Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pork Chile Verde with Rice

This is a great comfort food for all seasons. Easy, cheap ingredients full of robust flavors. This Chile verde consists of roasted tomatillos, poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and cilantro pureed to a salsa-like texture. Sauteed yellow onions and green peppers round out the verde. Add in browned Pork Shoulder chunks, stewed for several hours and it creates a kitchen full of wonderful aromas.

There are many ways to serve Pork Chile Verde: enchiladas, tacos, sopa. Here, it is served over Jasmine Rice

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tinga Poblana

Tinga Poblana comes from the queen city of Puebla, Mexico. Tinga means “messy stew.”

Pork is shredded and stewed in a concoction of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, tomatoes, garlic, onions, potatoes, and chorizo. The dish is commonly served on tortillas or tostadas garnished with slices of avocado and queso fresco.

It is a wonderfully flavored dish with just the right amount of kick from the chipotles. You could also use shredded chicken thighs or beef chuck as a substitute for pork but the pork-chorizo-potato-tomato combination makes tinga very appealing. The avocado garnish provides a nice creamy touch.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fresh homemade Corn Tortillas

Tortillas de Maiz are easy to make so anyone can prepare them. The freshness of homemade tortillas will definitely enhance the quality of your dish. It requires more time than store-bought tortillas but the effort is worth it.

Makes about 12-15 tortillas

•1 3/4 cups masa harina Maseca brand

•1 1/4 cups warm water

Combine water and masa in a bowl. Break it up and knead it a few times until smooth. Gently squeeze the dough. If it is stiff, add some more water and until it feels soft like cookie dough. It should not feel sticky. Divide into 12-15 pieces and form into a ball. Cover.

Cut two squares of plastic to cover the inside of tortilladora press. Lay a dough ball into the center and cover top and bottom. Gently flatten the dough into a disk. Be careful peeling off the plastic from the tortilla.

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over a burner and get it medium-high heat. Lay the tortilla down carefully starting with one side instead of plopping it down.

When the edges of the tortilla will have dried slightly (30-45 seconds), turn it over and cook the other side for 30-45 seconds. You will see the tortilla puffing up in places. Total cooking time is about 1.5 to 2 minutes.

Transfer tortillas to a Warmer or a plate covered with a towel.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

From the Kitchen to the Parking Lot

For a tailgating event at a recent baseball game, Pork Drunk takes it to the parking lot to stuff some chile peppers with Casero chorizo (casero=homemade). The spicy, but not hot, encased ground pork sausage is flavored with garlic and paprika and other Mexican especias.

•4-8 mild chiles such as Poblanos or Cubanelle

•8-12 ounces of chorizo casero

•1 cup fresh spinach, chopped

•1 cup bread crumbs

•1 cup mushrooms, chopped

•1/2 cup Jack cheese, shredded

•1 egg, lightly beaten

•1/2 small white onion, chopped

•3 garlic cloves, minced

•1/2 teaspoon cumin

•salt to taste

Place chorzio in the pan and add cumin, onion, and garlic. Cook for about 8-10 minutes.

Dispose of the red juicy fat, not too much though. Tilt the pan so the juices flow to one end and scoop up with a spoon.

Add mushrooms and spinach to the pan and cook for another 8-10 minutes.

You want to achieve that nice, consistent brown color of the chorizo. After cooking in pan, transfer to a bowl and mix in the egg, cheese, salt, and bread crumbs.

Mix it until all ingredients are balanced throughout.

Time to head to the ball park and start up the grill and tailgate!

Set up the grill and get a nice medium heat. Place the Poblanos and Cubanelles on the grill and roast until you’ve achieved a good char, about 6-8 minutes.

Remove from the grill and take off the charred skin. Make a cut lengthwise but not all the way through the pepper. Remove seeds.

Fill the peppers with the stuffing and put them back on the grill for another 6-8 minutes

All the hard work and prep will be worth it. Fantastically flavored chorizo surrounded by a charred-roasted pepper will make any tailgate a successful one.

Enjoy with a cold tailgatin’ beer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lunchtime: Pork Carnitas

Carnitas literally translates to “little meats.” Pork shoulder/picnic arm cuts of meat are traditionally used while braising or roasting is the typical method of preparing carnitas. It is a Mexican street food classic.

To save some time for a quick lunch, I pan-fried the “little meats” in lard. Lard is pig fat in rendered or unrendered forms. It has a high-saturated fat content but it enhances the pork flavor.

After the lard has melted, I added the pork and pan-fried for about ten minutes. To add a quick crisp, I placed it under a smoking hot broiler until it started to crisp up.

Fine diced white onion and cilantro are nice accompaniments as well as a squeeze of fresh lime topped with salsa.

If lunchtime allows you a few swigs from a cold bottle of cerveza, Chevere!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Baked Ziti with Pork and Sausage Ragu

This is true Italian-style Comfort food, Baked pasta, cheese, and a meaty sauce.

A Ragu is an Italian term for meaty sauce. Here, I combined bacon, pork butt, and Italian sausages (casings removed) with soffritto. It is a mixture of chopped onions, celery, carrots, seasonings, etc. Add chopped tomatoes and simmer for about 2 hours.

After the meat has become fork tender, the Ragu is placed in a baking dish with the ziti pasta and topped with mozzerella cheese and cooked at 400 degrees for about 18-20 minutes.

Enjoy with a glass of vino or a bottle of Birra Moretti.