-high heat; add the meat cubes in a single layer; stir and cook until browned on all sides. Do NOT overcrowd the pan or you will stew the meat instead of browning it. Use a strainer or slotted spoon to remove the meat from the pan; set aside on a plate. (You want to leave as much oil/grease in the pan as possible.) Don't wipe out the pan, but set it aside.
- Rub the charred skin off the chiles; remove stems, seeds and veins. Cut the peppers into 1/4-inch strips, about 3-inches in length.
- Reheat the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion pieces; stir and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapenos and poblano strips; cook and stir briefly until fragrant. Then add the drained tomato bits, beef broth, and spices. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the meat and corn to the pan; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the pork is just cooked through (still pink in the middle). This will just take a few minutes - don't overcook the pork.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve in a bowl, with your choice of accompaniments.
* I served the sauced pork in crispy, oven-baked tortilla shells. Oops! The bottoms grew soggy and they were not knife and fork friendly. Impractical, but they were cute and the filling was still delicious. Next time I will use bowls.
* Chicken thighs are a good substitute for the pork, but chunks of breast meat might become too dry after the browning and simmering.