Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cooking with Clay

I can’t blame you if you read the last post (Weird andWonderful Food Gifts) and just couldn’t wait for the holidays to get a clay pot of your very own.  With the weather turning chilly this is the perfect time for the long simmered dishes a clay pot makes magically delicious. 

All ingredients in the pot.

This week I gave my 6 quart unglazed clay bean pot a seasonal test run with a dish of long simmered pork country ribs, red peppers, and tomatillos.  This might be more of a weekend dish for most people (or weekday for freelancers like myself).  But take the time to put these ingredients together, let the flavors simmer and seap for a couple of hours, and you will keep reaping the rewards of this rib-sticking dish all week long.  

2 Hours later: Pork, Tomatillo, and Pepper Deliciousness

Pork and Tomatillo Stew in Clay Pot
Time: 3 hours
Yield: 6 servings

3 lb. country pork ribs
salt and pepper
1/4 c. veg oil

1 medium onion
2 medium red peppers
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika
¾ tsp. cumin seeds
1 cup red wine

1 serrano chili
1 handful cilantro
1 lb tomatillos
2 cups chicken broth

Soak 5-6 qt. unglazed clay pot in water.  Season ribs on both sides with salt and pepper.  Working in batches, brown ribs on both sides in a couple tablespoons of oil using more oil as needed.  Set browned ribs aside on a platter once browned.  While ribs are browning, peel and slice onion.  Remove seeds and ribs from red peppers and cut into one inch chunks.  Mince garlic.  When ribs are all browned add some additional oil if necessary then add onion and red peppers to the pan.  Saute for five minutes until softened then add garlic, paprika and cumin.  Saute for another 2 minutes until aromatic.  Add wine and simmer until wine has reduced by half.  While onions and peppers are cooking, peel papery shell from tomatillos, rinse to remove sticky exterior, then cut in halves or quarters depending on their size.  Slice Serrano chili and roughly chop cilantro.   Drain clay pot and place on a stove over a low flame (use a diffuser if working on an electric stove).  In the pot, layer browned ribs with chopped cilantro, Serrano chili, and onion mixture.  Bring the clay pot slowly up to a medium heat and top with a lid.  Back in the sauté pan, add cut tomatillos and chicken broth.  Bring tomatillos to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook for 10-15 minutes stirring often until tomatillos begin to collapse.  Season with salt and pepper and add to the clay pot.  Give the clay pot mixture a gentle stir.  Add more liquid if necessary so ribs are just submerged.  Keep the clay pot at a simmer over medium heat for about 2 hours, until pork is tender and falling off the bone.  Serve with tortillas, rice, or potatoes. 

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