27 September 2006

Ode to A Dutch Oven

I love you, Dutch Oven.
I shall name you Sadie.
I had been saving the name Sadie for my firstborn daughter, but now I realize that I love you more than I will ever love any of my children.
I love you, Sadie.
You are red.
So far you have not destroyed any of my meals,
but only showered them with glorious, porcelain-enameled, cast-iron kisses.
I shall never eat anything again that is not braised in your glory.

oh no what have I done now the cats are jealous

Don’t worry, I did not cook the kitties. I have a feeling the orange one is poisonous. I don’t know why, I just have a feeling about it.

I made Pozole Rojo instead. Pozole is a hearty stew that dates back to pre-Columbian times, and it tastes better than my orange cat. It tastes better than lots of things, for that matter. It tastes better than almost everything.
This recipe uses pork shoulder, slowly braised in its own juices and other ingredients’ juices. Other essential components to a pozole are hominy (dried corn kernels treated with lime to remove the rough outer shell and make the germ more palatable), ancho chile puree, and various crunchy and refreshing garnishes such as radishes, avocados, and cilantro. The red tomatoes and the ancho chiles give pozole rojo its red color, while tomatillos and jalapeƱo chiles lend their green-ness to pozole verde.

pozole rojo

Pozole Rojo

~adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

5 lbs. bone-in pork shoulder (ATK recommends bone-in for more flavor…I used boneless because that’s all I had and it was still delicious)
salt and pepper
2 tbs vegetable oil
2 medium-large onions, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 14.5-oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
6 cups chicken broth
1 bunch of cilantro stems, tied or rubber banded together
3 large, dried, ancho chiles
1 ½ cups boiling water
3 15-oz. cans of hominy

2 limes, cut into quarters
½ head romaine lettuce, sliced into thin strips
6 medium radishes, sliced thin (a simple vegetable peeler works very well for thin slices)
1 small onion, minced
1 bunch of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
¼ cup of ancho chili puree (prepared with the stew)
tortillas, soft or hard

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Trim fat off the pork shoulder and cut into several large pieces. Rub a generous amount of salt and pepper into the pieces.
Heat oil in your wonderful and magnificent Dutch oven. Cook onions for about 4 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Don’t let the garlic burn!
Add the meat and bones and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until the outside of the meat is no longer pink.
Add the tomatoes, oregano, broth, cilantro stems, and ½ teaspoon salt. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. This will allow fat scum to come to the surface, which you can skim off with a wooden spoon.
When you have removed enough scum, cover the Dutch oven and put it in the oven. Cook the meat for 2 hours, until it is tender and falling apart.
Meanwhile, remove the stems and seeds from the ancho chiles. Soak them in the boiling water for 20 minutes. Puree the chiles and the soaking water in blender, then pour the purree through a fine mesh sieve.
When meat is done, remove the meat and bones from the pot. Throw away the bones.
Add the hominy and ¾ cup of ancho puree to the stew. Cover the stew again and simmer it on top of the stove over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, so that the hominy can soak up the flavors of the stew.
Remove the bunch of cilantro stems from the stew and discard. They have served their purpose and I am grateful to the cilantro stems.
When meat has cooled, shred it with your hands or the tines of two forks. Stir the shredded meat back into the stew.
There might be more fat scum on the stew, which you can skim off again, if you like, or not. Fat scum be gone!
Ladle the stew into bowls and top them with the garnishes.


Peter S. said...

Ooh, this looks delicious. My dad makes a much simpler pozole each year, with no special garnishes or Dutch-oven magic. It's a traditional Northern New Mexican Christmas meal, along with tamales and sopaipillas.

(And on another topic completely, I really hope GH2's cooperative mode helps us stop fighting. Otherwise, you'll probably just be disappointed again.)

(Oh yes I did just say that.)

Erielle said...

(Oh no you didn't!)
When GH2 comes out I am going to quit my job and stay home and practice GH2 all day long until I am the master of the universe, Guitar Hero style.

You'll be sorry you were born seeing in color because those red and blue and green and orange and yellow dots on the screen will fly around you so fast you won't know a Tears for Fears song from a Mastadon song.

Oh, you're right, let's stop all this fighting. We should unite and become a team. Together, we can can own the colored dots!

And everyone we beat on GH2 has to make us a tamale, even your dad.

Toni said...

That pot looks perfect - for braising short ribs ;) and the pozole looks quite delicious as well

Lisa said...

My god, that looks wonderful. I've made posole before and I love it. But this recipe is a bit different from others I've done and I can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing it.

And: Le Creuset French ovens! YES! My husband got me a huge one a couple of Christmases ago, and I actually cried when I opened the box. I never thought I'd own such a beautiful pot. I am just as enamored of mine as you are with yours!

Lisa said...

Oh, and your cats are so pretty! I have three myself. Your photos would be perfect for the Weekend Cat Blogging event! This week the roundup is at http://catsnmom.blogspot.com/2006/09/weekend-cat-blogging-69.html, if you happen to be interested.

Erielle said...

Thanks, Toni, fellow short rib fan!

Lisa, I would be interested in trying your posole recipe. Is it posted on Champaign Taste?
Thanks for the link to the Weekend Catblogging Event. It looks like fun.

Lisa said...

The posole I've made is from Jeff Smith's The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American. He spells it pesole, and the recipe is very simple: 2 c. pesole or hominy, 6 c. water, 1 lb. cubed pork, chile powder, oregano, and salt. And he doesn't mention any of the fabulous toppings! I like your version better.

He does have a killer recipe in that book for Green Chile Stew with Pork, involving roasted green chiles, that I'm crazy about. I'll have to make it soon and post the recipe.

Erielle said...

Thanks for sharing, Lisa. I'll look forward to the green chile stew recipe!

emily said...

i love love love the kitty photos. and i'm making this dish this weekend. in a much less pretty pot, unfortunately.

Cinnamon said...

A friend made this dish and it was so good it made me cry.

doodles said...

well posole is one of my all time favorite meals to make. I have a relative of Sadie's but she is lime green. Chose that color cause I just knew my cat wouldn't like the color and you know what??? the black eveil one doesn't like lime green. Great post

Anonymous said...

as a native of New Mexico, my recommendation is that you dump the canned posole (a nearly mortal sin) and find dried, lime treated posole


it takes a bit of cooking but once you have tasted the diference it is like the difference between frsh pasta cooked al dente and Chef Boyardee

Ruthy Siegel said...

i/m trying to follow your recipe, after the 2 ours in the oven can you open the lid without burnin yourself? or should you wait for it to cool befoe removing the lid? Sorry, but this is the first time using the ditch oven!