Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mexican Pork and Purslane

Figuring out how to make use of the purslane was a bit of a challenge because in addition to it being a vegetable I've never used (or seen up until now) it turned out that the cuisines that make the most use of it were not ones that I typically cook. Really, the purslane is now the item from the CSA that did the best at taking me furthest from my usual cooking routine. New vegetable and a cuisine that I rarely work with.

Purslane is a plant commonly found in Mexican cooking, so it made sense to focus on that cuisine for a recipe. After a bit of research, I learned that its often paired with pork in a stew or soup preparation. The recipe here is based on a few different ideas that I found and the result is somewhat in between and soup and a stew with the pureed vegetables adding body and a nice depth of flavor to the broth. Cooking the purslane this way makes it quite soft and will dull its flavors, so if you want to experience the full flavor of this vegetable, then I suggest a raw preparation. Here's a link to one that looked pretty good to me.

Share Contents Used
Bell pepper
White onion (last one remaining from week 11)
Jalapeno pepper (also last one from week 11)

1.5 lb pork spare ribs
1 lb tomatillo, husked and quartered
1 large fresh jalapeño chile, seeded
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 lb. purslane leaves, washed and coarsely chopped
1 bell pepper, 1/2 inch dice
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the pork, 1 clove of garlic, half of the chopped onion, and 5 cups water into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the pork is tender, about 1.5 hours. Strain the broth, reserving the pork and 4 cups of broth. Discard the garlic and onions. Separately, bring a pot of salted water to a boil then add the jalapeno and tomatillos and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer tomatillos and jalapenos to a blender with the remaining onions and garlic and a 1⁄4 cup of the cooking water. Purée until smooth and set aside. In a wide bottomed pot, heat a bit of oil over medium high heat and brown the pork on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium, add the tomatillo purée and cook until thickened slightly, about 8 minutes. Add the reserved 4 cups of broth, purslane, salt and pepper to taste. Bring back to a boil and reduce to low and simmer until the pork is falling off the bone, 20-30 minutes longer. With 5 minutes left, add the bell pepper. Taste again for seasoning then serve with rice.

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