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Food

The once-a-year ingredient you should order now

Kohlrabi-mango slaw
A kohlrabi-mango slaw adds freshness to a saucy Hatch chile pork filling for tacos.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times )

It’s almost time for the Hatch chile harvest, an annual event that food lovers await like Christmas morning. Grown in New Mexico’s Hatch V alley, these chiles strike a balance between heat and sweet with unique vegetal sugary notes. Green ones lean vegetable, while riper red ones taste almost fruity. You can order fresh or roasted ones now from New Mexico farmers who travel with their Hatch chile haul to Southern California in August or look for them in stores and at farm stands through the end of summer.

Once you get your hands on some Hatch chiles, you’re going to want to cook them into these pork tacos. Fresh or roasted ones balance the richness of the pork while dried ones give the sauce an earthy depth. Since the arrival of the chiles coincides with hot days, this recipe uses an Instant Pot to quickly cook the meat to juicy tenderness without heating up the kitchen. (A pressure cooker can do the same.)

Ingredients in the InstantPot
The ingredients simply go in the InstantPot and cook quickly on the high pressure setting.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

The chiles get blended into a sauce that coats the crisped meat for a decadent taco filling. A simple slaw balances that richness with crisp kohlrabi and silky sweet mango. Kohlrabi, which looks a lot like the aliens from the “Toy Story” movies, packs the same crunch as jicama but isn’t as watery. It’s the ideal match for the chiles you should be tracking down right now.

Tacos
These tacos work as well for a weeknight family meal as they do for a weekend party.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Instant Pot Hatch Chile Pork Tacos With Kohlrabi Mango Slaw
45 minutes. Serves 8.

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You can make this even when Hatch chiles aren’t in season. Dried ones are available year-round and fresh jalapeños can stand in for fresh ones.

Ingredients

  • 4 ½ pounds bone-in pork shoulder
  • 6 dried Hatch chiles, rinsed
  • 2 fresh or roasted Hatch chiles or jalapeños, slit
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 limes
  • 1 kohlrabi, trimmed, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large ripe but firm mango, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup packed cilantro, finely chopped
  • Warm tortillas, for serving

Instructions

  1. Cut the bone out of the pork and reserve. Cut the meat into 2-inch chunks. Put the pork bone and meat in an Instant Pot, along with the dried and fresh Hatch chiles, the garlic and 1 ½ tablespoons salt. Toss to mix, then seal the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions for 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, zest the limes into a large bowl and squeeze in ¼ cup juice. Add the kohlrabi and a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Let stand for at least 30 minutes.
  3. When the steam is releasing from the Instant Pot, gently fold the mango and cilantro into the kohlrabi slaw and season to taste with salt.
  4. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the pork to a large, well-seasoned cast iron or nonstick skillet. Spread in an even layer. Set over medium-high heat and cook until the meat crisps and browns, 3 to 5 minutes. While the meat browns, remove the stems from the dried Hatch chiles and transfer to a blender, along with ½ cup cooking liquid. If there are any whole garlic cloves remaining, add them as well. Puree until smooth, adding more liquid a tablespoon at a time, if needed to blend.
  5. Pour the chile mixture into the skillet. Stir until the pork is evenly mixed. Season to taste with salt. If the fresh chiles have remained intact, cut them into strips. Serve the pork with the slaw, chile strips and tortillas to fold into tacos.

Variations
Stovetop Hatch Chile Pork Tacos
Substitute a large Dutch oven or heavy saucepot for the Instant Pot. Add 2 cups chicken stock or water to all the ingredients in the Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the pork is tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Proceed as above.

Slow Cooker Hatch Chile Pork Tacos
Substitute a slow cooker for the Instant Pot. Cover and cook on the low setting for 7 hours. Proceed as above.

Make Ahead
The pork can be refrigerated in its sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat before serving. The slaw can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Toss well before serving.


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