Friday, 3 February 2012

Pueblo Chile-Bathed Pork on Homemade Corn Tortillas

I resolve to travel more this year. No, I don't mean anything crazy like actually leaving the house. But travelling through my kitchen, exploring a few new countries and palates.

There are a few areas that especially intrigue me - the Middle East and Mexico definitely beckon. You know, as far as food goes.

So in cooking through Alford and Duguid's Flatbreads and Flavors - I chose a Mexican/Southwest dish to begin with. Simple and delicious and a whole new world of flavour for me. I am officially in love with guajillo peppers, you will be too!

Marinate the meat the night before, and make the tortillas while it is simmering the next day. Don't forget to have a cerveza or two while you cook!

The Night Before:

Make a marinade for the pork. 

1½ lbs lean pork, cut into bite-sized pieces.

1½-2 oz dried red New Mexican chiles or 10 dried guajillos, stems removed and coarsely chopped
¾ cup water
½ tsp salt
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (original recipe uses one)
1 Tbsp dried oregano or fresh

Blend the marinade well in a blender or food processor. Combine pork and marinade in an airtight container, coating all the pork pieces, and let sit in the fridge overnight.

Corn Tortillas

Please forgive mine, I am still new at making them. I only have a small press, so I made small ones and toasted them longer to make crispy tostadas. 

You will need - a tortilla press and a heavy duty large freezer bag. Don't have those? Don't worry. The freezer bag gets cut in half to make two heavy-duty plastic sheets - you can use equivalent plastic sheets of any food-safe plastic.
Don't have a press? Try using a heavy cast iron skillet or pot as your press. Or rolling pin over the plastic. The tortillas will be covered in food and eaten, they don't have to look perfect.

2 cups Masa Harina
1¼ cups hot water, approximately.

Combine the masa and water by hand in a large bowl. Adjust hydration if necessary and mix by hand until you have a nice soft dough, not too sticky. It won't bind like bread dough does, as it has no gluten.
Make into a ball and cover in plastic wrap. Let sit on your counter to rest for at least a half hour.

Divide dough into 16 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Squish the balls gently into discs and place on the counter. Cover with a tea towel so they don't dry out while you are working.

Set out 2 cast iron pans on the stove. One on medium and one a little hotter.

Flatten your tortillas, one at a time, in between the plastic sheets, using either the press or a heavy pot. Click here to watch how it is done.

Peel the tortillas off the plastic and cook on the lower heat, on both sides, until cooked through and then on the higher one to toast up.

Let them rest in a tea towel after cooking, to keep them soft and moist. You can stack them all on top of each other in the tea towel after cooking.

Make the Pork

Heat up a large cast iron pan with a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil (or corn oil) until nice and hot.
Pick pork out of marinade as much as possible and give it a good sear in the pan. (Keep the marinade!)
Add in the reserved marinade and a splash of water, stir and cook on lower heat for an hour until tender.
I covered mine for the first half hour and uncovered it for the last half hour to thicken up.

Serve pork with the tortillas and some fixings such as avocado, sliced green onions, tomatoes, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, and sour cream. 

Recipes adapted from Flatbread and Flavors, A Baker's Atlas - Alford and Duguid
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