Pork

Poblano Peppers and Home Canned Chili Verde.

Last year after our move, I was finally able to get a small garden in the back yard. The year was rainy and not everything that I planted grew well but the peppers seemed to like the wet, hot weather. I had wanted to add chili peppers to our garden for a couple of years but worried that the amount of rain in West Virginia gets would hinder their growth.Usually people think of the high arid deserts when you hear about chilies and hot peppers. Well let me say that my Ancho/Poblano chilies did very well last summer and by the end of Sept. I was over run with chilies. Here is a photo of the largest pepper plant I have ever raised it stood 4 1/2 feet tall and at one time had 22 chilies growing on it branches at one time. Eventually, Tom and I had to stake the pepper due to the fact that they were so heavy with fruit we were afraid that the stocks would break. In this photo you can see our plant touches the top of a 4 foot fence and we had not staked this plant yet.

Pablano/Ancho pepper plants in the Buckhannon, WV garden 2015

Poblano/Ancho pepper plants in the Buckhannon, WV garden 2015.

So what do you do with all these Chilies…. you make Chili Verde Sauce. Chili Verde is a stew like dish that comes from Northern Mexico. Green Chili is traditionally made with pork, hot to mild Chili peppers and Tomatillos . It can be eaten as dip, stew, or condiment like its brother Salsa. Our family loves it over burritos and over eggs in a dish called Huevos Rancheros. I also make a slow cooker pork roast with a Chili Verde dressing.

This winter when I broke open a jar of the Chili Verde, I remembered that wanted to share how to pressure can Chili Verde with all of you, using home-grown peppers from your garden. The process requires a pressure canner due to the use of pork in the ingredients.

Poblano peppers are a medium heat  chili pepper and these are still at the green stage.When fully ripened and red it is an Ancho pepper and is often dried and used as a crushed hot pepper. I used 12 to 15 peppers for this recipe.

2 1/2 pounds Pork butt or shoulder cut into small cubes

1 large onion

13 small Pablano peppers or 6 large peppers, roasted, seeded, skinned and chopped = 2 cups

2 Jalapeno peppers chopped whole for heat, remove seeds for mild

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic =to about 3 cloves of garlic

1 pound Tomatillos, roasted,skinned and chopped or 16 oz jar Tomatillo salsa

1/4 cup wine vinegar

3 cups chicken stock

1 can diced tomatoes

2 Tablespoons salt

1 Tablespoon black pepper

2 teaspoons cumin, oregano, dry cilantro… if using fresh Tomatillos double these.

makes about 8 pints, cook time 75 minutes for pints and 90 for quarts,prep time 15 mintues.

Sink full of pablano chili peppers read to roast.

Sink full of poblano chili peppers read to roast.

The first step in cooking with any chili pepper is to roast them. I roasted trays of peppers in the oven this summer. The main requirement is to char the skin of the pepper on all sides and then place them in a container to sweat, making the skin easy to remove. Some people use paper bags some use a bowel with plastic wrap, I use a bowel with a tight lid and cook my peppers at a temperature around 400 degrees. Watching carefully to make sure I am not setting the broiled peppers on fire. It takes about 10 minutes to roast 12 to 15 peppers on a cookie sheet at one time.

Peppers chard and bowl with a lid to sweat after being removed from my oven.

Peppers charred and bowl with a lid to sweat after being removed from my oven.

I then remove the stems, most of the seeds and skins from the peppers. Letting them cool as I prepare the canning portion of this project.

1. I prepare 8 pint jars, lids, and rings for this batch of Verde sauce. Washing and sanitizing the jars and keeping the rings and lids in hot water until ready to used.

2 1/2 pound pork shoulder or roast.

2 1/2 pound pork shoulder or roast.

2. I dice the pork meat into bite size pieces making sure they will pass through the neck of a canning jar. I add  the meat to a 8 quart stock pot with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and cook over med heat. The meat does not have to be done all the way through, the rest of the cooking will  finish while in the canner, but this does remove excess fat from the pork. Add salt and pepper and stir before setting aside. Drain away all fat but one tablespoon.

3. To the Tablespoon fat add chopped chilies, Jalapeno peppers, onions, and garlic. Saute this mixture for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, tomatillos, vinegar and spices.  Simmer on med heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

chili verde simmering on stove

Chili Verde simmering on stove.

What I used instead of fresh Tomatillos

What I used instead of fresh Tomatillos.

Where I live in rural West Virginia it is hard to find fresh tomatillos and if you do find them they look like this. I did not want to drive 30 minutes to see if I could find them so I used this canned salsa to add the mild richness that they provide in a dish.

Cut tomatillos

Cut tomatillos

They would need  roasted and chopped before being added to the stock pot.

4. After simmering for 15 to 20 minutes it is time to blend the sauce. I do not own a hand held blender so poured  mine into a blender a little at a time. I think this batch filled my blender three times. Blend for several minutes until smooth.

Blender full of green Chili

Blender full of green Chili

return to the stock pot and heat to boiling. The sauce must be hot when added to the jars so that the jars do not break when added to a pressure canner full of hot water.

5. Place browned pork into clean pint jars, filling at least half way to the top. We like more sauce so I use only fill mine 1/2.

6. Next ladle hot sauce over meat using a canning funnel and leaving a one inch head space. Use a rubber spatula to remove any air bubbles between meat. Wipe rim of jar and top with warm lid and rings. Process at 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts.

cleaning rim of jars before canning

Cleaning rim of jars before Canning.

Home made Chili Verde 2015

Home made Chili Verde 2015

This recipe can be made without the added pork if you do not want to add meat to the sauce. I never found any information on how long to process a meat free version so I would continue to process it for the recommended time.

So this weekend my husband and I were able to eat a wonderful breakfast with this sauce. I made two large plates of Huevos Rancheros with Chili Verde. I made them with a warm tortilla on the bottom, topped with refried beans, two fried eggs, chili verde, and shredded cheese. A spicy way to start the day and a great way for my family to eat up all of those hot peppers!

Huevos Rancheros for breakfast on a cold morning.

Huevos Rancheros for breakfast on a cold morning.

Categories: canning, gardening, pepper /chilies, peppers, Pork, seeds | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Mountain Mamas favorite family gathering food, Pulled Pork.

Being that West Virginia is south of the Mason Dixon Line our people are traditionally thought of a southern. If you hear my older son, his wife and Grand Mother speak you know you have left the north and headed into Pork Country. Pulled Pork is a favorite of all Southern Families and our’s too. Some smoke it and put in on a grill, some roast it low and slow, and some like me bake it. Any food that you can cook a meal for at least 6 people and put in the oven and forget about for 4 to 5  hours is perfect in my opinion. When we know we will have a large group for lunch or dinner I pull this recipe out, it is Paula Dean classic with my own twists. All you need from here is side dishes and some sweet tea.

finished pork shoulder roast.

finished pork shoulder roast.

Pulled pork is one of the easiest things in the world to make as long as you purchase good meat. I use a Smithfield pork shoulder roast with a nice amount of fat. This is why last week I made that long trip to the I.G. A. store.  This roast was 8 pounds when I brought it home, but for a family of 4 adults and 2 children, 4 pounds is just about perfect so I cut the roast in half and put the remainder in the freezer.

Our pulled pork is a combination of dry rub and apple flavorings. I love the combination of sweet apple with the hot tang of the rub spices slowly braised into the roast.

I start with a 4 pound pork roast, placed into a dutch oven and cover it with a dry rub.I often times I use a store-bought rub so that I can save some money on spices I may not have at home. But in case you have them I use black pepper, garlic powder, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, smoky paprika, and salt. I cover the roast and let it set about an hour in the morning.

pork shoulder with rub resting for an hour

pork shoulder with rub resting for an hour

After resting I add  3/4 cup of brown sugar to the rub making a sweet spicy glaze. To the dutch oven I also add  one cup of apple cider vinegar and 2 cup apple juice or apple cider. For cooking I find that the juice seems to have a deeper flavor when cooked but we always seem to have apple cider in the house for drinking so I use it most of the time.

apple cider and apple cider vinegar added to dutch oven

apple cider and apple cider vinegar added to dutch oven

Then top the roast with a nice amount of Salt and Pepper. Put the lid on and bake on 300 degrees for at least 4 hours if you can get 5 hours even better. The meat is tender and will fall apart in the dutch oven and is very hot. Let the roast rest for 15 minutes and then remove to serving platter or large tray.

finished pork shoulder roast.

finished pork shoulder roast.

The roast is sliced ( if that is possible) and served in broth or “pulled” at this point. Traditionally pulled pork should be so tender the you can pull it apart with two forks. In most cases this is true, but I remember that I have cooked a large layer of fat on top of this roast and a healthy size bone and both need removed before the pulling can begin. I usually use a number of tools to get the shredded meat free from most of the fat and bone. Most often this means burnt fingers and a large serving fork.

After finishing up some side dishes depending on who is here for dinner we make two plates of pork. One that is plain with only the natural juices from cooking ( this one is for the husband). Then one that I mix with our families favorite BB-Q sauce ( Sweet Baby Ray’s ). The sauce is not to sweet and thick, perfect for pulled pork sandwiches that the kids love.

Sweet Baby Rays BB-Q sauce

Sweet Baby Rays BB-Q sauce

On a cold winter night with a couple of side dishes Tom,The Kids and I have a nice meal. Not hard to make and you can add all kinds of toppings to your pulled pork sandwiches. Here in West Virginia you would add coleslaw, out west  you would add cheddar cheese, farther down south you may see grilled onions / pickles. What ever you add it is wonderful and feeds a crowd of hungry people with little effort. So think of this the next time you have a party to go to. Bring pulled pork, buns and sauce and you will be the one with all the complements at the end of the night.

Pulled Pork off the bun

Pulled Pork off the bun

 

Categories: apple cider vinger, BB-Q, Pork | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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