As you can see, there isn’t too much that’s green about this sauce, except the cilantro in the “red onion salsa”. There was a plan, but then I browned the meat, and it left behind a great fond, so what’s a Goddess to do? She goes to plan B, of course. And this is Plan B…Pork with Sweet Potatoes and Green Chiles! The meat of choice is pork shoulder, but cut it into 2 inch chunks yourself. Pork shoulder has nice marbling and will cook up juicy. Having said all that, these were boneless country-style ribs, but not from the loin end; you can see the marbling here. The loin end, which has little or no fat, will probably end up being on the dry side, no matter how you cook them. These were nice and juicy. You can see the fond forming there, too. Remember, The Goddess is cooking for two now and it’s difficult to find a small pork shoulder, even in Cuban-rich South Florida! By the way, just so we’re clear here. When The Goddess refers to “cooking for two”, she’s speaking of The Spicy Honey and herself, ONLY!!! I just wanted to clear that up!
The sauce was not green, but a rich brown, beer-based gravy that en-robed the juicy chunks of pork. The added purple sweet potatoes and salsa verde didn’t change the lovely rich color, just enhanced the rich and textured flavor.
Pork with Sweet Potatoes and Green Chiles
- 4 lbs. boned pork shoulder (butt), fat trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
- Vegetable oil, as needed
- 3 onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2-3 teaspoons ground cumin (toasted is wonderful)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 bottle beer (lager works well)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped fire-roasted Hatch chiles or 1 cup salsa verde
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh Mexican oregano leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika (see NOTE)
- 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Sour cream
- Chopped cilantro
- Finely minced red onion
- Lime wedges
Heat a 6-8 quart heavy, bottomed pan over medium-high heat; add 2 tablespoons oil and the meat. Brown the meat, about 15-20 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Lift out meat and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium; remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat, or add oil. Add onions, garlic, and cumin; stir and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 5-6 minutes.
Return meat and any accumulated juices to pan. Add the broth and beer. Bring almost to a boil; reduce to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook 1 hour.
4. Stir in chiles, oregano, paprika and sweet potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced, and the flavors are blended, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the black beans, if using, the last 5 minutes of cooking. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine the minced onion, cilantro and lime juice. Serve the stew with a good spoonful of the “salsa” on top of the each helping. A dollop of sour cream and lime wedges, to squeeze over the chile, if you wish.
NOTE: Omit the smoked paprika if you want the sauce to remain green. For leftover re-make: Add 1 can hominy (drained), 1/2 cup corn kernels and additional broth, if needed. Heat and serve with cornbread or tortillas.
Pork with Sweet Potatoes and Green Chiles Recipes©Marcia Lahens 2016. All rights reserved.
Okay, so there are some things that I changed, like the sweet potatoes. They aren’t the orange ones, but a purple variety. They aren’t quite so sweet, but they were still very good. They held up better than the sweeter variety. By all means, use the regular sweet potatoes, if for no other reason than they are easier to purchase; their sweetness provides a nice balance, too. Since I didn’t have the amazing Hatch chiles, I used regular bell peppers and salsa verde as a replacement for the green chiles. By the way, don’t you just love that red salt pig in the background. That belonged to The Middle Son when he was in college…he loves red. He always has. But, it’s mine now!!!! (Don’t worry, he has his own.)Speaking of Hatch chiles, I have since found, what I consider a major grocery coup…frozen Hatch chiles! Trader Joe’s has fired-roasted Hatch chiles in their freezer section! Why didn’t I know about this before? I immediately snatched a bag up and they are sitting in my freezer for another concoction that will present itself soon. Some found their way onto my pizza last night, but that’s a separate delight!
Make the red onion salsa; it’s reason enough to have red onions on hand at all times. The “red onion salsa” is simply a combination of fine minced red onion, fresh cilantro, good squeeze of lime (or lemon, but it’s just not as interesting!) and a good sprinkle of salt. Stir it up and spoon it on. I love it on simple, pan-fried fish. Instead of tartar sauce, sometimes I stir this mixture into mayo and voilà! an interesting option of tartar sauce is born.
This wasn’t green, but it was good. I thoroughly enjoyed the smokiness of the smoked paprika, the moist chunks of pork and this complex beer-based sauce. Sometimes Plan B works just the way you want it to, not the way it’s supposed to be. Culinary surprises are a wonder to behold.