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Eating Tomatillos From Your Garden This Fall

Pork and Tomatillo Stew, recipe below 
I most often cook applying what I learned about how poor folks, particularly subsistence gardeners during the antebellum period and/or the Great Depression employed to put food on their tables during rougher times than our current recession. The golden rule is make do with what you have in abundance and be content no matter how much you have until your options improve. Allot of gardens have plenty of cucumbers, zucchini, egg plant, tomatoes, and tomatillos (Mexican green tomatoes) that will start to rot if not picked and used quickly. I cooked with tomatillos for the first time two years ago. While in graduate school in the early 1990s, I did Spanish-language training in Guadalajara, Mexico where cooks regularly make dishes with  tomatillos. I found this wonderful recipe for  pork and tomatillo stew on line and modified it to fit what I had on hand in my kitchen. In place of boneless pork loin, I used Tofurky Italian gourmet meatless sausage, substituted shredded egg plant for diced celery, pasta for potatoes, and I used a crock- pot. After my wife had some of the stew she said honey “you’ve got to call my mother with this recipe.” Here’s my vegan Italian sausage and tomatillo stew recipe.

Sausage and Tomatillo Stew

Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tofurky Italian sausage links cut into 3-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup of shredded egg plant
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 chili, seeded and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons mild chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Splash of dried oregano
2 cups vegetable bullion broth
1 cup 1/2-inch-diced carrots
1 cup of whole grain elbow macaroni pasta (or 2 large red potatoes in one inch pieces)
2 cups of very ripe fresh diced tomatoes
1 pound tomatillos—husked, rinsed and cut into 1-inch dice
Hot sauce
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Corn tortilla chips, for serving

Method
In a medium pot heat the oil. Season the meat and eggplant with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until browned on 2 sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the diced chili, garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add the carrots, pasta, tomatoes and tomatillos. Transfer to a crock-pot cover and simmer on high heat for about 35 minutes. Ladle the stew into bowls, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with freshly baked buttermilk biscuits. Serves eight people.


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