- Pork stew with tomatoes and tomatillos (recipe below). Meaty and tart, like a fireworks display of rich flavor. -
Summer isn’t a time of year most people think about soups and stews. They want fruits, veggies, and cold thing – dishes that don’t require that you turn on the oven. I’m a huge fan of cooling foods when it’s hot out, but after a while I get bored with fruit platters, pasta salads, and gazpacho-style soups. I eventually get bored with grilling, too, if I’ve hitting the barbecue more than twice a week.
With a bumper crop of tomatoes and tomatillos, though, you’ve got to do something with them besides salsa and salads. And how are you going to get your protein fix if you’re suffering early-onset grilling ennui? In my house, that’s when we bust out the summer stew recipes.
This Mexican-style stew is rich and meaty, while still being light and full of veggies to take advantage of the incredibly bounty that is no doubt overflowing your counters and crisper drawers. It’s braised at a relatively low temperature so it won’t totally overheat your kitchen. Pork makes a great addition to summer stews, especially when paired with seasonal veggies like tomatoes and tomatillos. And if you’ve got pounds of tomatillos hanging out in your pantry, this is hands down my favorite tomatillo recipe for putting them to good use.
Speaking of pork, there’s lots of great news in the pork world right now. Not only is there a series of new names for your favorite pork cuts, but with food prices rising, pork is still one of the most affordable proteins you can buy for your family this summer. According to the USDA, the new Porterhouse Pork Chop is 61% less expensive than a Porterhouse beef steak, and the New York Pork Chop is 65% less expensive than a New York strip. That means with a little planning, you can feed a family of four for under $10!
How am I enjoying my pork this summer? Well, bone-in rib-eye pork chops are my favorite cut of pork, and I usually have a few waiting in my refrigerator for impromptu dinners. I recently had a friend over for dinner, and a last minute phone call revealed that they, too, were bringing a friend. With only two chops in the fridge and a sudden extra dinner gust, I had a dilemma: how do I stretch my two chops to feed three people?
After a little thought, I decided to chop the chops (heh) into 1-inch cubes and stew them with the summer veggies I had on hand: tomatoes, tomatillos, and a handful of herbs from the herb garden. The result was a magnificently flavorful stew, so good that I wished I’d made a double batch for leftovers.
This pork stew takes a few hours to cook, so it’s a great candidate for a weekend supper or preparing in a slow cooker (cook on the low setting for 4 hours). Super rich and tart, I recommend serving it with a loaf of crusty bread to sop up whatever’s left at the bottom of the bowl. If you want to add a little heat, try adding 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes with the rest of the seasonings. I also recommend roasting the pork bones if you’ve got time for a little extra flavor, but tossing them into the stew raw is totally fine, too. The end result will be delicious either way.
This recipe is incredibly easy to make. The full recipe is at the bottom of the post, but here are some photos to guide you in the process:
- Debone the pork chops by cutting around the bone with a sharp knife -
- Cut the pork into 1-inch cubes -
- Brown the pork cubes in a Dutch oven -
- Brown some onions in olive oil -
- Chop the tomatoes and tomatillos in a food processor, then add everything to the Dutch oven and cook. -
- That’s it. It’s a pretty basic stew recipe, one that’s pretty difficult to mess up! -
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 pound pork rib-eye pork chops, bone-in
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 pound tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 pound tomatillos, wrappers removed, chopped
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cold water
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Using a sharp paring knife, carefully remove the bones from your rib-eye chops, making sure to cut as close to the bone as possible to conserve the meat. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes and reserve the bones. If you've got time, crank your oven to 425°F, set the bones in a shallow baking sheet, and roast them until the edges start to caramelize -- about 20 minutes. If you don't have time, just set them aside raw for later in the recipe.
- Preheat oven to 225°F (107°C).
- Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots, cooking until they are tender and just beginning to brown, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep them from burning. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high flame and sear pork cubes on all sides. Remove pork from the Dutch oven and pour in white wine. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for 1 minute, scraping up all the good meaty bits on the bottom with a spatula.
- Pour cooked shallots and seared pork into the Dutch oven with the white wine, then add tomatoes, tomatillos, chicken stock, bay leaf, cilantro, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir well and nestle the pork bones into the stew.
- Cover the Dutch oven and slide it into the oven. Cook for 2 to 3 hours, stirring well once every hour. The longer the stew cooks, the more tender the pork will be. If necessary, add a little water or stock here and there, in 1/4 cup increments, to keep the stew from burning.
- Remove the stew from the oven and discard the bones. Set the Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Add cornstarch and cold water to a cup and stir until completely mixed. Pour cornstarch into stew and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid in the stew has thickened up. This should take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes.
- Serve stew hot, topped with freshly chopped parsley.
** This post was sponsored by the National Pork Board.