Gotta hand it to Houston, perhaps the most diverse restaurant scene in all of America. It might be debatable, but definitely in the running. Which means that when my wife and I want to try something new, there are literally hundreds of restaurants with flavors from all over the world to choose from.
And that is how I ended up ordering, and thoroughly enjoying, pork guisado for the first time last weekend. Also known as puerco en salsa verde or puerco en chile verde, this dish is pork slowly stewed in a green sauce made from tomatillos, onions and a variety of peppers, depending upon how spicy the chef likes to make their dish.
While I had seen and eaten a few tomatillos, I can’t say that I had ever looked into preparing an entire dish around this ingredient. So I did a little homework, and it turns out that tomatillos are pretty impressive in their nutritional breakdown, and a solid addition to my culinary rotation.
Another consideration when putting together my list of ingredients was the heat of the stew. Was I going for fiery hot, or something close to a slow smolder? When working with chiles I like to start slow and work my way up as opposed to overshooting it from the start.
So for this recipe, I settled on using two green Anaheim peppers, one Jalapeno and one Serrano. At the end of the day, my wife, who likes her food quite spicy, said it had a nice heat, but she would have been ok with a bit more oomph. I, on the other hand, found this chile combination to hit the spot, not too spicy, not too wimpy, any more would have been too much for me.
Some may recognize this recipe as being similar to a Pozole Verde, and while I agree, I do like this guisado better than my attempts at pozole verde. Both use tomatillos and a large number of green chilis, but unlike this guisado, the pozole verde I am familiar with involves roasting pumpkin seeds and using them as a base for the stew. That’s not the case here, we skip the nuts and simply let the tomatillo sauce cook down over a few hours, so worth it.
It’s really best to visualize this puerco en salsa verde recipe as a two part recipe. First, you prepare the salsa, and then second, you prepare the pork and remainder of the stew.
With very little effort or preparation, you can make this a one pot recipe. Use your soup pot to simmer your tomatillo sauce, empty it out while you blend the ingredients to make your chile verde, and then use the same pot to start building the stew.
- For Salsa Verde
- 2 pounds tomatillos husks removed and then halved
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- 2 Anaheim peppers cleaned and rough chop
- 1 Serrano pepper cleaned and rough chop
- 1 Jalapeno pepper cleaned and rough chop
- 1 yellow onion rough chop
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Pork Guisado
- 3-3.5 pounds pork shoulder cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
- 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 recipe of Salsa Verde from above
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 small cans diced green chiles
- 1 large yellow onion diced or finely chopped
- In a large soup or stew pot, combine all ingredients for the Chile Verde or Salsa Verde and gently simmer for approximately 30 minutes. I add the chicken stock first, turn the burner on and then add the rest of the ingredients as I prepare them, and cook for 30 minutes after adding my last ingredient.
- While your salsa verde or chile verde is cooking down, cut pork shoulder into small cubes or bite sized pieces.
- After 30 minutes of simmering, pour your salsa verde ingredients into large bowl and puree using immersion blender, or pour into and use Vitamix or other high power blender to liquefy, no need to hurry and blend, you can let the salsa cool down for a few minutes while you cook the pork.
- Wipe stew pot clean and heat once again over medium heat and then add pork, all at once is fine.
- Add remainder of ingredients for the pork guisado, including the recently made and pureed chile verde, to the soup pot, stir frequently and slowly simmer for three hours.
- Serve warm with avocado and lime wedges if desired.