Pork and Hen Stew with Chiles

SERVES 6; Photo pg. 68

SAVEUR - - Contents -

Ac­tive: 1 hr. 20 min. • To­tal: 2 hr.

Maya women like Marta Her­nan­dez Boror and her mother, Maria Boror, steam this tomato and chile–based stew in­side an elab­o­rate bun­dle of mashan leaves (sim­i­lar to plan­tain leaves). Since the leaves can be hard to find out­side Gu­atemala—and the bun­dle is dif­fi­cult to con­struct—a piece of ba­nana leaf placed in a sim­mer­ing pot will add a sim­i­lar earthy fla­vor. Espinazo de cerdo, or pork spine, is tra­di­tion­ally used to give the stock rich fla­vor, but any pork or even beef bones will work. This dish is spicy, but if you want ex­tra heat, leave the chile seeds in, like the Borors do.

3 lb. bone-in, skin-on

chicken or hen pieces 1 lb. pork or beef bones 2 lb. pork loin, cut into

3-inch pieces 8 medium toma­toes (about 3 lb.), cored and quar­tered 7 small tomatil­los (about

4 oz.), husked and rinsed 3 medium red bell

pep­pers, chopped 2 dried cobanero or puya chiles (or sim­i­lar), stemmed and seeded 2 dried gua­jillo chiles (or sim­i­lar), stemmed and seeded 2 dried pasa or pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded 2 dried zambo or taviche chiles (or sim­i­lar), stemmed and seeded 1½ tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste Pinch of sugar One 12-inch piece mashan leaf or ba­nana leaf Cooked rice or corn ta­males, for serv­ing 1 In a large pot, bring 3 cups wa­ter to a boil. Add the chicken and pork bones and cook 20 min­utes. Add the pork loin and cook, stir­ring gen­tly and adding small amounts of wa­ter oc­ca­sion­ally if the wa­ter level gets too close to the bot­tom of the pot, un­til just ten­der, about 40 min­utes more. Drain the cook­ing wa­ter (re­serve for an­other use if de­sired) and re­turn the pan with the meats back to the stove.

2 Mean­while, in a medium pot, add the toma­toes, tomatil­los, red pep­pers, all of the chiles, salt, and sugar. Add 3 cups wa­ter, and be sure the dried chiles are sub­merged. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then re­duce to a sim­mer and let cook un­til the chiles are soft­ened, about 20 min­utes. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly.

3 Us­ing a slot­ted spoon, trans­fer half the veg­etable mix­ture to a blender; blend un­til mostly smooth (do not over­pro­cess). Trans­fer to a large bowl and re­peat with the re­main­ing veg­eta­bles (dis­card the liq­uid left be­hind in the pot).

4 Add the veg­etable mix­ture and the mashan or ba­nana leaf to the pot with the meats and cook over medium heat, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, 20 min­utes.

5 Serve the stew with cooked rice or corn ta­males.

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