Every time I open Rick Bayless's books, he proves to me that Mexican cooking is more than tacos and burritos. It's not that I didn't already know this--but somehow I'm still surprised when ingredients and flavors I'm used to eating in tortillas end up outside them. His book Mexican Everyday is his most accessible, full of quick meals from salads to soups to meat off the grill.
I wrote about pork tenderloin earlier this week in a wonderful salad, but I still had more left to cook. After an important hot sear, a short simmer in fire-roasted tomatoes and a few roasted poblanos results in flavor and tenderness surrounded by a gently spiced broth. The dish is fragrant and flavorful despite the short cooking time and excellent over rice or with some black beans. But for good measure, I'm planning on reducing the leftovers a bit more and stuffing the whole thing in a tortilla for lunch. Just so I recognize it.
- 2 large poblano chiles
- 1 to 1 1/4 pound pork tenderloin, cut into bite-size cubes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes, preferable fire roasted
- 3/4 cups beef broth or 2/3 cup water plus 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large branch fresh epazote or 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Roast peppers over open stovetop flame or broiler, turning until blackened all over. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel until cool enough to handle. Peel the blackened skins off and rinse under cool water to remove seeds. Slice into thin strips.
In the meantime, generously salt the tenderloin pieces. Heat the oil until almost smoking, then add the pork and sear over medium-high heat until browned all over. Remove the pork, leaving the oil in the pan.
Add the sliced onion and cook 4-5 minutes over medium heat until golden but still crunchy, then add the garlic and poblano strips and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth or water with Worcestershire, and the epazote if using. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, 4-5 minutes, then add meat and cilantro if using. Simmer until the pork is cooked through. Season with salt to taste.