I was born and raised in Southern California and lived in the Southwest for many decades, so I’m partial to Mexican and Southwestern cuisine. For me, pork, garlic, chiles (both fresh and dried), and ground spices combine to create something divine.
Our Green Chile Pork made conventionally is quite a production. The pork is braised, a pound of bacon rendered, onions sautéed in the rendered fat, the fresh chiles roasted on the barbeque, and the fresh tomatillos and garlic roasted in the oven.
After all that prep is completed, I throw everything in my biggest Le Creuset and cook it for a couple of hours on the stove top. Since I make a huge batch, I divide the stew into smaller portions and freeze them for future use.
I hadn’t given much thought to cooking the Green Chile Pork sous vide because I always make it with freshly roasted green Hatch chiles. These special chiles usually appear in late September or early October and are only available for about thirty days. Come fall, as I anxiously await their arrival from New Mexico at my local supermarket, I get ready for the green chile marathon! I also use fresh tomatillos in the stew, which are readily available to me year-round, sometimes along with another type of chile or special goodie to throw in the pot.
But since so many people live in places that do not have fresh green chiles or fresh tomatillos, I decided to try a version using canned green chiles and canned tomatillos.
Except for broiling the canned, drained tomatillos (to blacken them slightly) and the chopped onion together for a few minutes, none of the other ingredients need to be cooked before bagging. After 30 hours in the water oven at 136°F, the results are a very pleasant surprise.
The dish can be served in a number of ways other than as a stew, topped with grated cheese and accompanied by some fresh warm tortillas. It can be ladled over a bean burrito or served simply on a plate with a steamed potato, whole pinto beans, and Mexican rice. However, my absolute favorite is to spoon it over stuffed chiles rellenos — so delicious, but very labor intensive and usually savored only at holiday time!
- Preheat the water bath to 136°F (58°C).
- Preheat a broiler. Combine the drained tomatillos and the onions on a broiler pan and drizzle with the melted bacon fat. Place under the broiler and cook until the tomatillos are slightly blackened and the onions translucent, about 10 minutes, watching carefully and turning occasionally to make sure that the onions don’t burn. Set aside to cool completely.
- Place the chopped pork in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the cumin, ancho chile, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Massage the spices into the pork until they adhere to the meat.
- When the tomatillo-onion mixture has cooled, transfer it to a blender jar. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves or garlic confit into the jar. Blend to a rough chop, not completely puréeing the mixture. Add the blender contents to the seasoned pork. Add the drained chiles and stir until all of the ingredients are well combined. Divide the mixture between two large food bags and seal using the water displacement method.
- Cook for 30 hours.
- Serve the stew immediately, or quick-chill the food bags in an ice-and-water bath. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.