I can say little more about this flexible, reliable, iconic, eponymous Mexican dish than “make it a staple in your kitchen.” Roasted chiles, ripe tomatoes, tender seared pork and aromatic herbs. A perfect balance of spicy, tangy, sweet and meaty, with enough fragrance to fill the house. I love to eat it with fried black beans, though white rice is good, too.
- 2 large fresh poblano chiles
- 1 to 1 ¼ pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted), drained
- ¾ cup beef broth OR 2/3 cup water with 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large branch epazote OR ½ cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped cilantro
- Roast the peppers over an open flame or 4 inches below a broiler, turning regularly until blistered and blackened all over, 5 minutes for an open flame, 10 minutes for the broiler. Place in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, let cool until handleable.
- While the chiles are cooling, pat the meat dry on paper towels; sprinkle liberally with salt. Heat the oil a very large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle the meat with salt. When the oil is hot, add the meat and cook in an uncrowded single layer, stirring and turning regularly, until browned all over, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove to a plate, leaving behind as much oil behind as possible.
- Rub the blackened skin off the chiles and pull out the stem and seed pod. Rinse the chile flesh to remove bits of skin and seeds. Cut into ¼-inch strips.
- Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until browned but still crunchy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chile strips, stir until fragrant, then pour in the drained tomatoes, broth (or water-Worcestershire combo) and epazote (save the cilantro for the very end). Bring to a boil and let cook until lightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the meat to the pan (and cilantro, if that’s what you’re using). Reduce the heat to medium and simmer briskly until the pork is cooked through—I like it still a touch rosy inside, which usually takes about 5 minutes of simmering.
- Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon. Remove the epazote from the pan and you’re ready to serve.