4 pounds pork shoulder with bone, fat trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup chicken stock or broth
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, as needed
3 large onions, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
1 large leek (white part only), cut in half and rinsed of any debris
6 to 8 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground Chipotle powder
1 (28-ounce) can peeled whole plum tomatoes, cut up prior to putting into the stew*
1 1/2 pounds chile pepper, blistered and skins removed**
2 tablespoons chopped oregano leaves***
Coarse salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Fresh lime wedges, for garnish
* Any easy way to cut up can tomatoes is to leave them in the can and insert clean kitchen shears into the opened can to cut the tomatoes. This easy technique is much easier than using the food processor or cutting each tomato with a knife on a cutting board.
** I used a combination of chile peppers (1 Giant Marconi, 3 Poblano, 1 cayenne, 5 Hatch Chile Peppers and 1 Serrano chile pepper). You may use whatever chile peppers you prefer or can find in your market. Learn how to prepare, roast, and peel fresh chile peppers.
*** I used Mexican oregano in this recipe. Mexican oregano is stronger and less sweet than regular oregano. It is well suited to the spicy, hot, cumin-flavored dishes or Mexico and Central America. Perfect for chili and salsa.
In a large 6-quart soup pot or cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat, combine pork cubes with 1/3 cup chicken stock/broth; cover and cook approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat has released it's juices. Remove pot from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat to a large plate and set aside.
Drain the broth/juices from the pot into a bowl. Place the bowl of broth in your freezer for the fat to congeal. Once the fat has congealed, remove the jellied liquid from the freezer and, using a spoon, lift off all congealed fat and discard. Set remaining broth aside to use in your stew.
Place the soup pot back on medium heat; add olive oil and let heat. Add onions and fennel; sautuntil they begin to soften. Add garlic, cumin, and Chipotle power; cover pot, and cook approximately 8 minutes or until onions are soft, stirring occasionally.
Return the meat and any accumulated juice to the pot. Add cut up tomatoes (with their juice), and bring almost to boiling. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover pot, and cook for 1 hour. NOTE: During this time, remove the lid and stir a couple of times. If juices are evaporating, add some additional broth which was left after removing the congealed fat.
Stir in the chile peppers and oregano. Cover and cook at a gentle simmer until the pork is very tender and flavors are blended, approximately 30 minutes. If the stew needs a little more broth, add more of the broth that has been set aside. Taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary.
Serve with cilantro and lime wedges.
Makes 6 servings.