Question: You ever open the freezer, see the same old meats you always buy, think about making them in the same old ways you always made them, and want to walk in the other direction?
That was me last week.
I had some country pork ribs. And usually I do the same thing to them. I season them, slow cook them, shred them, add BBQ sauce and serve to my family as a pulled pork style thingie. But as I stared at a huge pack of the suckers in my freezer, with everything in my soul I did not want to do that.
What can I say? I’m into variety.
So I searched the interwebz for new ways to cook these things. And there were some ideas, but they all fell along the lines of “pork goes with sweet tastes” school of thought. I didn’t want to mix them with pineapples or serve them alongside applesauce or any of the other sweet ideas I was coming across. Because…no. I barely even like BBQ. (I acquiesce at my family’s insistence but I have a thing about sweet meat…meat is supposed to be savory, not sweet! At least in my world.)
It is in these desperate times, dear Foodies, that you must be brave. You must go into the kitchen. Put on your sassiest apron. And you must PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!
Now what I came up with is not an original dish. It could probably be categorized as a simplified version of ropa vieja, a Cuban pork dish with tomatoes and spices. But look. The dish just isn’t legit enough to earn that title. Plus I made it very “stew-y.” Because it is cold and I wanted stew!
A few recipe notes:
- Yes. I used potatoes. Burn me at the stake. Occasionally potatoes pass my lips. They are good. I like them. You don’t? Leave them out! You can replace with any number of veggies.
- When (not if) I make this again, I will definitely use MORE chipotle peppers, not less. It wasn’t spicy enough for me. Which means it’s way too spicy for people who don’t eat spicy food. For you people, just use one. Or better yet, just use a Mexican spice blend and some mild tomatoes/chiles.
- I had a happy accident in the photographing of this dish. I thought I had sour cream or Greek yogurt for topping. I had neither. (We’d had taco night a few nights earlier.) So for the sake of taking the dang picture I used ricotta. Oh. My. MARTHA! That was good. It gave it all a very luxurious feel. I’m sure if you want to stay true to the Latin leanings of this dish you could use cojita, but since ricotta is more readily available…I’d say give it a whirl if you like it already.
- Lastly, if the fam isn’t into the pork stew idea, this does great when you retrieve the meat with slotted spoons and put them into a nice, warmed tortilla. It’s also very good when you dip your fork into the bowl of it in the fridge the next morning, but we won’t talk about that.