Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

I went to the meat counter looking for pork chops. I walked away from the meat counter with something called bone-in pork shoulder country-style ribs—a mouthful in more ways than one. “You can roast it or grill it,” the butcher said, somewhat vaguely. Hm. Nervous as I was about what to do with this giant hunk of multihyphenated meat, I was convinced by its locally raised label and its extra-high rating on my grocery store’s animal welfare scale. Worth a shot.

Online research indicated that the preferred method involves cooking the meat low and slow in a bath of barbecue sauce. While I’m rarely one to turn down barbecue, I had a serious hankering for posole, or Mexican-style white hominy—pretty much pork’s soul mate. I found this deliciously simple-sounding recipe from Food & Wine, perfect for a weeknight, but this time around, cutting the meat off the bone seemed like a shame. I ended up starting with a tried and true pork recipe and tweaked as I went. (Folks more experienced with the crockpot might opt to go that route; please post suggestions below!) I was fairly heavy handed with the chiles, but for subtler palates, different types and amounts of chiles, as well as different spices, would yield a spectrum of milder but still full-flavored stews.

Serves four

» 1 ½-lb bone-in pork shoulder country-style ribs (or another cut appropriate for stewing)
» 1 Tbsp olive oil
» ¼ tsp salt
» ½ yellow onion, chopped
» 5 garlic cloves, crushed
» ½ tsp coriander seeds
» 1 cup chicken stock
» 3 oz chiles (I used pickled jalapenos, which I keep by the jar and which lent some lovely sweetness in addition to that spicy wallop, but you could easily substitute canned chipotles. Use significantly less, though, if you’re aiming for a mild dish.)
» 1 tsp ground espresso
» 1 tsp vanilla
» 1 15-oz can posole (or use dried posole and soak it in advance, as directed)
» lime wedges
» avocado
» sour cream (these last three for garnish)

Add the oil to a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to medium-high heat. Season pork evenly with salt; transfer to pot and sauté 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes to brown on all sides. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300 F. Remove pork from pot. Add onion and garlic to pot, sautéing 3 minutes and stirring occasionally. Stir in coriander, letting seeds toast a bit, and chiles. Sauté 1 minute. Stir in stock, chiles, espresso, and vanilla; bring to a boil.

Return pork to pot, cover, and bake at 300 for 2 ½ hours. At this point, I removed the pork from the pot, let it cool slightly, and carved it into 1 ½-inch chunks to make it easier to eat as a stew, then added the pork and the bones back to the pot, along with the drained posole. (I’d love to hear how others have handled this hunka meat; comments encouraged!) Re-cover the pot and stick back in the oven for 30 more minutes or until meat is fork-tender.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with lime, avocado, and sour cream, if desired. (The latter is useful if, like me, you’re generous with the chiles.) Happy meat purchased. Complicated pork ribs conquered. Posole craving satisfied. Mission accomplished.

With many farm shares winding down for the season, we’ve put the CSA Cookoff to bed for the year. Look for it again in late spring, sprouting along with the arugula and asparagus. In the meantime, meet HOME Cooked, a winter-friendly recipe file that revels in the earthier corners of the fridge and the pantry. Think root veggies and baked goods. We’ll post a recipe each week, featuring dishes from you. Don’t be shy. Share the goods. Especially the baked goods.

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