Make Ahead

Tomatillo White Beans and Shredded Pork

March 17, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Serves 12
Author Notes

This is a great inexpensive dish for a crowd (it also freezes well if you want to store a portion for a rainy day). You use a cheap cut of pork slow cooked in tomatillos to flavor a large pot of beans, creating a delicious filling for tacos. Accompany this with crunchy carrot, jicama, and radish slaw ( one small head of cabbage makes plenty of salad for a crowd.

This dish was inspired by a recipe from Rick Bayless for cubed pork stewed in tomatillos, with canned white beans added at the end. I found that cooking dried beans in the tomatillo sauce gives them much more flavor (and costs less). One could use a number of beans in this recipe. I originally made it with an heirloom variety called Arikara, but white navy beans or anasazi would also work well in this dish. Fresh tomatillos are inexpensive at Mexican markets, or one could used canned tomatillos for this dish. I cooked this in a slow cooker for ease, but you could also prepare it in a Dutch oven in a 300 degree oven. - Fairmount_market —Fairmount_market

Test Kitchen Notes

This dish smells lovely as it simmers away in the crock pot. I did add 2 tablespoons of cumin to the pork because I just can't imagine Tex-Mex without it. I used dried beans and added more liquid and salt after 2 hours. They do need a good 4.5 -- 5 hours on high, but I did not put the pork back in while the beans cooked, since it was already falling off the bones into perfect shreds. We ate this the next day and the flavors were well developed. The northern beans make a nice change to the usual black beans or refried beans. Yum. - lorigoldsby —lorigoldsby

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatillos
  • 2 bunches cilantro (divided use)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 pickled jalapenos
  • 1 fresh jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil such as grape seed
  • 3 cups (1.5 lb) dried beans such as white navy, rinsed
  • salt to taste
  • lime for garnish
  • corn or flour tortillas for serving
  1. Douse the whole pork butt with Worcestershire sauce all over. Heat the oil and sear the pork on all sides until it starts to brown. Remove from heat and put in a slow cooker. Husk the tomatillos and cut them into chunks. Seed the fresh jalapeno and coarsely chop both the fresh and pickled jalapenos, and the garlic cloves. Use scissors to cut off the leaves of the cilantro, reserving about 1/2 a bunch for garnish. Add all of these to the slow cooker, and cook on high for about three hours.
  2. Remove the pork to a plate. Use an immersion blender to puree the tomatillo sauce until smooth. Add the beans and, if needed, enough water to ensure that they are submerged. Add back the pork and cook on low for about four hours, until the beans are soft. The cooking time will vary depending on the dryness of the beans and the power of your slow cooker, but don't worry because the pork can tolerate a range of cooking times.
  3. Remove the pork and use a fork to shred. Salt the beans to taste. Stir in the shredded pork and keep warm. Serve on warm tortillas, with a squeeze of lime juice, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro leaves, and a slide of crunch slaw.

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I'm a biology professor and mother of two, and in my (limited) free time I love to cook, which is much more forgiving than laboratory science. Last year I helped start a farmers market in my neighborhood, and to promote it, I created a food blog: I enjoy the challenge of coming up with recipes for local, seasonal ingredients and finding fun ways to cook with my children.

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