This recipe came from the Mexican kitchen crew at my restaurant in Santa Rosa, California, and was a favorite at staff meals. The process is a little different from the previous recipes, because the meat is cooked on the stovetop and the sauce is prepared separately. (For more information on the chile varieties.) The long list of suggested accompaniments is traditional; you can make as few or as many of them as you like.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil and brown the pork on both sides over high heat. Add the stock, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and enough water to cover by half an inch or so. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat, skimming off and discarding any scum that rises to the surface (it sounds awful and doesn’t look much better, but it’s nothing to worry about). Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 2 to 2½ hours, or until the pork is very tender. Remove the pork from the pot and set aside. Pour the liquid through a strainer into a bowl, discarding the solids. Let the liquid sit for a few minutes while the fat rises to the surface, and then skim off as much of the fat as possible (it’s the oily liquid floating on top). (If you are making this ahead, refrigerate the strained stock separately from the pork. The congealed fat can then easily be removed from the surface.)
Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and place them in a bowl. Cover them with boiling water and set aside to soften for 30 minutes (do your best to keep them submerged while they soak). Saving the soaking liquid, transfer the chiles to a blender along with the onions, fennel, oregano, cumin, garlic, and tomatoes, and puree until very smooth. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the chile puree. Cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add
Slice the pork and add it to the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes or so to allow the meat to warm through and absorb the flavor of the sauce. Serve the stew in bowls, passing the accompaniments as desired.
Finely shredded green cabbage, sliced radishes, cilantro, chopped fresh tomatoes and chiles, fresh raw sweet corn, lime wedges, sliced avocado, tortilla chips
© 2004 John Ash. All rights reserved.