Pork and Ancho Stew
- 4 dried ancho chiles, seeded and stemmed
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 to 3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks for stewing
- Salt and pepper
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic, smashed from skins
- 3 to 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 large fresh bay leaves or dried pimento leaves
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Pinch ground cloves
- Small piece cinnamon stick
- 2 limes, juiced
- One 28- to 32-ounce can plum tomatoes
- Handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- Serving suggestions: white rice and sliced fresh or pickled jalapeno peppers
Add the anchos to a medium pot with the chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Heat until the chiles are softened, about 15 minutes.
Pat the meat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven with the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the meat in batches and remove to a plate. Add more oil, as necessary. Add the garlic, carrots, bay leaves, onions, jalapenos, cumin, cloves and some salt and pepper. Cook partially covered for a few minutes.
Puree the anchos and stock together. Add the ancho stock to the Dutch oven with the cinnamon stick, lime juice, tomatoes (mash up the tomatoes a bit). Stir in the cilantro and return the pork to the Dutch oven. Stir, cover and cook over low heat 2 1/2 to 3 hours until very tender, stirring occasionally. Remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaf. Cool completely and store in the refrigerator for a make-ahead meal.
Reheat over medium heat. Serve with rice and jalapenos.
Blending Hot Liquids: When blending hot liquids, remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid; that prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times, then process on high speed until smooth.