Courtney McBroom is a chef, food writer and former culinary director of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York. A passionate dinner party thrower, here she shares a special dish.
“Growing up in Texas gave me front-row access to the best Southwestern dishes available, and green chilli pork was one of them. I had it first when I was a kid, on a road trip with my mom to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s one of the few things I remember about the trip, along with the Pueblo Revival architecture and the phenomenal women with long, grey braids, flowing skirts and turquoise jewellery.
This recipe works well for dinner parties because you can make it a day or two ahead of time then reheat it when it’s time to eat. It actually tastes better this way.
Chock-full of chilli powder, cumin and more fresh green chillies than you can shake a spatula at, the result is a deeply flavourful, piquant broth with little nuggets of delicious pork floating around – all looking for a lucky tummy to call home.
Ladle it over a bowl of tortilla chips and, as you eat, the chips will soak up the broth and become soft and chewy. If you want to add Texas vibes, top it with cheese and sour cream, which is not the traditional way of eating it, but damn if it isn’t delicious.”
How to make green chilli pork with tortilla chips
Serves six to eight people
- 700g mix of green peppers, jalapeños and aci sivri chilli peppers (available from Turkish supermarkets)
- 475g underripe tomatoes (about six medium-sized), washed and halved
- One lime
- One large red onion, roughly chopped
- One head garlic, cloves detached and smashed
- One bunch coriander stems – just the stems! Save the tops for garnishing
- One litre chicken stock
- One to One and a half kg pork shoulder, cut into three to four cm chunks
- Two tsps salt
- One tbsp ground cumin
- One tbsp chilli powder
Crispy tortilla chips, sliced radishes and spring onions, coriander leaves, lime wedges and, if you’re feeling Texan, plenty of sour cream and shredded Monterey Jack cheese.
Step 1: Put the peppers on a baking tray and place under a super-hot grill until the skins are charred and black, about five minutes, then flip and repeat on the other side. Remove from the oven and immediately cover the tray with foil. This steams the peppers and makes the skins easier to remove.
Step 2: Put the tomatoes cut side down on a clean baking tray, halve the lime and place cut side up on the same tray. Grill for 10 minutes, until extremely charred. You might think, “Wow, these look burnt to hell!” They are. And that is good. We want this lovely charred flavour. Transfer the tomatoes, their juices and the lime juice to a blender.
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas mark 2. Remove the skins, stems and seeds from the peppers. I like to rip the stems off with my hands, then run the peppers under cool water while pulling the skins off. It’s pretty easy, you’ll see. And if you like spice, you can leave most of the seeds in the peppers.
Step 4: Add the onion, garlic, coriander stems, half the chicken stock and half the peppers to the blender with the tomatoes. Blend on high until everything has broken down and you are left with a yummy puree. Set this goodness aside. Dice the remaining un-blended peppers into 1cm cubes and set them aside as well.
Step 5: Heat one tbsp of oil in a large, ovenproof dish over medium-high heat. Toss the pork in the salt, cumin and chilli powder. Once the oil is just about to start smoking, sear the pork in three batches, flipping the cubes halfway through (four minutes per side). Don’t move the pork around! Let the cubes sit there and get niiice and brown.
Step 6: With the final batch of pork still in the pot, reduce the heat to low and deglaze with the remaining chicken stock, scraping up all the scrumptious brown bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Scrape the bottom of the pot clean – let no brown flavour bits remain.
Step 7: Put all the pork back in the pot and add that blender full of goodness, along with the diced peppers. Stir, turn the heat back to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then put the lid on and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour if you prefer the pork to have a bite to it (my preference), or up to two hours if you’d like the pork to fall apart.
Step 8: Remove the pot from the oven and salt to taste – it’s going to take quite a bit of salt, so don’t be shy. To serve, set up an assembly line with the tortilla chips, radish, spring onion, coriander leaves, limes, sour cream and Monterey Jack cheese and let your guests make their bowls up however they want.
Wine expert Erin Sylvester recommends the perfect pairing: Clos Lentiscus Núria Montònega 2016, £12.46.
“This pét-nat is 100% montònega (parellada) fermented naturally with no additives. It’s bright, lemony and salty, giving the pork with chilies a lil’ lift while still supporting its earthy spiciness.”
Brie says: Courtney is the chef in our friendship group, I love cooking with her. Recently, some friends came over and we all cooked together – it’s a great way to build community. I met Lynn, who took the photographs for this recipe, at the cover shoot. I love her spirit and passion.
Photography: Lynn Torres