For Christmas I got the 2009 Page-A-Day Book Lover’s Calendar, which features a different book each day. Guess which author turned up on the page for Wednesday, January 14?
Isabel Allende and her book Inés of My Soul.
I’ve never read that book, but based on the Page-A-Day write-up, it is a passionate love story that takes place in 16th Century Spain and Latin America—a sort of hot and spicy romance set in rich historical times. Which, I suppose, is why the title for the page is CHILE CON CARNE.
Chile with meat.
Or, I suppose it could have just been a play on the word Chile, being that Isabel Allende is de Chile and that Doña Inés, protagonist of the featured book, ends up in Chile with Don Pedro.
No matter what the origin of Book-A-Day’s title is, I thought I’d provide my mother’s Chile con Carne recipe here. That way you can make a pot of steaming green chile stew to savor along with the heat of Doña Inés and Isabel Allende.
Chile con Carne
- A pound of pork
- Tablespoon of olive oil
- Tablespoon of flour
- Two cloves of garlic
- A large yellow (Spanish) onion
- Five or six red or yellow potatoes, peeled
- Four or so roasted, peeled, and deseeded chile pods
- A package of frozen corn
- Salt and pepper to taste
Chile con Carne, otherwise known ’round these parts as Green Chile Stew, is best made in a crock pot so that the flavors can simmer all day long and the meat becomes very tender.
First cut the pork into small chunks. (You can also use beef or chicken, but Mom always makes it with pork.) Brown the pork in oil in a large pan on the stove, along with a couple of cloves of chopped garlic and a whole chopped yellow onion. In the mean time, have your crock pot heating up.
After the meat is brown, add about a tablespoon of flour for thickening. (If you want a gluten-free version, use soy or rice flour.) Then add about four cups of water to the meat, and once the water starts boiling, put the whole thing into the crock pot.
Let the meat cook all afternoon, and about two hours before you’re going to serve the stew, add in the potatoes, peeled and chopped. (I like to cut mine into medium-sized pieces, not too small and not too big.) Also add the chopped green chiles, and 3/4 of the package of frozen corn. You may need to add more water.
Season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low for another two hours, and it’s ready to go.
NOTE: You can add fresh chopped tomatoes or any other vegetables, but the stew is wonderful with just the few simple ingredients above.