Sometimes I'm at a loss. There are only a few choices of protein that I keep in the freezer: chicken, beef and pork, and its variants such as sausage, smokies and other obscure meat products. (Oh yeah, and a couple of pieces of salmon that I realllly need to use up one of these days, recipe anyone?). Anyway, back to the loss. Here's how it usually goes: if I pull beef out of the freezer, I'm inclined to go for a roast or some type of beef stew like Beef Balsamico or zuurvlees. If the choice falls on chicken, I come up with a myriad of ways to prepare it: roast, stewed, fried, grilled......you name it. But with pork, all I can think of is shredded pork. And that's it. And I really wasn't in the mood for shredded pork.
So when I found* a pork picnic roast in the freezer, I knew I had to come up with a different recipe. Browsing the web, I came across various ways to prepare "pork chile verde" and remembered that several months ago a dear friend from Colorado, Fred Fell, emailed me a recipe of pork chile verde. At first glance it seemed a bit spicy because of the jalapeños, and there was no bean in sight. And you know me, I love beans. I automatically assumed that "chile" meant beans. Well, not so much. Chile can also be eh...chile. As in peppers. Duh.....it took me a minute or two to process that thought. And here is me pretending to know it all!
But ofcourse, between one thing and another, I could not find the recipe and I didn't just want to get any old recipe from the web. I emailed Fred and hey presto! he responded this morning with the recipe. Just in time to get some essentials at the store and get cracking!
Now, Fred is going to wonder why I even bothered to ask him about the recipe at all: I ended up using a variety of different items that were not the original ingredients. But that's just how it goes, and I can't help it. I start following a recipe and halfway through I think: "Hmmmmmm, I wonder what happens when I use this instead?" or "Would that other thing be just as tasteful?". Yeah, so I'm useless following recipes, what can I say?
Chile Verde Pork
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 lb of tomatillos, husked
1 can of roasted green chiles
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 cups of warm water
1/2 chicken bouillon cube (or 2 cups of chicken stock instead of the water and the bouillon)
1 cup of cilantro, stems and leaves
Heat the oil in a skillet or Dutch oven and quickly brown the pork, adding the cumin,the oregano and the pepper. Plug in the crockpot and transfer the pork after draining the fat, keeping enough fat in the pan for the next step. Sauté the onion and the garlic in the fat and add to the meat in the crockpot. Slice the tomatillos in half and place them, together with the unpeeled garlic, cut side down in the skillet. Cover and roast for about five minutes, then turn them over and roast for another five minutes or until the garlic feels soft. Put the tomatillos, skin and all, in a blender bowl and add the canned green chiles and the cilantro. Squeeze the soft garlic out of the skins and add them to the bowl. Quickly blend into a smooth, green sauce.
Now add the sauce to the crockpot. Simmer for two hours until meat is tender. Taste and see if you want to adjust the flavor with some more cumin, cilantro, salt or pepper. Remember, a recipe is just a guideline! Serve with rice and tortillas and a refreshing dollop of sour cream.
What can I say? Heaven must be green. The meat is tender, the sauce is flavorful and has a lovely tomato-ey flavor but not the acidity from a red tomato, and the cilantro is a wonderful touch. You just have to try it, I guess! If you want to add some heat, blend in a jalapeño or two.
* It's not like I open the freezer one day and go "hey ho! what's this?". Well, actually I do but what I meant to say is that I was the one who put the roast there in the first place, it's not like I have some little gnomes running around stuffing food into my freezer. Or that my freezer is so huge that I lose things in there. Although I do sometimes wonder....I've been cooking out of this thing for the last three years now and there is just no end in sight. Maybe the gnome story is not so far-fetched after all?