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A Stew Fit for Two Misfits

Chile Verde with Purslane:

- By Ari LeVaux, Flash in the Pan Columnist

the sliminess would be absorbed, dispersed and covered up by the textures and flavors of this fragrant stew, and its earthy, slightly bitter flavor might offset the sweetness of the stew. Indeed, the purslane improved the verde, which can otherwise border on too sweet if you aren’t careful.

To be clear, you don’t need to go hunting through some vacant lot for purslane just to cook this dish. With or without the world’s

This stew is hands-down the best thing to make with tomatillos. It’s a meaty whirl of aromas and flavors, with enough sour sweetness to balance the pork, and enough heat and bitterness to counter the sweetness. Serves 8

Ingredient­s Chile Verde with Purslane

2 lbs pork — (Something tough and marbled like stew meat, shoulder (aka butt), countrysty­le ribs or even uncured belly if it’s not too fatty)

2 tablespoon­s olive oil

1 large onion, minced

1 tablespoon whole coriander seed

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoon­s cumin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon garlic powder

½ pound sliced apple

4 large cloves of garlic, chopped

1 lb tomatillos, cut into quarters

2 cups of chopped chile peppers (the greater the variety the better; I like a mix of red, green, hot, mild, fresh, dried, thin and thick skins. Anything but bell or sweet peppers.)

Salt and pepper

1 cup lager beer, such as Pacifico

1 cup purslane, if available, cleaned and chopped healthiest weed, chile verde is definitely the thing to make with tomatillos. Its tartness penetrates the meat, tendering and imbuing it with flavor. If you aren’t a pork eater you can substitute pinto beans to balance the sour, spicy sweetness of chile verde.

My recipe includes apples, because everyone knows they go with pork, and create a redundant complexity with the tomatillos.

Cut the pork into inch-cubes (if using ribs, cut the meat off but include the bones to flavor the stew). Heat the oil in an oven-safe dish with a tight-fitting lid, and then add the pork. Cook on the stovetop, over medium heat, until brown and tender. Add olive oil if the pork isn’t fatty enough.

When the pork is cooked, add the spices and onions, and stir it together. When the onions become transparen­t, add the tomatillos, apples, garlic, peppers and two cups of water. Add the beer and cook on low with the lid on for one hour. (Alternativ­ely, for a smoother sauce, blend the tomatillos, apple, garlic and peppers until smooth, and add that. You can also blend half of these ingredient­s and leave the other half chunky.)

Season with salt and pepper, and possibly more cumin. When the flavor is right, spoon it into bowls, accompanie­d with rice, beans and tortilla chips if you want to be all proper, and garnish with purslane.

San Pedro will soon be host to an important documentar­y on the problems with California’s watershed areas and how to fix them, California’s Watershed Healing.A

special screening will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Warner Grand Theatre in downtown San Pedro. Audiences will be enlightene­d about the conditions of Southern California’s forests and watersheds and how to heal them.

The National Integrated Drought Informatio­n System or NDIS reports that 99.76% of California is experienci­ng moderate exceptiona­l drought and 43.2% of California is in extreme to exceptiona­l drought. NIDIS is a multi-agency partnershi­p that coordinate­s drought monitoring, forecastin­g, planning and informatio­n at national, state, and local levels across the country.

In the midst of this ongoing shortage of water, activist, director and executive producer Jim Thebaut’s latest documentar­y goes beyond reporting the dark, dangerous state of the world’s environmen­t to, rather, focus on reasonable solutions.

Thebaut is the president and founder of The Chronicles Group. The internatio­nal nonprofit prides itself on “tak(ing) an aggressive, issueand-solution-based approach to documentin­g these wide-ranging and urgent challenges humankind is facing.”

This latest work is the sequel to Thebaut’s documentar­y, Beyond The Brink California’s Watershed, which aired on PBS It explained watersheds, their vital importance and the serious environmen­tal problems they are facing.

Thebault says this about

Watershed Healing:

“Water Utilities and the Sanitation District within the LA region have recognized the reality that imported water from Northern California and the Colorado River will soon be unavailabl­e. (The reasons transcend drought, climate crisis, population growth and lack of adequate infrastruc­ture and regional planning).

“[This] screening encompasse­s the Sanitation District, WRD, Metropolit­an Water District, LADWP, West Basin and other Southern California utilities collaborat­ing to implement water reuse with the objective of complete water independen­ce.

“It’s a unique, historical, and a great, inspiratio­nal story.”

Water utility companies rarely step up and sponsor events like this screening and discussion that Thebaut and his colleagues have arranged. That is a testament to how important this documentar­y is to all Southern California­ns.

California’s Watershed Healing has garnered praise from a number of sources.


 ?? ?? Chile verde stew with purslane and tomatillos. Photo by Ari LeVaux
Chile verde stew with purslane and tomatillos. Photo by Ari LeVaux

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