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Pork and Black Bean Chile Verde
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    Pork and Black Bean Chile Verde

    Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups dried black beans (about 10 ounces), picked over and rinsed
  • 4 medium poblano chiles
  • 4 medium cubanelle chiles (Italian frying peppers) (see notes)
  • 3 medium green bell peppers
  • 1 medium haban~ero chile (see notes)
  • 1 pound fresh spinach, stemmed
  • 10 medium tomatillos - husked, rinsed and quartered
  • 5 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 meaty smoked ham hock (about 1 pound)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds trimmed boneless pork shoulder or butt, cut into
  • 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
  • Tortilla chips or corn bread and sour cream, for serving
  • 1. Place the black beans in a medium saucepan and add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1hour.

    2. Meanwhile, roast the poblanos, cubanelles, bell peppers and haban~ero under the broiler or over a gas flame (see notes), turning frequently, until blackened all over. Transfer them to a paper bag and let steam for 10 minutes. Peel the chiles and peppers under running water and remove the cores, seeds and ribs. Drain and pat dry. Place them all in a food processor or blender with the spinach, tomatillos and scallions and puree until smooth (see notes).

    3. Drain the black beans and return them to the saucepan. Add the ham hock, bay leaves and 6 more cups of water. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the beans are tender, about 1.5 hours. Drain the beans, reserving 1 cup of the liquid; discard the bay leaves. Remove the meat from the ham hock, cut it into 3/4 inch pieces and set aside (see notes).

    4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Season the pork cubes with salt and black pepper. Add some of the meat to the casserole in a single layer and cook over high heat until well browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked pork to a plate and brown the remaining meat in batches.

    5. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the casserole. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes.

    6. Return the browned pork to the casserole with the chile and spinach puree, sugar, cumin and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Lower the heat and simmer gently until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours. Stir in the black beans and cubed ham with the reserved cooking liquid. (The chili can be prepared up to 3 days ahead; cover and refrigerate. Rewarm slowly over moderate heat.)

    7. Season the chili with the corainder and salt. Spoon the chili into bowls and serve with tortilla chips and sour cream.
    ****** Notes from Tony and Gloria:

    1. Allow a full day to make this recipe; it's a lot of work.However, note that the beans don't have to be soaked overnight so you can start and finish the entire job in oneday. This chili is unique in my experience, but quite delicious and worth the effort.
    2. As it stands, this is not a very hot recipe. Chile-heads should adjust the quantity of haban~ero to suit individual taste. We used three ripe Fresno chiles instead of the haban~ero; it was tangy, but not very hot.
    3. Ah, the elusive cubanelle. We used "biscene" peppers obtained at a local farmers market. Others have convinced me these are the same as "Biscayne" peppers and closely related to cubanelles. The cubanelle is shaped roughly like an Anaheim, a long, skinny pepper. Its color ranges from yellow-green to orange. Biscayne peppers tend more toward red than orange and are stubbier. Several chile-heads informed me that cubanelles are available in Italian markets (Andronico’s in the San Francisco area was specifically mentioned), and that seed catalogs often carry the seeds.
    4. If you have the time, roasting the chiles over a charcoal or other wood-based fire adds a nice smoky flavor. You might also want to spray the chiles with spray-on olive oil before roasting, as it makes the skin come off easier.
    5. I can't imagine a blender handling this volume of the chile-spinach mixture. I used a large Cuisinart and had to add more spinach several times to fit an entire pound into the bowl.
    6. Be sure to throw away the fat from the ham hock.

    From: "Food & Wine," March, 1994, pp. 72-74
    Posted By:Tony Lima
    Post Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997

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