Early October brings our harvest to a close. This summer we’ve enjoyed lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and…

Yellow Banana Peppers. Lots of ’em.  The days have remained very warm, right up until this week…mostly high 90’s and even a few triple digits…so I’ve been able to fill the freezer with these beauties for use over the winter.

One of our favorite dishes is a braised pork stew that could proudly stand side by side with the best Chili Verde around. I’m not kidding! This stuff is so good even D enjoys it. And he doesn’t especially like Mexican Food! I love it because it is simple,  versatile and will satisfy my cravings when I’m desperate for a Mexican Food fix but don’t want to eat out.

Here’s how I do it:

braised pork stew

aka – Nana’s Chili Verde

4 or 5 Yellow Banana Peppers
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1.5 pounds lean boneless pork
1/4 cup all purpose flour
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cube chicken bouillon
1/2 cup rough chopped onion
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup warm water
3 sprigs of fresh parsley

Clean and halve the Peppers

Roast them for 20 to 30 minutes in a 350° oven – use a heavy pan that you plan to use to braise the stew.

Remove the roasted peppers and set aside.

There will be some brown bits left on the bottom of the pan that will deglaze when you add liquid, enhancing the flavor profile of the dish.

 Salt and pepper the pork on both sides and dredge in flour.

Add 2 tablespoons of good Extra Virgin olive oil to the hot pan and sear the pork on one side until it has a rich brown caramelization. Turn the pork over.

Add the chopped onion  and allow it to cook as the second side sears. Add the chopped garlic and allow it to cook for a bit, being careful that it does not burn.

Dissolve the bouillon in warm water and use the mixture to deglaze the pan. Season the liquid to taste with the cumin, ground pepper and salt if necessary.  Remember the bouillon is already salty so use caution.

Lay the fresh parley sprigs over the meat. They can be removed before serving, but they add a nice smoky flavor. Cover and return to the oven for at least an hour and a half.

Test the meat and add more time as needed.  The meat should easily pull apart with a fork and the pan juices will be thick and rich, but not dry.

While the stew cooks I usually fix Mexican Rice, Flour Tortillas  and a salad.

Flour tortillas are so easy to make from a grocery store mix, and we think the freshly made ones taste better than the packaged variety.

A quick tip here. Mexican Rice is simple to fix, but there’s a trick to it. Heat a heavy pan to smoking hot, add some oil, long grain  rice and half an onion. Brown the rice until it is nice and toasty looking.  Then add some tomato sauce and brown it for a bit, too. Now add chicken broth (or bouillon), ground cumin, and smashed garlic. Cover and cook as directed.

That’s it… put it all on the table and enjoy.  Oh! You might want to designate a dish-washer before you start the project if, like us, you are your own dishwasher.  Mexican food makes a mess ’cause it happens too fast to clean up as you go…at least in my kitchen.  Hope you have fun with this one!