I learned about the “Three Sisters” – corn, squash, and beans – on my trip to Oaxaca earlier this year. These three crops were the basis of pre-Hispanic Mexican agriculture. They work together as they grow, providing nutrients, shelter, and protection to each other. More important, they are a balanced diet when they are eaten together.
Of course, my thought was: “Squash, corn, beans…that sounds like my CSA box in August. I can use up zucchini in a Mexican meal?”
Technically, Mexican squash are not the same thing as zucchini. But they are a close relative. Hey, any excuse to use up zucchini in August.
Now, you might think, “A stew? In summer? I’ll save the hearty eating for the winter.” OK. OK. Wait. You can make this recipe in the middle of winter, with frozen corn, canned tomatoes, out of season green beans, and zucchini flown in from the southern hemisphere. And it will be good. But, trust me – you want to try this stew at the height of summer, with sweet corn, ripe tomatoes, and fresh zucchini. This is not a heavy, hearty stew. This is a bright, sweet stew, that shows off summer’s bounty.
And, thanks to the pressure cooker, it’s quick and doesn’t heat up the kitchen. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, that’s OK, a traditional version of the recipe is in the notes.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Mexican Pork Stew With Summer Vegetables
Inspired by Pork with Zucchini and Corn Stew at MexicoInMyKitchen.com
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I used an Instant-Pot Electric PC)
Pressure Cooker Mexican Pork Stew With Summer Vegetables recipe. Use up your fresh summer vegetables with this Mexican flavored pork stew.
- 3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 jalapeno, minced (seeds removed if you want less heat)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup homemade chicken stock (or water)
- 2 small zucchini (4 to 6 inches long), diced
- 1 small summer squash (4 to 6 inches long), diced
- 6 ounces green beans, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 Roma tomatoes, diced (or a 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, with juices)
- 2 cups corn kernels (kernels from 2 ears of corn)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cilantro, minced for garnish
- Brown the pork: Sprinkle the pork with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the pork to the pan in two or three batches, depending on the size of your pressure cooker. Brown the pork well on one side, about 4 minutes per batch, then remove the pork to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving as much fat behind as possible.
- Saute the aromatics: Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno to the pot, stir to coat with oil, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Saute the aromatics until they soften, about 5 minutes.
- Pressure cook the pork: Pour the pork (and any juices in the bowl) into the pressure cooker pot, add the chicken stock, and stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned onions. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, increase the heat to high, and bring the cooker up to high pressure, and adjust the heat to maintain high pressure. (Check your pressure cooker manual for specific instructions). Reduce the heat to maintain high pressure and cook the pork at high pressure for 15 minutes (18 minutes in an electric PC), then quick release the pressure in the pot.
- Pressure cook the vegetables: Remove the lid from the pressure cooker, tilting the lid away from you to protect you from the scalding hot steam. Pour the zucchini, squash, beans, tomatoes, and corn on top of the pork in the pot, but do not stir – the vegetables should float on top while they cook. Lock the lid, increase the heat to high, and bring the cooker back up to high pressure. Reduce the heat to maintain high pressure and cook the stew at high pressure for 5 minutes (6 minutes in an electric PC), then quick release the pressure in the pot.
- Stir and season: Remove the lid from the pressure cooker, tilting the lid away from you to protect you from the scalding hot steam. Stir the vegetables into the pork, then taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper until the stew tastes slightly sweet.
- Garnish and serve: Ladle the stew into bowls, garnish with cilantro, radishes, and crumbled cheese, and serve.
- No pressure cooker? No worries. Use a heavy bottomed dutch oven with a lid. Increase the amount of chicken stock or water to 2 cups. Follow the instructions right up until “lock the lid”. Then, instead of pressure cooking, bring the pot to a boil, cover, and move the pot to a preheated 350°F oven. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the pork is tender. Move the pot from the oven to the stove top, add the vegetables from step 4, cover, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 20 minutes. Continue with the stir and season step.
- This is a “use up the summer vegetables” recipe. Extra summer squash? No green beans? Want to use up an eggplant? Adjust the vegetables based on what you have on hand.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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