Sunday, October 08, 2006
Pork Braised in Guajillo Chile Sauce (Puerco en Chile Guajillo)
I'm not really sure from which site I downloaded this recipe, but when I saw it I knew it was one I wanted to try. So the other day while at Costco, Eddie spotted a large 7-lb. package of pork shoulder strips. I thought of this recipe; he thought sausage rolls. So we split the pack 3 : 4. He pulled out the Kitchenaid meat grinder and and ground up his three pounds, added that to lots and lots of chopped onions, salt and pepper, spread it out onto puff pastry and baked it up to a golden brown. Slicing them right out of the oven works best and then we got to sample them. Yummy Yummy!
The next day I started Daisy's pork braise by trimming away excess fat and cutting the strips into about two-inch chuncks. Into the pot with water to cover and salt, brought it to a boil and simmered for about an hour. I could have finished the dish then, but I was out of some ingredients, so I cooled it, stored it in the fridge for a couple of days and finished it off Sunday morning after a quick run through the grocery store. I could not find guajillos, so I substituted half pasillas and half New Mexican.
So, okay, the timer just went off and I took a quickie break to check the stew. The meat is falling apart tender, the sauce is a beautiful burnished red color, and the taste is fantastic -- the flavor is definitely New Mexican but it's not very hot. It needed some salt, so that finishes it. I'll let it sit until dinner tonight and serve it with some brown rice, black beans and crumbled cotija cheese over everything. If we're feeling cocky, maybe we'll scoop it all up into a whole-wheat flour tortilla. Not this time becauase we don't have any on hand, but next time I'll be sure to have a good Mexican beer on hand.
Daisy Cooks! is one of my favorite PBS shows, and I may have to make a trip to the library to give her book a try before deciding to actually buy it.
Makes 8 servings
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons fine sea or kosher salt
1 bay leaf
10 guajillo chilies
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, peeled and cut in half through the middle
3 fresh plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise through the core
¼ cup canola oil or lard
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pantry Notes: Guajillo chiles are the dried version of fresh mirasol chiles. They are long, tapered, and wrinkled, with a reddish-brown color. They are fairly spicy and available in specialty stores or by mail/internet. (See Sources.) Toasting the chilies brings out their flavor and blackening the onions and tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness. A little work up front that pays off big time down the line.
**as made: could not find this time guajillos; so used 5 pasillas, 5 New Mexico chiles
1. Put the pork in a heavy Dutch oven large enough to it comfortably. Pour in enough cold water to cover the meat by 2 inches. Add 2 tablespoons salt, drop in the bay leaf and bring the liquid to a boil. Boll, skimming the foam from the surface as necessary, for one hour.
(as made: cooled, transferred to fridge and finished 2 days later.)
2. Meanwhile, pull or cut the stems off the guajillo chilies. Tap out the seeds. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add half the chilies and toast them, turning with tongs until they start to change color and crisp up a bit, about 4 minutes. Heat them gently so they don’t burn. Lift them out into a bowl and repeat with the remaining chilies. Pour enough boiling water over the toasted chilies to cover them. Soak until completely softened, about 20 minutes. (top with small saucer to hold under the liquid) Drain well.
3. While the chilies are soaking, wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Put the onion and tomatoes cut sides down in the skillet. Cook, turning the vegetables as often as necessary, until the tomatoes are blackened on all sides and the onions are blackened on both flat sides. (quickly blackened tops under the broiler)
4. After the pork has been cooking 1 hour, ladle off 2 cups of the cooking liquid and pour it into a blender jar. Add the onions and puree until smooth. Add the chilies and tomatoes and blend until smooth. Ladle off another 2 cups of the cooking liquid and set aside. Drain the pork, discard the remaining liquid, and wipe out the pot.
5. Set the pot over medium-low heat and add the oil or lard. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the chili sauce into the pot slowly. As it comes to a boil it will thicken. Stir well, especially in the corners, to prevent the sauce from sticking and scorching as it thickens.
6. Return the pork to a simmer, cover the pot and cook until tender, about 1 hour. While the pork is cooking, there should be enough sauce to keep it moistened. If not, add reserved pork cooking liquid as needed. Serve hot.