“We all have hometown appetites. Every other person is a bundle of longing for the simplicities of good taste once enjoyed on the farm or in the hometown they left behind.” – Clementine Paddleford
Clementine Paddelford is the food journalism pioneer you’ve never heard of. She wrote for numerous big-name publications from the 1920s-1960s. Clementine loved experiencing ethnic and regional dishes in restaurants and in people’s homes equally. She would travel thousands of miles every year to experience new dishes or preparations. She even spent time in a submarine seeing what the sailors while they were at sea. One fun fact about Clem is that she coined the term ‘hero’ as it relates to a sub sandwich. All accounts of her indicate that she was thorough and meticulous, a serious pack-rat, and full of life. The timing of Clementine’s legacy was shadowed a two large publications – The New York Times Cookbook and Mastering the Art of French Cooking, both released in the early sixties less than ten years before Paddleford’s death.
In honor of Clementine, I’d like to share a down-home dish you’re likely to find throughout Phoenix and the southwest. Green Chile Pork. Growing up I was not a big pork eater (blame sixth grade and the combination of this book and a movie about this) but after enough years the memories faded and I decided if I was going to have a career in food I had to eat pork. This stew with chile and tomatoes has evolved a few times since the original recipe but we’ve got the winner now.
Green Chile and Pork Stew, adapted from Mark Bittman
- 3/4 pounds pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
- 3/4 pounds pork tenderloin
- 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 14-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, low sodium with their liquid
- 1 bottle light beer (I use MGD 64)
- 2 cups roughly chopped broiled Anaheim green chilies
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 cups of water or low-sodium vegetable broth (for keeping pork moist)
- Warm flour tortillas or rice for serving
- Put a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the pork and sear on all sides, about 10 minutes.
- Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softened and golden, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, tomatoes and beer. Bring to a boil, and let it boil vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chilies, a sprinkle of salt and ground spices.
- Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer gently, and cover partly. Cook for 60 minutes until the pork is cooked through. *You want to maintain enough fluids throughout cook-time to keep the pork moist and heated through so keep those fluids (water or broth) on hand an add a bit if the mixture starts to look dry.
- Remove pork to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes. While the meat is resting, use an immersion blender to puree the stew to desired consistency (we like it chunky and thick but don’t like large pieces of tomato or chile). Dice the pork into bite-sized pieces or shred with two forks and return to the pan with juices. Taste, add a little more salt if necessary and serve with warm flour tortillas or over rice.
Clementine had a very strong mother who imparted two great lessons: “never grow a wishbone where your backbone ought to be,” and “even when she (Clem of her mother) knew I was making mistakes, she let me make them without a backfire of I-told-you-so’s.”