Pork Stew with Ancho Chiles and Squash
The ancho chili is the dried version of the Poblano pepper. Ancho chiles have a deep red color and a wrinkled skin. Anchos are sweet and smoky with a flavor slightly reminiscent of raisins. Their heat is mild to medium-hot.
- 4 ancho chiles, seeds and stems removed
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons each coriander, cumin and fennel seed (you can use ground but toasting the seeds and grinding them yourself will give more nutty, smoky flavor)
- 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
- 3 pounds pork shoulder/butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 2 onions, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 pounds kabocha or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Toasted pepitas, lime-pickled onions and/or cilantro leaves, for topping
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Place anchos in a pot with the stock and bring to simmer to soften peppers. Purée and reserve.
Toast seeds, if using, and grind in spice mill.
Bring meat to room temperature and pat dry; season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown meat in batches and remove. Add onions, garlic, and ground spices, and partially cover pot. Soften onions, 7-8 minutes, then add pepper purée, pork, squash, and honey, and stir. Cover and transfer to oven. Roast stew 75-90 minutes until pork is very tender. Serve stew in shallow bowls with garnishes of choice.