Nearly two years ago I attempted to make a certain dish for Mike that he dreamily talked about from his years of living in California during the dot com boom. Although the dish was acceptable at the time, I have been plagued ever so slightly by the possibility that I could do a whole lot better. In fact, I knew I was capable of greatness in this regard.
The premise of the dish was simple- a pork in green chile sauce served with blue corn tortillas. Seriously, how hard could it be? We’re blessed to live in a richly varied urban setting where one long and delicious section of either Twin City has vast ethnic offerings; I didn’t need to make my green chile sauce from scratch, nor the blue corn tortillas. I just needed to get in my car.
The meat option is simple when it comes to making a pork dish that requires a long slow cook- boneless country style pork ribs. The meat holds up well to a slow simmer and is deeply flavorful, not to mention cost-efficient. With enough brain-storming and enough drive, I put it together in my cast-iron dutch oven, placed the cover on and crossed my fingers.
Like I needed to worry……
Somewhere in the past year or two, I think I’ve started to really find my cooking mojo. It’s not like I didn’t know what I was doing before- I mean, I’ve been cooking since I was a wee lass, but it seems like I’ve managed to figure out in my culinary brain really how to make a wide variety of food work a whole lot better. It isn’t just about how to cook well, it’s more like how to cook smart. And it is no less apparent than in the way this dish turned out.
Most of my readers know that food for me speaks greatly of the love I have in my heart for those closest to me. Food is how I so deeply express my emotions, and since I know how important and beloved this dish was to Mike way back in the days BK (that’s ‘Before Kate’ ) it really meant something to me to be able to recreate it, or at least a really good rendition of it, for him to enjoy. He’s not all that into eating meat, much to our Little Carnivore’s chagrin, so when he specifically requests a meat dish, I know it needs to really be something else.
And baby, this dish was something else!!! The pork just melted in our mouths and had a decent spicy kick that was enticing but not at all overwhelming. I really look forward to leftovers.
(jump for recipe)
Pork in Green Chile Sauce
1 pkg boneless country style pork ribs (ours had five nice meaty ones)
1 red pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
2-3 medium onions
4 cloves of garlic
2 roma tomatoes
1 jar green chile sauce of choice
Cumin, chili powder, mexican oregano, salt and pepper
Blue corn tortillas, shredded lettuce or spinach, diced tomato, sour cream, guacamole etc…..
Thinly slice the onions, pepper, jalapeno (include seeds and membranes), garlic and tomato and keep separate.
Liberally dust seasonings over pork pieces and allow to sit while you begin.
Heat oil of choice in dutch oven or stockpot (with a lid) and when shimmering, add onions. Stir and cook over medium high heat until onions brown slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove to bowl. Add about a tablespoon of oil to pot and add some of the pork. Don’t crowd it- you really want to brown the meat well. Allow to cook without turning for 6-8 minutes, turn and deeply brown the other side. Stack on top of one another to make room for remaining pieces and when all pork is browned well, place in single layer in pan and pour in about a cup of water, stirring to loosen any fond in the pan. Add in cooked onion, red and jalapeno pepper and garlic. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and cover, allowing to simmer until meat begins to break apart easily, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Stir on occasion in case anything is sticking.
When meat is tender enough to pull apart with forks, carefully pour off the cooking water, saving any solids and break the meat into bite sized chunks. Pour the jar of green chile sauce into the pan and add in the sliced tomato. Stir to combine and continue to cook on low, covered, for about 20-30 more minutes. Break down pork more if desired.
Blue corn tortillas can be fried crisp in a hot pan with a little oil or simply warmed in the oven or microwave. Top with pork and additional green chile sauce if desired, lettuce, tomato and other delicious condiments. Or wrap them up burrito style.