It’s no surprise that I loved making this stew as much as I did for book club a few weeks ago.  Like most stews, it was an easy meal where you throw all of the ingredients in one pot and let it simmer down for a few hours.  The rewards, of course, are plentiful with gorgeously concentrated flavors and pork that started as a relatively tough piece of meat but ends up falling apart at the slightest touch.  If you’re raising an eyebrow at the ingredient list – orange juice and beer cooked together?? – have no worries.  The strange combination of these two ingredients is one that works beautifully after a few hours of cooking.  There is just enough orange flavor to let you know it’s there and the beer adds such a depth of flavor, perfectly complementing all of the other flavors.   I had never used tomatillos in a recipe before so I didn’t really know what to expect but they were no different than using tomatoes, if a little bit of a PIA to peel the outer skins.

You could most definitely let this stew cook away all day in a crockpot for 6-8 hours on low but I had the day off the day I cooked it and it was great to be able to leave it simmering on the stove while I ran around the house straightening up before book club.  I’m not sure the cut of pork would matter too much, though I think a tenderloin would be dry if used, and I used a regular ‘ol pork roast (not shoulder, butt, or anything that large) from my freezer that I trimmed most of the fat off of before cooking.  As recommended in the recipe, I served the stew over rice and I whipped up some of my favorite cornbread to serve on the side (but I think some chile-cheese bread would be just as great!).   It was a warm and homey meal that went over really well with my book club members (and Kyle who sneaked up for a bowl) and I know you’ll love it too!


The Swallow’s Pork and Tomatillo Stew
source: slightly adapted from Ruth Reichl, Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table


  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 lbs. lean pork, cut into cubes
  • 1 bottle dark beer (I used a Sam Adams ale)
  • 12 oz. orange juice
  • 1 lb. tomatillos, halved
  • 28oz canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper


  • 1 cup sour cream
  • juice of one lime.


  1. In a saucepan, add the beer, orange juice, tomatoes and tomatillos. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, simmering until the tomatillos are soft, about 15 minutes. Set aside.Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a dutch oven or stockpot. Add the garlic cloves and stir to coat with the oil. Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper and then add it to the oil, in batches, to brown on all sides. Remove from the dutch oven. Add the onion and jalapeno and saute until tender, 5 or 6 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatillo mixture to the dutch oven, scraping the bottom of the pot to be sure you are getting all the browned bits. Add the pork, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cook, partially covered, for about 2 hours.
  3. Taste for seasoning. Add the black beans and cook an additional ten minutes, uncovered.
  4. For the topping, stir the lime juice into the sour cream.
  5. Serve the stew over rice, and top it with the sour cream.


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Leave a Comment

  • January 20, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    Tara, this sounds amazing! Esp served with cornbread!

  • January 20, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    This would be a definite hit in my pork-lovers home! Sounds delicious!

  • January 20, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Gorgeous! If’n Ida had a fork, I woulda stabbed the monitor! Great job, sounds delicious!

  • January 20, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Tara, this stew is full of so many of my favorite things! I’m totally adding it to next week’s menu.

  • January 20, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    What a beautiful meal! That ingredient list sounds really amazing.

  • January 20, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Fantastic. Looks like a winner for the crockpot!

  • January 20, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Tara, this looks and sounds so delicious. I know my fiance and I would both just love a nice hearty bowl. I’ve got this on my must make list now!

  • January 20, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    I make a chili verde with pork but this looks like a nice change. I will try this one next week, thanks!

  • January 20, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    Oh YUMMY!!! Tara, I am SO making this!

  • January 20, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    Looks great Tara! Love the combination of flavors!

  • January 20, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    Absolutely loved Ruth Reichl’s book. There are some really great recipes in it along with a great story. This stew and your chocolate cake post are fabulous!

  • January 20, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    What a cool recipe. I’m going to have to try this out. The beer and orange juice combo along makes me want to give it a whirl. 😉

  • January 20, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    Looks delicious! Love warm soup on a cold cold night.

  • January 21, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    This looks like it would be full of vibrant flavor. Yum!!

  • Ann
    January 22, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    This stew looks great. I’m always looking for new ways to cook pork. Love one pot ideas.

  • January 23, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    This looks so good and would be a great change of pace from the rut I’m in. Thanks for the recipe!

  • January 24, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    What a wonderful winter meal! Especially with that side of cornbread – yum!

  • January 26, 2011 at 11:59 PM

    this looks terrific!

  • Alyssa
    February 15, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Found you on pinterest, and made this for dinner. It was the BOMB! Delicious!! I added carrots and a little broth to make the soup go further on the rice. Definitely a keeper!

  • Joe
    March 25, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Just made this… Delicious!! I wanted to make a pork stew with oj and found your recipe. Love the combination of flavors. I found it a little easier to use just one pot… First browned the meat, took it out, sauteed the onion in the same oil/drippings, then added the liquids and tomatillos, simmered for five, then added the meat and simmered the whole thing for 2 hours.