Verdolagas Con Costilla de Puerco
It’s my aspiration to present you recipes that are unconventional in most U.S. restaurants of Mexican cuisine, but that are commonly prepared in home kitchens. For this recipe I use costillas de puerco (pork ribs) even though this dish is usually made with pork spine; other pork cuts of meat are used too.
Verdolaga is one of the many green leafy vegetables consumed in Mexico. These wild growing tender edible greens are know as quelites. My recipe for salsa verde was previously published on this blog and it’s used here as the foundation to this guisado.
In the previous recipe, the verdolagas are served as a fresh salad green; here they are cooked. If you find this green in your super or farmers’ markets, take some home and them.
This recipe works as a quick midweek workday dinner; prepare the sauce a day ahead and cook the ribs in 30 minutes. I cooked my costillas de puerco in 30 minutes at 350 F° then added them to a pan of heated salsa. Let’s get started.
1 ½ lbs pork ribs cut into 2 inch pieces.
12 oz tomatillos, remove husks then wash the fruit
¼ medium white onion whole piece
1 cloves of garlic peeled
1 – 2 serrano or jalapeno chiles. Optional: remove inner chile pulp to reduce hotness
1 handful of cilantro
1 bunch of verdolagas, washed and thicker bottom stems removed
½ teaspoon salt
Salt and pepper the pork ribs and place in a shallow roasting pan. Roast in the oven at at 350 F° for 35 minutes or until done. My oven has a conventional roast feature and
my ribs cooked in 25 minutes. Half way through the roasting period turn your ribs.
While the ribs are roastings, boil water in a 2 quart sauce pan add the chiles, onion and garlic and simmer for 10 minutes. Add tomatillos and continue cooking until tomatillos turn into a slightly yellow color; about 6 minutes. Remove and cool ingredients.
In a blender, liquify one chile, onion, garlic, salt and 1/3 of the tomatillos with ½ cup water. Taste the sauce for chile heat then decide if you want to add a second chiile. Remove the ingredients to a receptacle. Pulse the remaining tomatillos and cilantro in the blender into a chunkier sauce with 1 cup of water. Combine the thin and thicker sauces and pour into a 10 inch sauté pan; adjust salt to taste.
When ribs are ready add them to the salsa verde and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the verdolagas and cook them for 10 to 12 minutes.
Plate in a pasta bowl and serve with corn tortillas.
Verdolagas are available in Mexican markets mostly in the late spring and early summer. Pork spine is also available in Mexican markets; ask for espinazo.
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