For two years I’ve been a part of an online cookbook club on Instagram. Each month the cookbook club creator and curator choose a book for us to locate and try recipes from. She’s taken it a bit farther lately with actual recipe challenges twice a month. Sometimes I can play along depending how busy we are in our daily lives, other times not so much.
It’s been so fun getting to know everyone participating in this club from around the world and sharing the same passion; cooking. I’ve discovered so many great cookbooks on this journey that honestly I would have never had the time to discover on my own. This discovery along with connecting with other food lovers and learning more about where they live and their lives has been simply awesome.
The cookbook for April was The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt and is one of those books that needs to be in your collection, if you have a cookbook collection. It’s a book that helps you navigate the world of food science. Lopez-Alt’s extensive research sheds light on different cooking methods and actually helps you to understand how to cook food and the method behind it, to get the best results. I even caught my husband reading this book as he is one of those book nerds that loves to learn the science behind things.
I’ve tried quite a few recipes from the book and I’ve been successful with each recipe I’ve made – like Fresh Ricotta (omg). Another recipe I had my eye on was this Chile Verde with Pork. This recipe has a spotty history when researched, however is a very popular dish in the USA, and not so well known here in Canada. I made it the day before, like the recipe suggests and served it the following day. After almost licking the pot, my husband declared this is his new favourite meal. Ever. Whoa.
Do not be scared by the length of the instructions, it all makes sense and is pretty seamless to make. Serve it as a stew and mop it up with bread, or in tortillas with fresh toppers. If you try it, let us know what you think!
- 3-4 lbs trimmed boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
- kosher salt
- 4 poblanos peppers
- 4 cubanelle or anaheim peppers
- 2 lbs tomatillos (i used roughly 8-10)
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 jalapeno pepper, stems & veins removed and cut lengthwise
- olive oil
- 2 cups fresh cilantro
- 1½ cups white onion, diced
- 1 tbsp cumin,
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth
- Food processor
- Baking Sheet
- Fresh toppers: diced white onion, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, sliced jalapeno
- Toss the pork with 2 tablespoons salt in a large bowl. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to broil.
- Roast the poblano, cubanelle or anaheim peppers watching carefully and turning when charred. If you have a gas burner place peppers directly over the flame, turning occasionally until deeply browned on all sides. Place roasted peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap or baking sheet and let steam for 10-15 minutes.
- Peel peppers under cool running water, discarding seeds and stems. Pat dry with paper towel, then rough chop. Set aside.
- With the oven still on, toss tomatillo, garlic and jalapeno with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet and broil, turning once halfway through cooking until charred and just softened about 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven, let cool slightly then add to food processor with juices. Add peeled peppers, half the cilantro and pulse the mixture until roughly pureed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 225F. In a Dutch oven heat 2 tbsp oil until smoking. Add half of the pork and cook, without moving it, until well browned, about 3 minutes. Stir and continue cooking, until well browned on all sides. Add remaining pork and onion and cook stirring regularly until onions are softened, another 4 minutes. Sprinkle in cumin and cook another 1-2 minutes.
- Add chicken stock and pureed chile mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to the oven, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook until the pork shreds easily with a fork, about 3- 4 hours.
- Return the pot to the stove top and skim off any fat. Adjust liquid to be thicker or thinner by adding boiling water or boiling it down a little to reduce. Stir in remaining cilantro and season to taste with salt.
- Serve with crusty bread or warm tortillas and fresh toppers. The author advises this recipe is better once chilled in the refrigerator overnight and reheated the next day. We think he's right.