Sometimes I make things, and I think, “meh.” Sometimes I make things and am wrong about the “meh.” Sometimes, all a dish needs is a little green, a little citrus and a little time.
That was this dish. Mote Pata. Sorry, mote pata, for being prematurely judgmental.
Mote Pata is an Ecuadorian peanut and hominy stew typically eaten to celebrate Carnival. Sorry it’s a little late, but I was too busy shoving paczki in my face to make real food for Fat Tuesday.
I like my food to have lots of color and spark, so when I threw this on the stove and it had little more than hominy (white), peanut butter (beige) and pork (cream), it looked SO blah. I was on the phone with Little Buddha and was like “this stew I made was sort of gross. Can’t win them all.” However, as I went to plate it a few hours later and added some cilantro, avocado and a little squeeze of lime, I found my bowl was suddenly clean and my tummy a little bit more full.
I think part of my initial disappointment stemmed from the fact that I like all of the things in the stew, especially peanut butter, which can do no wrong. However, as I tasted it throughout the cooking process, I couldn’t help but have flashbacks to the Isombe, which not even the peanut butter could save.
However, in the end, while it wasn’t my favorite (cassoulet…), this mote and I have made up, and leftovers are happily tucked away in the freezer for the last twenty or so days of winter when my life could use a little peanut butter that does not involve only a jar and spoon or, worse, peanut butter fingers (for my Friends out there, you get me).
Also, this dish was supposed to be served with hard boiled eggs but I RAN OUT OF EGGS (never…) and the grocery store across the street is not yet open for me to run out in an emergency. So, eggless we go.
One last thing…if you can’t find the achiote (annato powder), the interwebs say to sub a bit of paprika, cumin, oregano and a splash of vinegar. Yes, exactly in those amounts (sorry…).
- 1 pound pork stew meat
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups of chicken stock (any stock will do)
- 1 cup water
- 2 cans hominy, drained
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- ¼ tsp ground achiote powder*
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 sliced avocado
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- In a large stock pot, add the oil and the onion, garlic, and the spices, and sweat it until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
- In the meantime, in a blender or food processors, process 1 can of the hominy with the peanut butter and ½ cup stock. Set aside.
- Once the onions are done, add the pork and brown about 2-3 minutes on all sides.
- Add the remaining hominy and the puree. Stir to incorporate all the ingreidnets and add the rest of the stock and water. Cook for about 20-30 minutes (depending on the side of your pork bits) until the pork is all cooked through and the soup has thickened.
- Adjust the seasonings and before you’re ready to serve, add the cilantro and lime juice. Garnish with avocado and hard-boiled egg.