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.