For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

SLO Cinco de Mayo

San Luis Obispo County's week-long warm streak concluded with a cloudy, blustery, cooler dayjust in time for Cinco de Mayo. I felt that a festive dinner was in order, but wasn't quite sure what dish fit both the occasion and the weather. All I knew was that the stormy skies made me yearn for something hot, innovative and delicious. Of course...Mexican-style pork stew!

Dried prunes, onion and jalapeño merry well together.
This out-of-the-ordinary medley of ingredients, cooked to perfection in a pressure cooker, is one of those meals that is so good it is intoxicating. Onions, jalapeño, dried prunes, cinnamon, cloves and pineapple are just a few of the oh-so-interesting elements that make up this delectable, thick soup.

A few years ago a chef friend introduced me to the world of nutritious, fast cooking with this flavorsome pork stew recipe that was developed by a colleague of food writer Lorna Sass. Known as the "Queen of Pressure Cooking," if you are interested in pursuing this rich, satisfying recipe, you can find it in Sass's book, Cooking Under Pressure.

As the recent Boston tragedy still ways heavily on our minds, I appreciate Sass's recent blog post about pressure cookers and whole-heartedly agree with her sentiment: "Tell everyone you know that the pressure cooker was always intended to help folks get a healthy meal on the table in record time, and nothing more."  

Recently, Sass was interviewed for a piece in The Washington Post, Take back the pressure cooker, and cook. Fixing this stew does just that.

Cubed pork shoulder, onions, chicken broth, cinnamon, oregano, ground cloves, prunes, canned tomatoes and a little salt & pepper cook in unison in the pressure cooker.

Freshly pressed garlic and diced jalapeño stirred into the stew after it finishes cooking adds a bit of zing and crunch.

Pineapple as well as green olives with pimentos get added to the cooked medley, bringing just enough sweet and tart to the palate.
 I paired dinner with Vina Robles WHITE4 2011. A blend of viognier, vermentino, verdelho and sauvignon blanc, the crisp acidity cut through the deep layers of flavor in this tender pork stew.
Words cannot describe how delicious this medley of unusual ingredients plays out. Rich, warm, tasty broth Fabulous, fresh flavors.

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