By Stan Parish, GQ
"Family meal" takes place every night in restaurants everywhere-from temples of molecular gastronomy to the s---ty grill joint where I cooked in college. It's a pre-service ritual in which the staff eats a hearty lo-fi supper before the first seating shows up and all hell breaks loose. The dishes are usually simple to make, but they need to satisfy everyone from the pastry chef to the busboy.
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Put another way, family meal is exactly what you want when you have a crowd to feed. If football season means your house will occasionally be overrun with dudes, you're looking for a dish that'll keep people fed without chaining you to the stove for the first half. And by week three, everyone is sick of pizza and wings.
This one-pot family meal comes from Osteria Stellina in Point Reyes Station, California. More specifically, the recipe comes from cook Margarita Carmona's grandmother. Margarita worked at a now defunct Mexican restaurant where Stellina chef Christian Caiazzo tried her chili. "It blew me away," he recalls. "I hired her immediately." You don't need to staff up to pull this off-just pay attention while you're slow-frying the pork. Afterward, you can chat up your guests as the bright, spicy tomatillo salsa simmers with the meat. When it's done, set the pot right on the table. Don't forget to shout out Abuela Carmona before the guys dig in.
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Margarita Carmona's Chili Verde
2 cups olive oil
4 pounds pork butt, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 heads garlic, choppedSalt and fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 bunch cilantro
3 limes, sliced
3 pounds tomatillos, peeled and quartered
2 fresh jalapeños, sliced (add more if you like heat)
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 large yellow onion, quartered
1. In a large stock pot, heat the oil at medium-high and add the pork and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Slow-fry the pork for approximately 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
2. While the pork is cooking, in a large container add two cups of water to the salsa ingredients. Blend with a hand mixer until chunky and well combined.
3. When the pork is browned and well cooked on all sides, remove 3/4 of the oil. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add the salsa to the pork and simmer for approximately 90 minutes, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, until the pork is well braised and tender enough to pull apart with your fingers. Divide among eight bowls. Garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Serve with corn tortillas.
For more family-meal recipes from famous kitchens, pick up Off the Menu: Staff Meals from America's Top Restaurants, to be published in October by Welcome Books.
More from GQ:
• The 10 Douchiest Colleges in America
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• The Best Pizza Joints in America
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