My husband LOVES Mexican food. He grew up in Southern California where you can get a vast array of authentic Mexican or Americanized Mexican food, and he just LOVES it. Whereas me, while I grew up in Toronto where there is a huge variety of ethnic food, there weren’t that many Mexican restaurants around during my formative years. The first time I really had authentic Mexican food was when I arrived in California to meet Chris’ parents for the first time.
Being the loving wife that I am, I had to attempt another Mexican dish for Chris’ birthday, and I have to say, this Chipotle Pork Stew came off beeyoo-tifully. Slowly simmered pork shoulder gets tender and flavorful, with the smoky heat of chipotle chili peppers and deep flavor from being simmered in beer with lots of onions, garlic and spices. I served it on top of lentils and rice that I flavored with chicken stock, more onions, and a bit of Mexican saffron.
Serve it with loads of fresh cilantro and fresh pico de gallo, and this stew feels lighter and even summery. You can shred the leftover pork and serve it in warm corn tortillas the next day for lunch, if there ARE any leftovers!
I have no idea if this is authentic or not, but it was delicious, and that’s good enough for me! Our dinner guests were happy, Chris was happy, and I was happy.
Chipotle Pork Stew
Loosely adapted from Epicurious
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced (I used red ones)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large ripe tomato, peeled and diced
1 ½ pounds pork shoulder, cut into one-inch cubes
1 can or bottle of beer
1 cup chicken stock
3 potatoes, cut into one-inch pieces
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground chipotle chilies (or more)
2 bay leaves
¼ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Over medium heat, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the garlic and onions and stir around until slightly translucent. Put the lid on, and sweat the onions for a few minutes until pale golden and aromatic. Lower heat to medium-low, and add the peeled diced tomato. Cook until tomato disintegrates.
Increase heat back to medium. Add the pork and stir until cubes of pork are browned. Add potatoes, beer, and then the chicken stock. Add the cumin, chipotle chili powder, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt. Bring back to a boil. Cover, and lower heat to a simmer.
Simmer approx one hour or more until pork is tender. If sauce isn’t thick enough, simmer with lid off for a few minutes to thicken sauce. Adjust seasonings and serve with rice and lentils and topped with cilantro.
Rice Cooker Rice and Lentils
Don’t forget to soak the lentils before cooking, or they won’t cook at the same rate as the rice.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups rice
3/4 cup lentils, rinsed and soaked for 1 hour
½ an onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Mexican saffron
1 cup chicken stock
2 ½ cups water
Put the olive oil, onion and garlic in the rice cooker. Switch to on and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients and mix thoroughly. Put the cover back on, make sure rice cooker is set to “cook” and let the rice cooker do the rest of the work! When it’s done, stir up the rice and lentils and mix thoroughly to make sure the flavorings are well distributed.