Last year a very good friend of mine who owns a cooking school in Colorado asked me for my Pulled Pork in Roasted Tomatillo Poblano Sauce recipe to share with her students / customers. I quickly wrote everything out and forwarded it on its way. Recently, I ran across my email, and I decided it fit perfectly with what I’m doing now and decided to share. Below is the email I sent to Katy – the recipe is a work of love, and I’m inspired to make it again… maybe I’ll post some pics.
2 or 3 pounds of pork (tenderloin or pork roast – whatever tickles your fancy)
12 Tomatillos (medium)
4 Tomatoes (large)
4 Poblano Peppers (large)
2 Red Bell Peppers (large)
2 Onions (large)
1 Whole Garlic Bulb (separate cloves)
2 Whole Jalapenos
1 Bunch of Cilantro
3 Fresh Limes (squeezed – to taste)
2 TBS Honey (or to taste)
Negro Modelo Beer (to taste)
Vegetable or Corn Oil
Chicken Broth – Low Sodium is best so you can season on your own
Moisten pork with oil and dust liberally with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder – rub in and set aside. Prepare yourself for a whole lot of roasting and prep work, but keep reminding yourself that it will be worth it.
Wash and dry vegetables, removing husks from tomatillos and washing sticky residue off. Peel onions and cut in 1/2 inch disks – do not separate rings. Separate garlic cloves but leave the skin on the cloves. Set oven to Broil at 450 – 500 degrees (who cares, you’re only roasting the hell out of things). Take out your blender and put it near your oven and expect to fill it up.
Expecting to do this in batches, spread on a baking sheet pan, lined with a Silpat, the onion disks, whole poblano peppers, whole tomatoes, whole tomatillos and whole red peppers. Place in oven and watch closely until you see the vegetables getting charred. Take the baking sheet out, turn the vegetables and continue to char in the broiler until all sides of vegetables are blackened – things will smoke – don’t worry, just open a window. It’ll be worth it.
Place seriously charred poblano and bell peppers in a plastic bag or paper bag, seal and set aside. Place charred tomatoes and tomatillos directly into the blender near the oven as they come out – they will be squashed and may gush juice as you tong them into the blender. Place charred onion disks in the blender, as well. Again, worth it.
After peppers / onions batches are done, spread out the garlic cloves (skin on) and jalapeno peppers on the baking sheet pan and char them. Watch these closely because they will blacken quickly. You’ll need to flip the garlic more often as the sides will darken pretty fast.
Once complete, turn the oven off, add the charred jalapenos to the bag of peppers you set aside earlier and re-seal the bag. Remove the skins from the cloves and put the soften/roasted garlic in the blender with the onions, tomatoes and tomatillos. At this point, you can buzz the blender a few times to make room for stuff later while you try to remember why you’re doing all this work… oh yes… it’s worth it.
Open the bag of poblanos, red peppers and jalapenos. For each pepper, de-seed, remove stem and remove the outter charred skin using your fingers and/or a pairing knife. Do not, under penalty of death, rinse your precious peppers under the faucet. That’s a serious offense – makes me angry just thinking about it.
Place your skinned but roasted peppers and jalapenos in the blender and blast a few times to make more room.
Heat a 6qt cast iron dutch oven to med-high heat. Once fully heated, add a bit of oil and then sear your marinated / seasoned pork on all sides.
While pork is searing, add chicken broth to the blender and zap until the consistency of slightly viscous salsa – not too, too liquidy – leave some chunky in there. Add cilantro, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, honey, lime and a splash of Negro Modelo to the blender to taste – zap it up – shooting for the kick of heat, the slap of lime and the soothing balance of honey all in one roasted vegetable fiesta. Don’t overdo the Negro Modelo – you can ruin it with too much – a splash is a splash, comprende?
Add the blender ingredients directly over the searing pork until completely covered. Reduce heat to low-med, cover with the cast iron lid and have a few beers. After about 2.5 hours, uncover and using two forks you should be able to rip the pork apart easily. If you can’t, cover it up and have another beer then try again.
Shred it all and serve in corn tortillas heated on a comal. Garnish with lime, cilantro, fresh minced onion, cotija cheese and sour cream. You’ll definitely know it was worth it.
I think I got it all there… O’s Pulled Pork in Roasted Tomatillo Poblano Sauce. I enjoy this recipe because it’s a work of love, a committment to give of yourself to others through the love of food. It’s really a simple recipe that involves work, and if you put the effort in, it truly is worth it. Brings lots of great memories to mind – making this for friends, smelling the roasting peppers, watching the faces of others as they take that first bite. It’s a work of love. It makes me happy.