Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pozole

This is pretty delicious in a warm, gentle way.

I looked at many recipes for pozole, from Diana Kennedy to Interweb riffraff to get an idea of technique and style and came up with my own version, where the pork is slow-roasted, rather than sauteed in the same pot, and where I choose my favourite chiles, and add a splash of vinegar to brighten to broth.

For Four

Part One, The Pork

You can make this the same day that you prepare the hominy. Unless you're opening a can.

1 pork belly, skin on, 2lbs
2 mulatto* peppers (similar to ancho)
3 cups water plus extra
3 branches oregano
salt and pepper

In a roasting dish, place the pork belly and season it. Add two cups of water, the oregano and the two mulatto peppers. Cook slowly at 300'F/ 140'C for about four hours until the pork is fork-tender and the skin crispy. Add more water every now and then to keep the juices in the pan from drying out, and to prevent the peppers from burning.

Remove the meat to a plate and allow it rest and cool. Reserve the peppers if they haven't burned. If they have burned, discard. Pour the fat from the pan into a small bowl and reserve. Save any dark fond that has accumulated in the bottom of the pan, deglazing the pan with some water if necessary. Reserve the resulting juice.

Remove the crispy skin in one piece by sliding a knife between it and the first layer of fat or meat. Cut excess fat from the underside of the skin and cut or break the crackling into pieces about an inch long. Either eat them on the spot, dusted with salt, or reserve to garnish the finished pozole.


When the pork is cool, shred or slice it into bite size pieces. Cover and reserve.


Part Two, The Sauce

2 Tbsp dripping from the pork belly
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
5 scallions, roughly chopped, green parts, too
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cups rich, dark stock (chicken or veal) - I used demi glace diluted with boiling water
Fond juice from the pork belly - about 1/2 a cup
3 ancho chiles, soaked for 30 minutes in very hot water, de-seeded and cut into strips*
The reserved peppers from the pork-roasting, de-seeded and cut into strips*
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
4 branches oregano, leaves stripped off
2 cups prepared hominy

Melt the drippings in a large, heavy Le Creuset-type pot with lid. Add the onions and garlic and cook gently until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute to caramelize a little. Add the stock and the fond juice. Add the ancho chile strips. Stir and cook until the onion is quite tender, about ten gentle minutes.

Now remove about four ladlesful (1 cup) of the stock with as many bits of onion, garlic and pepper in it as possible, and transfer to a blender. Add the 1 Tbsp of of sugar and the 2 Tbsps of red wine vinegar. Whizz it up until it is dark red and smooth.

To the pot add the shredded pieces of pork, the oregano leaves and the red sauce from the blender, stir well and cook very gently for an hour. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Add the hominy and cook gently again for half an hour. Taste again as the bland hominy might need additional seasoning.

Serve in bowls with thin slices of radish or avocado. Chopped up limes, with skin, are good, too.

* A note about the dried chiles. They are not available everywhere, and have a special, smoky-sweet, not biting-hot taste. In Vancouver I once did something very unorthodox and very clever, and substituted 3 tablespoons of raisins, soaked for an hour in hot water, 1/4 cup of hot sauce (or use 2 Tbps chile flakes), and three slices of orange (with skin and pith!) for 2 ancho peppers. If you do this, cook the raisins, chile and orange in the stock until the orange is quite soft, and then puree with the onions etc.

7 comments:

  1. My mouth is watering. this is totally my kind of food.

    Lucky people who ate it with you.

    xo Jane

    ReplyDelete
  2. I liked it :-)

    What actual day is your birthday?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have never heard of this dish before, but it looks delicious and warming and perfect on an Autumn evening.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Belinda - it's from Jalisco, Mexico...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Saturday the 18th.

    This aging thing is better than anticipated. but that number verification was not my age.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dit lyk fokken fantasties. Hier sukkel ons baie om verskillende tipes chillie te kry...mulatto en ancho en chipotle is glad nie beskikbaar nie.

    ReplyDelete


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