Monday, November 17, 2014

chile verde

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the third year of law school is a joke. By that point, most students have jobs lined up and are merely coasting until summer, when the nightmare that is the bar exam rears its ugly head. Personally, I have found this last year of school to be both pleasant and frustrating in equal parts. Certainly having a lot of free time on one's hands can be enjoyable - time to read for pleasure, to take long walks, to sleep in late - but it is coupled with the sense that one is merely treading water - idling rather than jumping in to the next phase of life and work. Naturally impatient, I find this irksome at times and have to remind myself to savor the small, lovely things that come with an excess of free time. 

Over the past few weeks, we've had a number of small dinner parties. Our apartment is still woefully unfurnished, which leaves us to steal borrow the armchairs in our lobby whenever we have guests over, but it has been such fun to do a bit of entertaining. The recipe I have today is something we've made for guests twice in the last month - a pork chile verde that Daniel found and then tweaked to fit our needs. It was something of a treat for me to sit back and act as sous chef, drinking a glass of wine while Daniel methodically chopped piles of chiles and tomatillos and trimmed several pounds of pork butt. All I had to do was throw together some guacamole and fix the arroz verde once our guests arrived. Apparently I'm getting used to this whole relaxing thing after all.

This is a great meal for guests because, in addition to being delicious, all of the work can be done in advance, leaving you free to drink margaritas and gobble down blue corn chips with your friends rather than furiously rushing around the kitchen at the last minute. I'm so glad Daniel added it to our collective cooking arsenal.

Chile verde with pork (via Guy Fieri)

  • 2lbs pork butt cut into 1-inch cubes and trimmed of fat
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 anaheim chiles
  • 6 tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/8 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
Heat the one tablespoon vegetable oil in medium dutch oven over medium heat, adding the peppers, onion and garlic. Cook until translucent then remove from heat. Place in a bowl to the side and wipe out the inside of the dutch oven.

Char the tomatillos on an open flame on the stovetop until the skin begins to blacken. Remove from heat, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, letting them stand for 20 minutes. Chop roughly and set aside. 

Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to the dutch oven and heat over high heat. Brown the meat, roughly 5 minutes on each side in batches then set aside. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and vinegar, allowing it to reduce for a couple of minutes, then add the onion and pepper mixture, the tomatillos and the pork back to the dutch oven. Add chicken stock, oregano, cumin, and salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Let simmer one hour.

Serve with tortillas, black beans, rice, pico de gallo, roasted red peppers, and sour cream.

Arroz verde al poblano (via Rick Bayless' Mexican Kitchen)
  • 1 2/3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 fresh poblano chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 12 sprigs cilantro
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup medium-grain rice
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Put the chicken broth and chiles in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes, until chiles are soft. Add the cilantro to the pot and then, using an immersion blender, process until smooth [alternatively, you could pour the mixture into a food processor]. Strain through a mesh strainer, using a spatula to press as much of the liquid through as possible. 

Wipe the saucepan clean, add the oil and heat over medium. Add the rice, onion and garlic and cook for about 6 minutes until onion is softened. Add the warm chile liquid to the rice, stirring the mixture together, then cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes to complete the cooking. 

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