The month of September is a special time for Mexican families. It's a time to celebrate Las Fiestas Patrias on September 16th, the official Mexican Independence Day! I remember when we were little kids growing up in L.A., on the 15th, later in the evening, my Mom would make us all go outside and scream "Viva Mexico"!! I never knew for the longest time why, but i do now, which makes those memories even more special. It is tradition in Mexico to go out at midnite and shout it out! A big day to celebrate for Mexicans here in the states and certainly in Mexico. My parents would take us to the "Mercado Juarez" in Monterrey and one of my all time favorite things to eat were gorditas... yes, filled with all these wonderful savory fillings. The ladies would make them to order and it was so amazing to watch how fast they worked with their hands and how easy they made it look. This is my interpretation of those gorditas that I loved so much as a kid, and still love today! Viva Mexico!! Love you Mom and Dad.
For Chile Verde
2 pounds pork chops with bone-in
1 medium white onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1½ pounds tomatillos
2 cups diced green chiles (mild)
2 large poblanos
2 serranos or jalapenos
½ cup cilantro, and more for garnish
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups masa harina (such as Maseca)
1½ cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Knorr-brand chicken bouillon
2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
I say this all of the time, prep ahead...prep ahead, it will make your time in the kitchen a fun and enjoyable experience!
Take the time to get a good sear on the pork before adding the onions and garlic... Don't rush it.
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Slice the pork into 2-inch pieces, cutting as much meat away from the bones as possible. Do not discard the bones, because they will add great flavor. Season the pork with 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon oregano, and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir well to combine, cover and refrigerate.
2. Line a baking sheet with foil and lay the tomatillos, poblanos, and serranos or jalapenos on the pan. Drizzle with a little bit of oil, roast for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer the poblanos to a plastic storage bag until cooled. Transfer the tomatillos and peppers to the blender, also add the 2 cups green chiles, cilantro, 2 cups chicken broth, and ½ teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth, set aside.
3. Remove the pork from the refrigerator while you chop your onions and garlic. In a large dutch oven pot, add 2 tablespoons of oil and heat to medium/high heat. When good and hot, add the pork and cook to sear, turning as needed. Add the onions and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the sauce from the blender, stir well to combine, taste for salt. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 1 hour.
4. While the pork is simmering, in a large bowl combine the dry ingredients for the gorditas. Gradually add in the warm water until the dough forms. Add in the oil and work well into dough. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or plastic wrap. Make 6 dough balls and with your hands form the gorditas, using a little bit of water to form the sides. You are looking for a gordita that is at least ½-inch thick. Transfer to lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, then set aside.
5. Add the remaining chicken broth to chile verde, stir well to combine, taste for salt. Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to pan, cook 2 to 3 gorditas at a time, but do not overcrowd the pan. The key to cooking the gorditas this way is to cover them, with a lid, so it creates a little bit of steam. This will help the gordita cook all the way through. After both sides have browned nicely, transfer to a plate and let cool. Carefully slice open with a serrated knife before serving and reheat.
6. I like to serve the gorditas with a little bit of beans, chile verde, and a little queso fresco sprinkled on top with a side of your favorite rice, salsa and crema. Yields 6 servings. Just be aware that there may be small bones in the pork.
And there you have it: Pork chile verde. All authentic dishes take time and may not seem easy, but they are always worth it in the end. So take your time... You won't regret it.
Other recipes by Sonia:
Mexican Red Rice
Chile Relleno with Serrano Shrimp
Cheesy Chorizo Bread
Flank Steak Tacos
Queso Fundido with Barbeque Shrimp
Annatto-Citrus Marinated Chicken
Chile Garlic Shrimp Kabobs
Chicken Enchilada Soup with Chayotes
Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Chip Chimichangas
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