Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.
― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
When our circumstances drive us too close to the “edge,” it is time to find a bit of “wilderness” and respite from it all. Last weekend we packed up our new “tiny” trailer – an Aliner Expedition – and headed to Hueco Tanks State Historical Park. We recently downsized from a 27′ trailer with a slide out to this compact folding trailer with room only for the bare necessities.
One of my main concerns about the substantially smaller trailer was my ability to enjoy cooking as I always have in our larger trailers. I decided the key to meal planning on our camping vacations would be in the preparation – selecting simple dishes that require only a few ingredients, packing portions rather than entire containers, and using my slow-cooker in advance. One of the food bloggers I follow – Elaina Newton, The Rising Spoon – recently posted a recipe for Slow-Cooker Beef Pot Roast with Tomatoes and Green Chiles. This sounded fabulous, so I clipped the recipe to Evernote. I decided to use this recipe as inspiration, knowing I could get the slow-cooker going early, pack the trailer, and take a portion of that slow-cooked goodness on our trip. With brown rice and a green salad, we had a delicious meal with little to prep and room to spare in our little fridge!
In shopping for my protein, I was shocked to discover the price of beef chuck. We don’t eat very much beef, so it has been quite a long time since I’ve purchased this cut. It was $5.48 a pound! My plan was to do a very large batch in my very large slow-cooker, and I could not see spending $30.00 for chuck. At $3.48 a pound, the lean boneless pork loin caught my eye. I love pork and green chile. I was hoping the absence of fat would not negatively affect the dish. I used my fresh, frozen Hatch “hot” green chile, and little Cherub tomatoes. A bottle of Blue Moon Agave Blonde Ale, some good stock, cumin, chipotle chile powder, and a generous amount of garlic lent lots of flavor to the dish. The tantalizing aroma of the slow-cooker all day long meant I was really ready for dinner when we arrived at Hueco Tanks a few hours later… I did a 6 pound pork loin, so we will enjoy this a few more times 🙂
Slow Cooker Pork and Green Chile
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 pork loin I used a 6 lb. loin
- 2 cups good broth or stock chicken, beef, vegetable
- 1 12 oz. bottle of decent beer I used Blue Moon's Agave Blonde Ale
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 tbsp. chile powder*
- 1 pint Cherub tomatoes or similar small tomatoes*
- 4 cups Hatch green chile*
- salt and pepper to taste
In a very large sauce pan, add oil over high heat. Add pork. Brown on all sides. Adjust heat if pan is too hot.
When pork is browned on all sides, add to slow-cooker.
Add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.
Cook until pork is tender and falling apart.*
Using 2 forks, pull the pork apart into bite-sized pieces. Stir to combine with green chile and tomatoes. Serve over rice, polenta, or wrapped in a tortilla.*
Recipe Notes*I used chipotle powder, but you can use any good chile powder such as ancho, NM red chile, or a chile powder mix.
*There really is no substitute for Hatch green chile. It is commercially available in cans and the freezer section of most of the U.S. now. In New Mexico, we freeze fresh chile in September to last through the year...
*Slow-cookers vary in temperature. I set mine to "high" and cooked it for 6 hours. I'd say you could cook it 8 to 10 hours on low, and get good results.
Keep in mind the versatility of a dish like this one. Wrapping the tender, spicy pork in a whole wheat tortilla is a great alternative when time is in short supply. It would also be fabulous on top of soft polenta or green Mexican rice. Freeze in zip bags, and thaw as needed. We enjoyed this with a Deschutes Red Chair NWPA (Northwest Pale Ale).
A few photos of our trip to Hueco Tanks State Historical Park: