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Mexican Cooking Project #8


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I invited friends to dinner for Friday night, without a clue of what I might cook. Last evening, I found myself in front of the meat case at my local groceria, trawling for ideas, when what to my wondering eyes should appear? True Love (aka boneless pork shoulder), on sale for $1.29/lb. I snapped up two 4-lb. roasts, and today I'll make carnitas. Will report back.

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I invited friends to dinner for Friday night, without a clue of what I might cook. Last evening, I found myself in front of the meat case at my local groceria, trawling for ideas, when what to my wond

What an absolutely lovely table, a delicious feast. Your guests are so fortunate!   And thanks for the invitation. I'll be briefly in Vermont in late March, all other things being equal. Maybe we

Follow-up...   Dinner was quite tasty. I had way too much liquid. That's okay because it tasted great. I simply ladled off a bunch of the cooking liquid six hours later and in a cast-iron skillet,

Okay, so it's all in the oven. I played fast and loose with the ingredients, but isn't that what home cooking is really about?

 

I chunked up both roasts, and took off the larger slabs of fat, but added them to the pot (along with two small bones). For liquid, I squoze two oranges and a lime, used a carton of organic beef broth I had on hand, dosed in a little red wine vinegar, and brought it all up to level with beer and a little water.

 

For seasoning: chopped onions (yellow, because I wasn't making a special trip to the store for white), garlic, oregano (regular, because I'm clean out of Mexican), cumin powder, bay leaf, a couple of dried chipotles and as many guajillos, the remnants of a can of chipotles in adobo, salt, ground pepper and a little sugar.

 

So.

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Found it!

 

"Encurtido con Chile Habanero

 

1 large white onion, cut in quarters and sliced as thin as possible

1 chile habanero (or more to taste), finely diced

1/4 tsp Mexican oregano, crumbled

1/2 cup white vinegar

sea salt to taste

 

Mix all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl (pottery or porcelain are best). Allow to stand overnight, mixing occasionally, so the flavors marry. Store in the refrigerator.

 

This encurtido is fabulous with tacos de carnitas."

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Yes, in the oven. Covered tightly, for now. I think it better infuses flavor into the meat, and maybe even leaves it more tender? Or maybe I just completely dispense with French technique. :wub:

 

I will certainly whup up some encurdito to go with.

 

My problem is what else to serve with, and how. In the past, I've scavenged some of the fat and used it in frijoles negros, and served those on the side, along with small bowls of salsa verde, guacamole, and wedges of lime, fresh cilantro, and a pile of warm flour tortillas. But some of the limited palates I entertain at my table insist on seeing this as a burrito opportunity, and cram everything on offer into one tortilla. I guess it's none of my damn business, but aren't they then sort of missing the point of the carnitas? I think my not-so-inner control freak is showing.

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Since carnitas is a specialty from the Central Highlands of Mexico, I would choose a bean which is common to that region. Black beans are from the south of Mexico, not from the central part. You might cook flor de mayo, flor de junio, peruano, or even pinto, which most closely approximate the flor de... beans.

 

And I love it, your not-so-inner control freak...I have one too, and I always want to bludgeon people into eating their food the way it's authentically eaten dammit and no other way. The bottom line, though, is 'so what'.

 

Thanks, Omni, for finding the encurtido post. A spritz of lime juice, a sprinkle of coarse salt, the guacamole on the side--and for what it's worth, roasted-tomato salsa ranchera is more common with carnitas than salsa verde. But as I said, so what.

 

You might want to prepare some rajas con crema to accompany the carnitas.

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You might want to prepare some rajas con crema to accompany the carnitas.

If my local has poblanos tomorrow (which they usually do) I will happily make rajas. I did find habaneros in town this afternoon, so I'm about to make the encurdito. I also found tortillas that are even smaller than the ones I generally buy. :evil laugh:

 

Sadly, it'll be black beans, as I'm using (avert your gaze) canned beans. This is all way more than I bargained for in a week where I'm putting in 12-hour work days.

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