On Cinco de Mayo I Made Mexican Food - of Course

Pork Chile Verde with luscious, beautiful tomatillos; Tortilla Soup (both vegetarian and meat-eaters with chicken); Salad; Frijoles; Chips and Guacamole and Guacachile; and Mexican-Chocolate Flourless Cake served with Orange Granite (from the oranges on our tree). It was really May 6th but in honor of May 5th which apparently is of little significance in most part of Mexico but is significant in America. The holiday is a celebration of Mexican pride in the U.S. and is apparently also celebrated in Puebla, Mexico.  Called El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla) commemorating the Mexican army's victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. I learned this from our friend Issa Lopez (who came to dinner) and as confirmed by Wikipedia. In any event, I celebrated (most any reason for celebration is good by me - within reason). That said... Dusty Rhodes (aka neighbor Gary) had his mom in town from Missouri this weekend and so they came for dinner with Dusty’s girlfriend Elyse, and their/our friends Issa and Gabriel. And then I panicked. What was I thinking? Issa and Gabriel are from Mexico City and not without food sophistication. I hoped for the best (that they might drink lots of the Margaritas that Gary said he was bringing). Didn’t work. They didn’t drink a bunch but they did go back for a second round of the Pork Chile Verde (“PCV”) so when they told me it was delicious I believed them. So relieved….

I adapted this recipe from the Pork Chile Verde recipe from yummly.com

Pork Chile Verde

Ingredients:

20-25 tomatillos (I used 25 big ones)

2 serrano chiles

1 anaheim chile

1 pasilla chile (this is where the recipe differed – I added this)

1 onion (cut in chunks)

½ bunch cilantro, leaves plucked from stems

3-4 chopped cloves of garlic

1 ½ Tbsp ground cumin

½ tsp cayenne

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

5 lbs of pork shoulder cut in cubes or chunks (the butcher can cut it up for you – save yourself some time)

10½ oz chicken stock

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil.

Husk and remove the stems and rinse the tomatillos. They are beautiful critters those tomatillos. Put them in a big pot with water to cover.

 Tomatillo

Tomatillo

Rinse the chiles, remove the stems, slice in half, either leave the seeds in or take them out (up to you). Put the chiles in the pot with the tomatillos.

Boil the tomatillos and the chiles just until the tomatillos are yellow but before the skins pop. Put the tomatillos and chiles into a blender (without the cooking water – you can throw that out). Add in the cilantro leaves and blend up well. Even if you’re not a cilantro fan you can add the cilantro in here. You don’t notice it in the end but it adds something for sure. Heat the olive oil, add in cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and stir for a minute. Add in the pork cubes to brown in small batches. Once you’re done browning add the onion and at the end, add the garlic so it doesn’t burn.

Combine the blended tomatillo/chiles with the pork in the pot. Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer on low for 2 hours.

Check the pork after 2-hours to make sure that it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender. If it’s done turn it off and let it stand until it’s cool. You can refrigerate after this or freeze. If it’s too soupy then turn it back on and let the liquid cook down a bit – doing this also gives it a depth of flavor that you won’t otherwise have until you re-heat.

Serve in bowls with fresh, warm, tortillas on the side for scooping up the sauce – or with rice.

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