New Mexico Pork and Green Chile Stew

I thought it would all melt and I could convince myself it really hadn’t happened. But, at the end of the day following the recent first snow that was more than a random flake, it was still there, covering the blanket of leaves waiting to be raked and jumped in (by the kids, of course). Even if it does melt in the next few days, I know it’s only a matter of time before its flaky friends come to stay until spring. It looks like stew season is here!

My idea of stew is often the classic beef, potatoes, carrots, etc. that my mom used to slowly, er, stew, for a long time and meat guru Bruce Aidells’ notion of stews is linked to memories of his mom’s enameled iron pot slowly bubbling away on the back of the stove, but she also usually used the really tough cuts that she bought on sale, and they took hours to cook and days to eat. But you don’t have to use tougher cuts to make a stew, according to Aidells. A stew is anything that cooks in a flavorful liquid, and if you use tender and quick-cooking ingredients, you can make some great stew in an hour or less.

It can also be spiced with a range of seasoning, such as those of the Southwest, in Aidells’ following recipe, which appeared in Real Food. Green chili is the mainstay of New Mexico cuisine. It’s poured over burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and just about everything else. In this stew it’s the main attraction, filling bowls garnished with shredded cheese, green onions, cilantro, and other goodies. Serve with warm tortillas or rice and pinto beans.

So the next time you have an hour to spare, whip up this deeply flavorful stew—and go ahead and embrace stew season.

New Mexico Pork and Green Chile Stew

Serves 6

Spice mix:
2 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. paprika
½ tsp. coriander
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2½ lb. boneless country-style pork ribs or Boston pork roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 c. chopped white onion
½ c. chopped carrot
½ c. chopped celery
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
2 c. chicken stock
6 Poblano or Anaheim chilies, fire-roasted, peeled, and diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1 bunch cilantro, stems finely chopped, leaves coarsely chopped
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
1 15-oz. can hominy, drained
2 tsp. grated lime zest
¼ c. tequila (optional)
Lime juice to taste

½ c. thinly sliced green onion
2 c. shredded Jack cheese
1 avocado, sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges
Hot sauce
Remaining cilantro leaves

Combine all ingredients for spice mix and sprinkle generously over pork cubes. Save any extra to add to stew.

In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and brown pork cubes all over in two batches, about 5 to 7 minutes per batch. Remove meat and add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add stock and scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Return meat to pot and add remaining spice mix, chiles, cilantro stems, oregano, hominy, lime zest, and tequila (if desired). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until pork is just tender, 30 minutes or more. Add half of the cilantro leaves and cook 3 minutes more. Season stew to taste with salt, freshly ground pepper, and lime juice.

Serve in shallow bowls and let guests add their own garnishes.

Nutrition info New Mexico Pork Stew (per serving): CALORIES 688 (373 from fat); FAT 41g (sat. 16g); CHOL 150mg; SODIUM 697mg; CARB 27g; FI BER 8g; PROTEIN 53g

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.