Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chile Verde Stew

Hi. How are you? What are you doing? Is it exciting? I hope so.

I'm just waiting to have a baby and doing random things that make the time go by a little less uncomfortably. I take baths. I bake cookies. I bounce on a big blue exercise ball. I eat comfort food.

chile verde stew in pot

Tonight I made this delicious, v. aromatic stew for dinner. The smell reminded me of sancocho, a Colombian stew that my grandma and great-aunt used to make when I was young. The taste of the stew I made tonight though, while lovely, was not as much reminiscent of sancocho as of Santa Fe, where my husband and I randomly spent ten days a few years back. An odd place to randomly spend ten days, but we had a great time and ate a lot of green chile. In New Mexico I learned that I'm a green chile person more than a red chile person. If you are also a green chile person, you will like this chile verde stew. It is yummy and easy and it makes your kitchen smell like that of a Colombian grandmother. Maybe I'm summoning all that ancestral Colombian birthing energy to nourish and strengthen me in the next few days or weeks. Now bring on the buñuelos!

chile verde collage
bowl of stew

Keep in mind that this is a stew - which I will boldly define as a big pot full of things you'd like to use up from your freezer, pantry, and refrigerator, simmering with some spices and thickened broth. As such, it's open to myriad substitutions and modifications. Go to town.

Chile Verde Stew
Adapted from Epicurious
Yield: 4 servings

2 medium onions (about 1 pound total)
1-2 jalapeños, stems trimmed
5 garlic cloves
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 pound ground beef or pork
1 medium to large sweet potato (8-10 ounces), cut into 1/2" dice*
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 ounce can green chiles
2-3 cups cooked kidney or pinto or black beans, or hominy
1 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of half a lemon or lime
Bunch of green onions, finely chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper

Cut one onion into quarters and coarsely chop the other one. Purée the quartered onion, jalapeño(s) (seeds included), and garlic cloves with 1/2 cup chicken broth in a blender until smooth.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef or pork, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring and breaking up clumps with a spatula just until no longer pink, about 4-6 minutes. Transfer meat to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve the fat in the pan.

Keeping heat at medium-high, add chopped onion and sweet potato to the drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chile verde purée, cumin, coriander, and oregano, and stir well for about a minute. Lower heat a bit and cook, stirring every couple minutes, until mixture is thickened and most of liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Return the meat to the pan, along with the beans or hominy, canned green chiles, remaining 1 1/2 cups broth, and chopped cilantro. Bring to simmer, uncovered, and stir occasionally for about ten minutes.

Turn off stove, stir in lemon or lime juice, taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed, and stir in green onions, if using. Serve in large bowls with rice, corn bread, tortillas, tortilla chips, or what we happened to have on hand: some homemade whole grain bread.

It really hit the spot tonight. I bet it will be even better tomorrow. (I'll let you know.)

*Winter squash, a couple regular potatoes, or a large, firm plantain would all be great substitutions for the sweet potato.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a perfect cozy dinner for a freezing, snowy spring night like tonight... Too bad I refuse to leave the house again today (to food shop), since I already got stuck in my driveway for 45 minutes and barely made it to work!