Pork and Squash with a Mexican Twist

Pork and Squash with a Mexican TwistIt is said that necessity is the mother of invention. In my kitchen, however, the mother of invention is often whatever is lying around in the refrigerator threatening to go bad. For this recipe I started with the rendered pork shoulder I described earlier and some lovely summer squash from a local farmers’ market. The inspiration came in the form of some mystery stock (I am pretty sure it is beef stock but I cannot recall what I cooked in it), a scant cup of tomato sauce, and some scallion greens. The pantry yielded some chipotle chilies, garlic, and some spices. The rest, as they say, is history.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons lard or oil, divided use
  • 4 or 5 cloves garlic, chopped, divided use
  • 3 or 4 scallions, green part only, sliced thinly crosswise
  • 4 ounces cooked, shredded pork shoulder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, divided use
  • 1½ cup beef or chicken stock, divided use
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small summer squash, sliced lengthwise ¼-inch thick
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 or 3 chipotle chilies in adobo, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • Kernels from one ear of sweet corn
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese

Method

Heat the 1 tablespoon of the lard oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Sauté the scallions and ½ of the garlic until soft. Add the shredded pork and stir to combine. Add the cumin and ½ teaspoon of oregano. Pour in ½ cup of the stock and stir until absorbed. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Brush the summer squash slices with a bit of lard or oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or grill and cook the squash until just soft. Set aside.

Over medium heat, melt the rest of the lard or oil in the same pan you used for the meat. Add the onion and sauté until soft but not colored, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and sauté for yet another minute. Stir in the chipotles, the tomato sauce, the remaining oregano, and the remaining cup of stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until nicely thickened. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread a bit of sauce on bottom of a baking dish just large enough to hold the squash in a single layer. Arrange the squash in the dish and nap with ½ of the remaining sauce. Spread the corn and meat evenly over the squash then cover with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and dish is bubbling.

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