You can tell how tired I was yesterday. I never even thought to just take pics of the food before I served it to help with expectations of what the finished dishes should look like, so I’m adding them today as I reheat leftovers for lunch.
Today was a very exhausting day. I didn’t sleep well last night and we were on the go. We did some grocery shopping, but I realized I hadn’t decided what dinner was going to be, so when we got home, I raided the freezer and fridge. Tonight’s menu was homemade Pozole Rojo (Mexican Pork & Hominy Soup), tacos and Guacamole.Sorry, I have no pictures as the soup was already made and just reheated, and taking pictures while making tacos using hot oil is not a great idea. I was alone so I didn’t have anyone to snap the pics. Sorry. So, you’ll just have to use your imagination today, but I’ll give you the recipes.
POZOLO ROJO: Pozole is a soup made in a variety of different ways, depending on the part of Latin American you’re from, but this recipe was my mothers, based on what the maids made for our family back in the late 1950’s when we lived in Mexico City. It can be made with lots of broth, or less broth and more like a stew-whatever you prefer.
- 5# Bone-in pork shoulder
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 tbsp. Mexican oregano
- 6-8 Chiles de arbol, rehydrated in boiling water for about 30 minutes
- 6 to 8 Ancho chiles, rehydrated in boiling water for about 30 minutes
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 stalk of celery, cleaned
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 3rds
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- 3 to 5 Cans of WHITE Hominy (will usually be found in the canned veggie aisle on the top shelf) – This needs to be rinsed and broken apart
- Enough water or low-sodium chicken broth to cover the pork.
Rub the pork shoulder with the cumin, oregano and 1 tsp. salt, and set aside. In a large stock pot, heat the oil and add the chopped onion and 1/2 of the smashed garlic. Cook until it starts to turn translucent without browning. Add the celery, carrots, bay leaves. If you’d like you can push the veggies to the side and brown the pork shoulder, but it’s not really necessary. Add the pork roast to the pot and cover with water, low-sodium chicken stock, or a combination. Put it on to boil, skimming any of the foamy stuff that forms on the top. You want to turn it down and let it simmer, partially covered for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
In the meantime, take the rehydrated peppers, the remainder of the garlic and 1/2 tsp. of salt and put it in the blender with about 1 to 1 1/2 C of the soaking liquid. Then, using a fine mesh strainer, pour the chile mixture through using the back of a large spoon to press it. Throw away all the chile skins. Save the liquid you’ve pushed through – it’s what you will use to add the “rojo” to the soup, as well as the spice.
Using forks or tongs, carefully remove the pork roast to a plate. Using a large strainer and another pot, strain the broth, removing the carrot, celery, onion pieces, bay leaves, etc. and leaving a nice flavorful pork broth. Add the chile liquid to the pot of strained broth. And add the hominy.
Using two forks, carefully shred the cooked pork and return about 4 C of it back into the pot. Any additional meat can be frozen to make tacos or enchiladas or chilaquiles at another time. Add additional salt if necessary (it might need it because of the blandness of the hominy.
Pozole should have a “bite” to it since you will be adding raw veggies to it. At the table, for everyone to add as they like, you will want to have:
- thin sliced radish
- fresh white/yellow diced onion
- very thinly sliced lettuce or cabbage
- if desired, some fresh avocado, chunked
- dried oregano
- Tortilla strips/chips – optional
- and a slice of lime.
NOTE: The pictures shows a slice of lemon rather than lime. I was out of lime, but the citrus helps bring out the spicy flavors of the soup and also helps cut the fat from the pork.
If you feel the Pozole is not spicy enough, you can carefully, add 1/4 tsp. of chili powder at a time, tasting after it’s well stirred.
TACOS MEXICANO: These are not Taco Bell Tacos. They are shredded chicken or pork (never ground beef) rolled into a tortilla heated in a little oil, then baked to crisp up.
1# of meat will make 8 to 10 tacos.
- Shredded chicken or pork (Today I used 3/4 of a Costco Roasted Chicken, removing the skin and shredding the meat, approx. 3# of cooked chicken)
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. lawry’s seasoned salt
Toss the seasonings in with the shredded chicken or pork and set aside.
- Corn oil for cooking the tortillas
- 2 dozen CORN tortillas – I always have extra on hand (I prefer Guerrero Brand when I can get them)
- A roll of paper towels
- 1 flat pan, I used cast iron today
You need to work very carefully and quickly as you are working with hot oil.
HOW TO MAKE THE TACOS:
- Heat a thin layer of oil in your cast iron skillet. It should be very hot, but not smoking. Add additional oil to the pan as needed, as it will cook away and soak into the tortillas.
- Carefully lay a single tortilla into the oil and cook for just a few seconds – using tongs, turn the tortilla over and repeat.
- Using the tongs, remove the tortilla to a triple layer of paper towel. Using clean hands, lay about 2 oz. of chicken or pork in a straight line about 1 1/2″ from the edge.
- Very carefully, roll the tortilla around the meat as tightly as you can without breaking the tortilla. Let it rest.
- Heat your next tortilla and repeat. Before you roll the second tortilla, move the first to a glass casserole dish. You will be able to lay out 14 tacos in a 9 x 11″ glass dish.
- Keep repeating the process. As your paper towels get soaked with grease, just add more layers on top instead of trying to remove them.
- Do not pile the tacos, so if you make more than 14, just use a second casserole.
To serve the tacos, place the pan into a pre-heated 325 degree oven and heat the tacos for about 20 minutes uncovered. They will get very crispy on the outside while the meat heats. To eat them, hold them in your hand (you may need to wrap them in a napkin), add guacamole on the top, and as you eat the taco, with each bite.
If you are not going to eat them right away, they freeze beautifully. Stack them carefully in foil, making sure your edges are well sealed, and freeze them. To heat-defrost and bring them to room temperature, place them in a pan in a single layer and heat at 325. Check them at 20 minutes – they may take a few minutes more.
These tacos are NOT served with sour cream, shredded cheese, lettuce, etc. That is Tex-Mex. If you want some variety to the guacamole, you can serve salsa or pico de gallo as well. This is what authentic Mexican tacos look like, Mexico City style.
GUACAMOLE: Today I cheated. We bought organic Wholly Guacamole to which I added, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 clove of garlic, pressed, about 3/4 tsp. red pepper flakes and an additional avocado I had in the house, so it wouldn’t spoil. Normally I would use lime, but I forgot to buy any more, and I had already cut it up for the fam to use in their pozole.
I promise – I will add my homemade guacamole recipe soon.