There is a Mexican restaurant in Clute, Texas where I have lunch whenever I am in town. The restaurant, Taqueria Guadalajara,is a bit of a dive with ripped seats and a blaring jukebox. It also has great a buffet with a spicy green pork stew that keeps me coming back. The stew has chunks of pork shoulder that have been slow cooked in a spicy green tomatillo sauce. The stew is glorious when ladled over a pile of rice and eaten by scooping everything onto a crunchy tortilla chip. It is spicy enough that by the time I make a return trip to the buffet I have beads of sweat rolling down the back of my neck. I figured this would be a great recipe to try to recreate with country style ribs in a slow cooker.
This was my first pass attempt at a recreation. I knew I wasn’t going to get it perfect on the first try but I needed to create a starting point. I started with four pounds of country style ribs and coated them generously with kosher salt and chili powder.
I added the ribs to the slow cooker along with a pint of fire roasted salsa verde (“Medium” variety of the Arriba brand). Yeah, I know I should make my own but I am living in Louisiana now and my access to fresh tomatillos is a bit limited. I also added two tablespoons of “Better than Bouillon” chicken base with another pint of water.
I set everything up at 6:00 a.m., put the slow cooker on low and headed out to work.
I admit to feeling a little giddy during the day thinking about what would be waiting for me when I got home! When I finally made it back to the house at 4:30 the smell in the house was pretty good and I knew I would be enjoying dinner. I also learned a neat little feature about my slow cooker. Apparently after it cooks on “Low” for 10 hours it automatically switches over to a “Warming” mode. Cool…I like this thing.
I fired up my little rice cooker and went to work finishing up my pork stew. I used a ladle and skimmed the fat from the surface of the stew. There was plenty of liquid in the slow cooker so I was aggressive in “de-fatting” and removed about a cup of liquid. I then used a pair of tongs to remove all of the bones since most of the pork had already fallen off of them.
By the time I finished prepping the stew and getting out of my work clothes the rice was ready and I dug in! It was great but was not of the same caliber as what I get in Texas. By the time I went back for the second bowl I didn’t have any sweat beads forming. 🙂
The next time I make this I am going to:
- Use two jars of Salsa Verde
- Use the “Hot” variety if available
- Eliminate the water
- Keep the two tablespoons of Better than Bouillon chicken base.
- Use boneless country style ribs if possible. Picking the bones out of the slow cooker was tedious and I ended up missing a few.