It's all a matter of degrees. Cabin fever that is. With another seven to twelve inches on the way, we are in for a second round of cabin fever here in Oklahoma City. But as I was kvetching about this to L'il Sis, a winter hardy Hoosier after all, she had to one-up my cabin fever claustrophobia with her tale of getting stuck in an elevator today for fifteen minutes. Now THAT, she told me was claustrophobia.
To quell her anxiety and keep herself from panicking, she thought of other things. Like that hiker in the movie 127 Hours who was tightly wedged in between two slabs of rock and had to cut off his arm to get out. (ummm, good movie choice to snuff out that panic thing, I'm thinking). Now THAT, she told me is claustrophobia. And added that I should quit my whining.
And so, it all becomes a matter of degrees. Being housebound or cutting off my arm. I guess I'll choose the former and quit whining.
If you are snowbound and likewise whining, I highly recommend not panicking and making this delicious Green Chile and Pork Stew from the cookbook Cooking with CAFE PASQUAL'S (click here to order) that you may remember from a previous post Join me at Cafe Pasqual's.
GREEN CHILE AND PORK STEW
1/4 cup olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp. oregano
1 Tbs. ground cumin
2 lbs. pork butt
5 quarts chicken stock
1 cup fresh corn kernels
3 lbs. russet potatoes cut into 1-inch chunks, peels on
16 fresh New Mexican or Anaheim chiles, fire-roasted, stemmed, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 squares (2 cups)
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 corn or whole tortillas, warmed
In a lidded 8-qt. heavy pot over medium heat add the olive oil and let it heat for a moment. To the pot add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and oregano. Saute the vegetables, uncovered until the onions are translucent. Put the cumin into a dry pan over low heat and toast it for one minute, stirring frequently until it is fragrant and then add it to the stew pot. Cut the pork in half and add it to the pot, followed by three quarts of the stock. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil, uncover, skim off any foam, and then turn down the heat to medium-low. Simmer gently, uncovered over medium-low heat until the meat is tender, about 2-3 hours. (You may need to add one quart of the remaining stock at this point if too much has evaporated.)
Transfer the pork to a bowl, leaving the stock in the pot. Skim any oil from the top of the stock and discard. When the meat is cool enough to handle, shred the meat, then coarsely chop it with a cleaver so the shreds are no more than two inches long. Return the meat to the pot and add the corn, potatoes, chiles, and the remaining one quart of stock. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about thirty minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Serve with warm tortillas.
Now, I must tell you, this is absolutely delish, well worth the day-long investment of time. And the scent of cooking green chiles permeating your kitchen all day long ain't bad either. A big pot of this doesn't last long at my house, but if your appetites are more modest, it freezes beautifully, and is even better the second day than the first.
I prefer corn tortillas with it, as well as tortilla chips and guacamole. For other tips, I highly recommend you consult the cookbook. It is as scrumptious as the stew.
Tomorrow, it's back to the store to replenish my pantry and fridge. My friend, Spitfire, asks that I pose this question to you, my darling readers, and I'll let you know the results.
What must YOUR well-stocked pantry contain? Do tell!