Anita Lo's Solo cookbook

When flying solo, cheesy pasta and eggs on toast are great staples, but what if you want to treat yourself to a more inventive meal? Chef Anita Lo created her cookbook Solo around recipes designed to serve one person, and one of her favorite meals when dining alone is a slow-cooker chili verde. Here, Lo reveals how to make it (and shares a smart tip for grocery shopping)…

Slow-Cooker Pork Stew with Tomatillo and Chilies
From Anita Lo’s Solo

My dishwasher at Annisa, Dion Flores, was from Puebla, Mexico, and made this chile verde one day for our staff meal. It was one of my favorites of the year, but unfortunately he never made it again. (It was the one-night stand of dinners.) But I’ve re-created it here so you can revisit it, like an old friend. This is a very versatile stew, and I make it for myself often. You could serve it over rice or make huevos rancheros or tacos. (Just multiply the recipe if you have more people or want leftovers.)

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Pork Stew with Tomatillo and Chilies
Serves 1

You’ll need:

6 oz. pork stew meat, cubed (pork shoulder works well here)*
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup onion, thickly sliced
1/2 large clove garlic, chopped
1 large pinch ground cumin
3 cups chicken stock or water
2 2-inch-diameter tomatillos, hulled and roughly chopped
1/2 small jalapeño, or to taste
1/2 clove garlic
1 heaping tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp lime juice

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat a slow cooker (a small one is better, if you have it, for small portions) on high and add the olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cumin and stir. Add the pork and chicken stock, cover and cook on low for eight hours, while you sleep or go to work.

When the meat has finished cooking and you are ready to prepare the dish, puree the tomatillos with the jalapeño (capsaicin levels — or what makes jalapeños spicy — vary greatly from pepper to pepper, so add it a bit at a time and taste as you go; the end result should be a little spicier than you want the resulting stew to be, as it will be diluted a bit from the meat and cooking juices), garlic and cilantro until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the lid from the slow cooker. The stew should have reduced so that there is about 1/2 cup of braising liquid left. Stir in the tomatillo mixture and bring back to a simmer. Season to taste with salt, pepper and the lime juice.

* Plus, Anita’s smart tip for solo grocery shopping:

Avoid the traditional supermarket, since most food there is pre-packaged to serve multiple people. Ah, the hegemony of the four-pack chicken! Instead, head to your local store or farmer’s market where you can buy just what you need. Also, go to your butcher for meat or fishmonger for fish, so you can get the exact portions for your meal.

Anita Lo by Julia Rothmann

Thank you so much, Anita! We love your cookbook.

P.S. More recipes, including salmon salad and loaded baked sweet potatoes.

(Excerpted from Solo by Anita Lo. Copyright © 2018 by Anita Lo. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Illustrations by Julia Rothman for Solo. Thanks to Franny Eremin for helping with this series.)