January 20, 2012

I went to Whole Foods and they had no tomatillos. I went back the next day, still no tomatillos. I already had all of the ingredients for my stew and no main ingredient. I had to think… what could be my replacement? A tomatillo is crisp when raw, somewhat acidic, and really bright. They had canned tomatillos, but seriously, that was not going to cut it.

Decision: Granny Smith Apples.

I’m going to pat myself on the back for this one, because this little hiccup, made for one mean stew. I really like how the apples cooked into the stew and added a nice tartness. It is called a chili-stew because it has chili spices (without being spicy), but also incorporates braised meat. I hope you give it a try.

Pulled Pork Apple Chili-Stew

Serves 6

Cook Time: 5 hrs for pork, 1 hr for stew.

4 TBS olive oil – divided

2 # pork shoulder – no bone

s and p

4 granny smith apples – peeled, divided

1 yellow onion – divided

6 1/2 cups chicken stock

2 celery stalks – chopped

1 anaheim pepper – chopped

2 garlic cloves – small chop

1 cup carrot – chopped

2 russet potatoes – peeled and chopped

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp chile powder – I use ancho

pinch of dried oregeno

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes

cilantro – for garnich

Preheat oven to 275 F. Heat 2 TBS of the oil in large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Meanwhile season the pork with generous salt and pepper. Add the pork to the dutch oven and sear all sides until golden. Once golden, add half of one of the apples (cut into quarters) and a quarter of the onion (rough chop). Place the lid on the dutch oven and cook in the oven for ~5 hours (or until meat is fork tender and easy to shred).

(Continually season with s and p as needed) For the stew, heat the remaining oil in a large stockpot. Add the onions and cook until slightly browned (~5 mins). Then add the apple (small chop), the potatoes, the celery, and carrots; cook until the fruit/vegetables are slightly tender (~5 mins). Add the garlic and herbs; cook for another 2 mins. Finally add the tomatoes and remaining chicken stock. Simmer until vegetables are tender and apples are cooked into the stew (~30-40 mins). Add water if necessary.

Once the meat is cooked, remove it from the liquid and on to a cutting board; shred and add to the stew (discard onion and apple).

Garnish stew with freshly chopped cilantro.

3 thoughts on “Substitute

  1. Kathryn

    I think this will top my Favorite Winter Foods list – I can’t wait to try it!

    For this kind of dish (stew/chili/soup), how do you decide to cook the meat seperately? What’s the benefit?

  2. Caroline

    Thanks Tom!
    Kathryn – I cook the meat separately so that I can get all of the flavor from the fat, but it does not end up in my stew!

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