Posts Tagged ‘Mexican’

Pork & Tomatillo Posole, Revisited

A friend asked for this recipe, so I’m reposting it with a couple of changes I’ve made since I first posted it in 2010. I like to serve this with roasted red pepper and cheese quesadillas.

It takes a long time to chop up all the ingredients, so sometimes I chop them in the evening while watching TV and then make the stew a day or two later. The original recipe called for dicing the pork into bite-sized pieces; that’s really tedious, especially with a bone-in roast, so I found an easier method.

Pork & Tomatillo Posole, Revisited

4 pounds bone-in pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 3-4 large pieces
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup canola or corn oil
2 yellow onions, diced
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husked, cored and chopped
4 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and minced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
8 cups chicken stock
2 cans yellow or white hominy, undrained
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

My Favorite Garnishes
2 limes, cut into wedges
2 avocadoes, cut into slices
Fried tortilla strips

Traditional Garnishes
1/4 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
10 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges

Heat the oil in a large (at least 5.5 quarts) heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle one side of the pork pieces with salt and pepper and add, seasoned side down, to the pot. Brown pork on both sides, making sure to get them nice and golden brown. Season the second side, turn browned side up, and continue browning. Don’t crowd the pot or the meat will steam, not brown. You may need to do this in batches. When done, remove pork to a medium bowl and set aside.

Add the onions and a large pinch of salt to the pot. Saute for about five minutes, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic and oregano and continue to cook for another few minutes to soften the vegetables.

Add the reserved pork, any accumulated pork juices and chicken stock to the pot. Cover it, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Remove the lid, turn the heat to low and simmer until the pork is tender and starting to fall apart, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add the hominy for the last half hour.

Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove the pork from the pot and place it in a medium bowl. Use two forks to pull the meat into large shreds. Return the pork to the pot and simmer for five minutes to reheat the meat.

Stir in the cilantro and taste. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the garnishes.

Four jalapenos will make this stew a bit spicy. Most of the heat is in the ribs and seeds of the peppers. For our taste, I remove half the ribs and seeds; feel free to adjust to your heat tolerance.

Mexican oregano is a little different from Italian or Greek oregano and worth seeking out for this recipe. It’s available in Mexican grocery stores, including La Familia Market in Chesapeake.

This stew takes some time to prepare, but the rich broth, pleasant heat and zing from the lime juice combine with the yummy combination of vegetables to make it all worthwhile. It freezes well, or you can invite a group of friends over to share.

Pork & Tomatillo Posole, Revisited
Pork & Tomatillo Posole

Restaurant Review: Tortilla West

Tortilla West, at the end of Orapax Street near Lambert Point Docks in Norfolk, is not easy to find the first time you go, but it’s really easy to go back to again and again.The style is Mexican flavors with a modern twist using fresh local ingredients and for the most part, they do it very well.

I visited Tortilla West on a recent Sunday for lunch with Patrick Evans-Hylton and members of the food writing class we’re taking at The Muse in Norfolk. We ordered a variety of dishes to share tapas-style.

We started off with drinks. My companions went for the Bloody Mary bar, but as I’m not an aficionado, I ordered the house margarita on the rocks with salt. It always has the perfect balance of tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur, and a crunchy rim of kosher salt.

The most memorable dish for me was the fried oysters with a creamy dipping sauce. The plump, juicy Chinoteague oysters were coated with a crackling cornmeal crust that broke apart with the first bite, releasing the sweet meat. The creamy, slightly spicy sauce was the perfect counterpoint to the crunchy coating. I used to think I didn’t like oysters – they’ve made a convert of me.

Tortilla West dishes

More disappointing was the Mexican pulled pork sandwich, served on ciabatta rolls with tomatillo dipping sauce. While the pork was fork-tender, the sauce was overly salty, which really detracted from the flavor. The Mexican-influenced macaroni & cheese, however, made up for it. It was delivered nice and hot, with curvy cavatelli pasta soaking up the flavor of a perfectly melted, beautifully balanced spicy-creamy cheese sauce flecked with bits of jalapeno.

Pulled Mexican pork with tomatillo dipping sauce

I’ve been to Tortilla West many times since they opened several years ago, and I don’t believe I’ve ever not liked a dish, until this pork. So I’m sure I’ll be back – the food is generally outstanding, the prices are reasonable and the service is fast and friendly.

A Mexican Feast

Last week, Dan and I prepared a Mexican feast for 26 teachers during the annual capstone event for the graduate professional development class he teaches along with colleagues Dan B. and Richard.

I was so busy making sure everything was done and we hadn’t forgotten anything that I forgot to take pictures of everything when we were done with each dish. But here are a few to accompany the recipes we used.

Appetizers, all by Rick Bayless, served with toasted sliced baguette and tortilla chips

Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa Prep
Prep for Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Dinner

Ingredients for mole sauce
Mole ingredients

Corn tamales with chicken or cheese
Corn tamales stuffed with chicken (left) or cheese right)

Dessert was a trifle layered with cubed angel-food cake, lemon pudding and fresh strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. I tried making a tres leches cake for this, but it was flat and heavy, so I went with store-bought angel food.

Lessons Learned

  • When making tamales, test the batter by checking to see whether a handful sticks to itself; if not, it’s too wet, so add a bit more corn flour
  • I need a Kitchen Aid mixer if I’m going to try a tres leches cake; I didn’t fluff up the butter enough, so the cake was short and heavy rather than tall and light
  • When I’m cooking for a crowd, delegate the camera work to someone else!
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