The weather cooled down long enough for me to try one of the long braises I crave at this time of year. According to my friend Raul, this dish is usually roasted on a spit, but since I lack that equipment in my small apartment kitchen, I went with the old Dutch oven. Do not be scared of the amount of peppers. There is heat, but it is gentle though lingering. The pork becomes incredibly tender and the onion and cilantro relish adds a bit of freshness and bite. Initially, I served this with warm corn tortillas which gave me a chance to show off the tortilla warmer and salsa dish that my sister gave me for Christmas, but this stew also goes really well with rice.
One year ago: Lentil Soup with Tomatoes, Kale, and Saffron Yogurt
Two years ago: Chicken Satay
Three years ago: Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables
(Adapted from Saveur)
*Note, the recipe calls for blending the sauce in a blender. My blender met it's unfortunate demise when I made frozen hot chocolate, so I used an immersion blender. If you do the same, make sure to be very careful when blending to avoid red splatters all over your kitchen.
Makes 8-10 servings
5 ounces dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed
2 tablespoons New Mexico chile powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice of 1/2 lime
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Warm corn tortillas for serving
Onion and cilantro relish for serving
Heat the chiles in a 6 quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook, turning occasionally until toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the chiles to a large bowl and cover with 8 cups of boiling water. Let the chiles sit for 20 minutes. Drain the chiles, and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid. Transfer the chiles to a blender. Add the reserved liquid, chile powder, honey, vinegar, cumin, cloves, cayenne, and lime juice. Puree until smooth and set aside.
Return the Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add the oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the pork on all sides, about 12 minutes per batch.
Add all of the pork back to the pot with any accumulated liquids. Add the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot loosely. Cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened and the pork is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add salt as needed. Serve with warm tortillas and onion and cilantro relish.