This hearty stew gets its flavor from pork and a medley of vegetables. The best choice for the pork stew meat is shoulder. In Mexico, ask the butcher for espaldilla. Substitute güero chile for the xcatic chile, which is difficult to find outside the Yucatan. I’ve omitted the ham and chorizo that are usually included here, since I think the dish is porky enough without them, and turkey bacon could be used instead of pork bacon.
- ¼ pound bacon, diced
- 1 ½ pounds pork stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 zucchini, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 chayotes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- ½ pound cabbage, shredded
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 1 tomato, pureed
- 1 pound brown lentils
- chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 xcatic chile, or substitute güero chile, whole
- 1 plantain, peeled and diced (optional, but good)
- salt to taste
Place the bacon in a large cazuela or Dutch oven; cook until crisp and fat has rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and take out all but 2 tablespoons fat.
Add the pork to the pot, brown on all sides and remove. Add the carrots, zucchini, chatoyes, potatoes, cabbage, onion and tomato. Sweat the vegetables, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
Add the lentils, return the pork cubes to the pot and cover with broth by about 3 inches. Simmer, covered, until the meat and lentils are tender, adding more broth as needed. This is a stew rather than a soup, so it should have a nice, thick consistency.
Return the bacon to the pot, along with the chile and plantain. Cook an additional 5to10 minutes and taste for salt. Serve in shallow stew bowls. Serves 6-8.
Heart healthy lentils: Mexican fall favorites