Saturday, September 6, 2008

more great NM food

For my trip to Austin, when I saw the Toadies show, my hot and awesome girlfriend got some fresh roasted Hatch green chile. Typically the harvest comes in around August/September, and everyone who loves to cook with it in New Mexico gets a bag (35 lbs), has it roasted, and freezes a bunch to use throughout the year until the next harvest. Around this time of year is is plentiful and cheap in NM, but not most other places. In recent years HEB grocery stores and Central Market have been carrying it in Austin, at greatly inflated rates by NM standards, making it much easier to get for NM expats living there. Out here in the mid-atlantic, however, still hard to come by, which is why I was so amped when my rad lady procured chile for my visit.

Here's what I did with the green chile, and also how I made the carne adovada for Dr. Miller's edification.

Green chile sauce/stew:
This is a very common stew style sauce in NM for putting on everything and anything. Like most important, regional sauces there are shitloads of ways to make it. This is how I did it last week.

1. Sweat an onion in vegetable oil in a pot. Olive oil would work, but flavorless is better in this case.
2. Brown cubed pork loin with onion.
3. Near end of browning add crushed garlic. I like a lot of garlic, and this was a medium-large pot that I wanted to fill about 2/3 of the way full, so I used a whole bulb.
4. Add about 2 cups of roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped Hatch green chile.
5. After the chile has had a chance for the flavor and aroma to open up a bit add liquid to cover. I used a can of beef stock and water. Chicken would have been more appropriate, but the beef was on hand. Simmer until the pork is almost cooked to desired tnederness.
6. Add cubed potato. The potato will thicken the sauce slightly, without making into a gravy like consistency. If you prefer you can add flour to the sweat instead, just go light. Simmer until the pork and potatoes are tender
7. Right at the end I added a peeled, seeded, and sliced tomato, and removed the pot from heat.

At that point it was ready to go and I ate some over rice, and put the rest of it up. The next day I separated it into zip top bags and froze them to be used later.

Carne adovada:
I've made things like this before, but this time had some modifications I like, and the product was fucking awesome. Unless someone comes up with better shit this is going to be the way I do it from now on.

I got a pork shoulder, cause I'm a cheap bastard, and broke it down myself. This is kind of a pain in the ass, and a good place to save time and effort if you feel like spending a bit more. The meat just needs to be collagen laden and good for long, slow cooking. Actually it is a huge pain in the ass, especially if you don't do it periodically, and I would recommend against it unless you just want to try it once to see.

Cut the pork into large chunks. My mom and I refer to them as fist sized, but in reality they are smaller than the fist my gangly mitts make. You want the smallest ones to be larger than a golfball, and the biggest smaller than a softball. Simmer the pork in just enough water to cover with a lot of garlic powder, and some black pepper.

I've tossed the bone in before too, but it didn't add much. You could reserve the stock and use it for the chile, but I think that the chile made that way isn't the best for this dish, even though it's pretty damn good.

Simmer until the pork is tender and comes apart easily, cool and store if not finishing the dish right then.

The chile was made essentially following the directions on the package. You can make red chile without NM red chile powder, but I think it's really best with the right shit. Just don't ever use "chili powder", that little i can fuck up a lot of your work. I made a roux with olive oil because I found out at an inopportune moment that we were out of vegetable oil. It was pretty tight, so I softened it up a bit with more oil and some lard I skimmed off the top of the cooled pork, and took it a little past blond. Strictly speaking a white roux is what your'e after, but I have a lot of trouble not fucking with things I'm working on so I went a bit further. I added the chile powder, cooked for a minute, added water (out of chicken stock), garlic, and pepper. Cooked it for about 20 minutes and was rewarded with an incredibly thick sauce. I purposely made it thick to ease storage, but this was impressive. It was essentially red chile pudding, and even cracked deeply upon cooling. Cool and store if not finishing the dish right then.

I pulled the pork chunks apart to make smaller chunks. I could have just as easily cut them up, but I wanted to go over them one more time to remove fat and grisle. Another reason not to break down your own pork shoulder. If you suck at it, like me, it makes extra work for you on more than one occasion. I put the pork in a pot, added chile and water to make the consistency I wanted and just cover the pork, and simmered until the flavors combined.

Completely fucking awesome, melt in your mouth pork, and a nice, smoky, flavorful sauce with a touch of heat.

I poached a couple of eggs and plopped them right down on top of a bowl of that shit, and it fucking ruled.

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