I should preface the article by saying that while this recipe is pretty authentic, my goal is never to make authentic foods, but to make delicious foods. Therefore, I sometimes make modifications to recipes that are not culturally authentic simply because I like the result. That said, feel free to “butcher” my recipe if you find something that you like or that you think improves it for you.
Finally, I have a 16 qt stock pot and make a full pot of stew whenever I make this (approx 3 gallons). If you have a smaller pot or wish to make a smaller batch, you will need to reduce the recipe proportionately.
Oh, and this is very low carb and low fat, which is the only way I cook. So, with preliminaries out of the way, here goes:
1 large pork loin or 2 half loins (approx 8 lbs – the more the better)
Chili seasoning mix (I make my own. You can find that recipe here.)
3 or 4 large yellow onions or 5 to 6 medium
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon ground coriander
fresh ground pepper, to taste
10 chicken bouillon cubes
6 to 8 large bell peppers (red, yellow, green, for authenticity use Poblanos instead of green bells)
8 to 10 dried Guajillo chiles
5 to 6 lbs fresh tomatillos
2 bunches fresh cilantro (from produce section, not bagged or boxed)
Optional: Jalapeno or Serrano peppers to taste if you want it spicy
Add your dried Guajillo chiles to a sauce pan about 1/2 filled with water and place on the stove. Once the water begins to simmer turn to low heat. You don’t want to boil the chiles, just rehyrdate them. Let them sit covered in the hot water and steam for about 20 to 30 minutes while you are prepping the pork.
Slice your pork loin into ½ square stew size cubes. I do this by slicing the loin cross-ways in ½ inch thick slices. Then slice the chops into strips, then the strip into cubes. Be sure to trim as much fat off as possible as you go.
Once it’s all cubed up, dredge it in a little flour and let it sit until the flour absorbs the moisture of the pork and loses it’s “dry” look — about 30 minutes or so. To reduce carb count even further, I do not dredge in flour. I sprinkle my pork with chili seasoning until it is well coated and let in “marinate” in the chili seasoning about 30 minutes. While you are waiting on this you can be dicing your veggies.
I get a large salad size bowl to collect my veggie dicings. Dice your onions and all your chiles and peppers. Now, if you want a mild stew you may want to go with about 5 or 6 jalapenos.. if you like it hotter you may want to go with serranos instead and use about 10 of them. You’ll need to experiment to your taste. This recipe is a mild-medium heat, so 10-12 jalapenos in 3 gallons of stew isn’t going to add much heat at all. If you want it super mild like a vegetable beef stew, omit the hot peppers altogether. Your call.
Your meat should be ready now, so heat a thin layer of oil in the bottom of your stock pot. Once it starts to smoke add your meat. We don’t need to cook it, just completely brown it. You will need to stir it occasionally. It will probably take 15-20 minutes to get it all nicely browned.
While the meat is browning and chiles rehydrating, we can go ahead and peel the 6 garlic cloves. Coarsely chop your 2 bunches of cilantro, keeping as many stems as possible out of the mix. Wash and husk your tomatillos. Running them under warm water will loosen the husks and they peel right off.
Throw the garlic in the bottom of your blender. Add some of the cilantro and a couple of the tomatillos and start pulsing the blender. Continue with this process until all your garlic, cilantro, and tomatillos have been processed to a smooth puree. Continue this process until you have pureed all the tomatillos. On your last batch of tomatillos, remove the stems from the rehydrated chiles and add them into the blender and puree them in with the tomatillos.
Once the meat is browned, remove it with a slotted spoon to another pan leaving all the drippings in the stock pot. Dump your entire bowl of diced veggies into the stock pot (if you need to add a bit more oil feel free) and sweat them on medium heat (stirring frequently) just until the onions begin to get tender and translucent.
Add your meat back into the pan. Add your tomatillo puree mixture.
Add 4 quarts (16 cups) of water and 16 chicken bouillon cubes (or 4 quarts of chicken stock if you prefer using stock). I find the 4 quarts of stock makes the recipe far to watery and soupy. I add 10 to 12 bouillon cubes and just enough water to give it a thick gravy-like stew consistency. Usually for me it’s only a couple cups of water at most. Add in your salt, pepper and coriander. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 1½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Just like chili, its delicious right off the stove, but its even better the next day.
There’s no wrong way to eat it, but my preference is to eat it like soup or stew in a bowl. You can also garnish it with sour cream and a fresh sprinkle of cilantro. It’s also commonly served over Mexican rice (though that will blow your low-carb plan). It’s easily one of our favorite winter dishes in our house. I can never get enough of this dish.
If you try it let me know how you like it, and if you make any modifications you like I would love to hear about those two. I added a puree of Ancho (guajillo) chiles in my last batch and liked that result very well (even though its not “authentic”). I’ve edited this recipe to make the Guajillos a part of my recipe. Omit them if you like. So don’t be afraid to try something. If it sounds good, go for it.