I’ve been saving this recipe to post after my recent trip to Chicago where I had dinner at one of Rick Bayless’s restaurants, Frontera Grill. Kate, at A Spoonful of Thyme, recently posted this winner and I knew I would love it, not only because Rick’s food is out of this world but also because I’ve recently discovered tomatillos and want to experiment with them before their season is over. If you haven’t met Kate yet I hope you will drop by for a visit. You will be sure to fine other fine recipes you will want to try.
- 1-1/2 tablespoons rich-tasting lard or olive oil
- 1 2-pound boneless pork roast, untied if in 2 pieces
- 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
- Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 3 serranos or 1 jalapeno) stemmed
- 1 medium white onion, sliced
- 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 or 2 large sprigs epazote, plus a little for garnish or ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 10 small (about 1-1/4 pounds) red-skin potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
- In a medium (4 to 5 quart) Dutch oven or other heavy pan with a tight fitting lid, heat the lard or oil over medium heat. When quite hot lay in the pork loin (if there is more than 1 piece, don’t crowd them or they’ll stew rather than brown). Brown well on one side, about 5 minutes, turn over and brown the other side. Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the pork to a plate. Set aside the Dutch oven to use for the sauce making.
- Roast the tomatillos and chiles on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until darkly roasted, even blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side – 4 to 5 minutes more will give you splotchy-black and blistered tomatillos and chiles that are soft and cooked through. Cool and transfer everything to a food processor or blender, being careful to scrape up all the delicious juice that has run out onto the baking sheet. Process until smoothly pureed. Set the pork browning pan over medium heat. when hot, add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook a minute longer. Raise the heat to medium-high and, when really sizzling, add the tomatillo puree all at once.. Stir until noticeably darker and very thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1-1/2 cups water and the epazote or cilantro. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon. Stir everything thoroughly.
- Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Nestle the browned pork into the warm sauce, cover the pot and set in the oven. Cook 30 minutes.
- While the meat is cooking simmer the potatoes in heavily salted water to cover until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well and set aside. When the pork has cooked 30 minutes nestle the cooked potatoes into the sauce around the meat, re-cover and cook another 10 minutes, until the pork registers 145 degrees on a meat thermometer. The meat will feel rather firm to the touch, and cutting into the center will reveal only the slightest hint of pink.
- With a pair of tongs and a spatula, transfer the pork to a cutting board. Let it rest for 3 or 4 minutes. Spoon off any fat on the top of the sauce, season it with any additional salt you think necessary. Spoon the sauce and potatoes onto a warm, deep serving platter. Cut the pork into ¼ inch slices and arrange them over the sauce. Serve with sour cream if desired.