It was partly inspired by both a recent Cook's Illustrated Magazine and a Michael Smith Mexican stew recipe I had browsed in the mall while waiting for passport photos to develop. My end result certainly doesn't have much in common with it's roots but it sure tasted good.
I also throw some potatoes in the oven while doing a roast. It's an easy companion to the meat and the makes use of the oven which is already fired up. In this case I roasted sweet potato and russet wedges to put on top of the stew. Serve up a bowl of stew and top with a few big potato wedges. The sweetness of the potatoes compliments the subtle spice and smokiness of the stew.
|Mexican Pork Stew|
|Spice Roasted Sweet and Russet Potato Wedges|
Browning the Meat (this step is all about flavour)
3lb Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt Roast (a touch fatty cut, usually tied up with string)
1 onion (big slices with grain)
2 cups button mushrooms (quartered)
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil (to coat veggies)
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder
Liberal shake of salt and pepper
For Stewing Sauce (mix it all together)
1-500ml can of Diced Tomatoes
2 Tbsp Honey + 1 Tsp Maple Syrup (added at the last minute)
2 Tbsp Lime Juice ( about 1 lime)
1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 tsp Chipotles in Adobo Sauce (from a small can at the grocery store) (spicy stuff!)
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Oregano (all herbs dried)
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Crushed whole Corriander Seeds
1/4 tsp Fennel Seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
You'll need Roasting Pan ( high sides)
Casserole dish with lid.
Start by broiling meat and veggies to develop flavour (get the Maillard reaction going). Once this is complete you'll mix all the ingredients in a casserole dish and bake for 2-3 hours.
-Cut the roast into large 2" chunks (helps it cook more quickly), remove only big bits of fat/connective tissue
-Rub with S&P, Smoked Paprika, Cumin, and Coriander powders.
-Lay the pork in a roasting pan
-Surround the pork with chopped Onions, Mushrooms, and quashed garlic all tossed in Olive Oil.
-Broil on High in oven until each side is browned and starting to sizzle. 10-15 minutes each side. Stir the Onions and Mushrooms so they don't burn but they should soften/caramelize a bit. Putting it on the lower rack helps even out the broil.
Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to the casserole dish. The can of diced tomatoes, honey, lime juice, red wine vinegar, and spices - chipotles in adobo, smoked paprika, cumin, chili pdr, oregano, thyme, corriander seeds, fennel seeds, and of course salt and pepper.
If you get it all together and are waiting for the pork then start preheating the casserole dish so that it doesn't cool down the meat.
Add the meat, onions, mushrooms, and garlic to the casserole dish.
Bake (covered) in a 325'F oven for 2 hours. At two hours it'll be plenty soft to eat (with nice texture) but if you want it to fall apart go longer (2.5 -3 hrs?).
The tomato base was thick and flavourful. It's not a spicy stew - more on the side of cumin and smoke. A bit more Chipotle would have been good.
Roasted Sweet and Russet Wedges
Meanwhile I roasted Sweet Potatoes and Russet Potatoes (with a few leftover beets from the garden). These made an excellent topping for the stew.
Cut wedges in order from largest to smallest pieces Sweet Potatoes, Russets, and beets. Sweet's cook quicker then potatoes and beets so they need to be in bigger chunks. Beets are the slowest.
Toss first in:
2 tsp Cumin powder
2 tsp Chili powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp black ground pepper
Now add Olive oil and toss. I learnt from my sister that tossing first in spices helps the spices stick to the surface of the potatoes, underneath the oil.
I baked in oven with roast (@ 325) for about 60 minutes, stirred them, then decided to cover them so they wouldn't dry out from the long slow roasting. I stirred them again before finally uncovered at the end to caramelize them a bit.
They had a nice soft texture, with caramelized and spicy flavour. They were not like my normal oven roasted dense chewy wedges (roasted hot and fast).