My husband Eder and I have always promoted a family atmosphere in our restaurants, so I’ve felt maternal toward some of the young people who have worked for us over the years. Many of them come from Mexico and I think it’s important for them to know how to make Mexican dishes, even if the dishes aren’t necessarily from their region. This hearty stew is one of the many regional Mexican dishes I make for our “family meals” (staff dinners) at the restaurants—so I make this dish for my kids at home and for my “kids” at work as well.
The inspiration for the stew came from a restaurant where I worked when I was younger. The chef would occasionally make a green chile stew that wasn’t very spicy: a brown stew except it also had tomatillos and chiles. Basically it is lots of peppers with cubed pork and potatoes; in the original, there may have been some fresh corn in there. I definitely put corn in it now because I try to load up the vegetables where I can, which is what moms do.
To roast the frying peppers and poblano chiles on your stovetop: Place one or two peppers directly on the grate over the open flame of your
Repeat to roast all the peppers and chiles, placing them in a medium bowl as you go. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the peppers steam for about 15 minutes, until cool enough to handle.
Peel the potatoes (
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion/potato peel mixture, the bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, and 6 grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and cook until tender, 3 minutes more.
Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large pot to blanch the pork.
In the food processor, combine the tomatillos, scallions, cilantro, garlic, cumin, oregano, and honey and process until finely pureed. Add the roasted pepper flesh and pulse 3 or 4 times, until the mixture is slightly chunky. Scrape into the onion mixture in the pot and return to medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, add 1 1/2 tablespoons salt to the boiling water.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Generously season the blanched pork with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add half the pork and cook, stirring, until browned all over. Transfer the pork to the tomatillo sauce. Add the remaining pork to the skillet and brown, adding additional oil if the pan seems dry. Transfer the pork to the tomatillo sauce and gently simmer the stew over medium-low heat for 1 hour, until the pork is tender but not falling apart.
Cut the peeled potatoes into 1-inch cubes and stir into the stew. Cook until the potatoes and pork are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the corn and hominy and simmer until the corn is heated through, about 2 minutes.
Before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning. Fish out and discard the bay leaf. If there is a lot of fat on the surface of the stew, skim some off with a ladle or large spoon. Spoon the stew into individual serving bowls, drizzle with a bit of good-quality olive oil, and top with chopped cilantro and crumbled queso fresco. Serve with warm tortillas.