Thursday, September 06, 2018

The Braise is Back: Beer-Braised Poblano Pork


Now, I'm not one to trumpet the end of summer and the beginning of that four-letter word beginning with "f" (and ending with "double toothpicks" for those of you old enough to remember that old saw). But I do appreciate the moderating temperatures during the day and the rapid cooling at night, making pulling up the covers a welcome necessity.

Yes, I'm a native Oregonian. Is it that obvious?

A drizzle of cilantro chimichurri? Sure!

While there's still plenty of grilling weather in the forecast, with salmon and albacore running strong, and tomatoes, peppers and a bounty of other delicious things coming in from local farms (whew!), it's also possible to turn on the stove without the fear of making your home feel like you're living in some hot, humid East Coast city. (No wonder those politicians in DC are so grumpy all the time, huh?)

The other day I'd picked up a pork shoulder at the store, pondering what to do with it when I got home—Chili? Posole? Pulled pork?—and then, while rummaging in the vegetable bin, found several large poblano peppers that had jumped into my farmers' market basket the weekend before. Excellent!

A little chopping, a little sautéing, a can of Hopworks pils from the fridge, and in under half an hour I had a pot of pork bubbling away on the stove. Then two hours later we were sitting down for what I have to say was a spectacular dinner. By the way, the chimichurri came about when during the aforementioned rummaging I ran across a bunch of cilantro that was soon to expire, so whizzed that up in the processor with some lime and garlic and, voilà, instant zhoosh!

Beer-Braised Poblano Pork

4 lbs. pork shoulder, cut in 1” pieces
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, in 1/2” dice
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 large poblano peppers, seeded and chopped in 1” pieces
2 serrano peppers, seeded and minced
12 oz. light beer (a Northwest pilsner works nicely)
2 c. chicken stock
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. salt plus more to taste

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until it shimmers. Add onion and sauté until translucent, then add garlic and peppers and sauté until tender. Add pork, beer, stock oregano, bay leaves and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover. When pork is tender (almost falling apart), taste for salt and serve in bowls with rice or grain and a drizzle of chimichurri (recipe below).

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Cilantro Chimichurri

2 c. cilantro
1/3 c. olive oil
2 large cloves garlic
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. lime juice
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in food processor or blender and process until smooth.

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