|Carne Asada with Pickled Onions|
I love to exercise. Well, I do love to stretch. Does that count? Exercise is something I desperately need to improve at. Really what I love to do is read. I love to go the library. I dream of being locked in overnight. That wouldn’t be a nightmare for me. I’d bring lots of good healthy food to keep me company. Just kiddin’.
Restaurant kitchens have always fascinated me. The hierarchy, the craziness, the fraternity like atmosphere, combine to make what I imagine a murky pit of adrenaline would look like. And after reading this book it only reaffirms what a great chef must go through to reach the top. What a life! Stop and think every time you have had a memorable meal what it takes to get that food to your mouth.
I tell my husband that every night when making dinner. He’s lucky to be served a home cooked meal most nights of the week. All I ask is that he show his face about 5 minutes before plating time to set the table and feed the dogs. I mean really, is that asking too much? Tuning to his right channel on the TV is not assistance in my book. And so when he says “What do I do? I tell him. Usually the same thing every night. His response is always the same, “I know.” Now I tell him that is the WRONG answer. The correct response is “Yes, Chef.” It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
I also read “The Homesick Texan’s” cookbook this week.
My husband is from
. All I can say is
that I wish I would have seen that food in Texas . What have I been missing? It makes me
want to visit again. This is a book I would love to have on my shelf. It covers
everything from salsas to various pickled veggies, to Corn Chowder with Roasted
Jalapenos and Bacon, a variety of chilis, coffee chipotle brisket, and Dr. Pepper
ribs, tomato cobbler and coconut tres leche cake (which I better lose 10 lbs
before making). It made me hungry and isn’t that the best thing you can say
about a cookbook? Texas
And so I ventured to the little Mexican grocery not far from here. I picked up some pasilla dried chilies that I couldn’t find in my regular grocery and also some chorizo and a well trimmed very beautiful boneless pork shoulder. At a lot less than I would have found at my above mentioned grocery. Go figure.
Earlier in the week when I was
not being a bitch being nice I asked my husband what he
would like me to make for him. Quickly scanning the book he decided on the Carne
Asado. It was a good choice. This is a great dish for the upcoming Super Bowl,
of which I freely admit I have no idea who’s playing. But I diverse digress. This is
good to serve for a crowd. Easy to do in a slow cooker. Serve it over rice in a
bowl or with tortillas to make your own burritos. It makes the house smell
really spicy and is perfect with beer or a margarita. Make that two.
But back to my husband… Last night when he emerged for the second weekend of cleaning his office he immediately was drawn to my beautiful royal blue Le Creuset Dutch oven, which was a great gift by the way. He didn’t stop at the TV. He just took a spoon and tasted while inhaling. He immediately set the table, fed the dogs, etc. He then asked ”Is there anything else I can do, DEAR? I responded that a margarita might be nice. To which he so smartly replied,”Yes Chef.” I think this is going to be a great week!
|Simmering away in my new Dutch oven!|
12 dried ancho chilies (stems and seeds removed)
3 lbs boneless pork shoulder cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt and Pepper
2 T lard, bacon grease or vegetable oil, divided
½ medium onion chopped
10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 t dried oregano
1 t ground cumin
¼ t ground allspice
1 ½ chicken broth or water
Cotija, lime wedges, flour tortillas for serving
In a dry skillet heated on high, toast the ancho chilies for about 10 seconds or until they start to puff. Fill the skillet with enough water to cover the chilies. Leave the heat on until the water begins to boil and then turn off the heat and let the chilies soak, about 30 minutes, until they are soft. Once they are hydrated discard the water and rinse the chilies.
While the chilies are soaking, sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat 1T of the oil, grease or lard on medium heat and brown the pork on each side. (You may have to do this in batches otherwise the pork will not brown.)
Remove the browned pork and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. While occasionally stirring, cook the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Turn off the heat.
Place the onion and the garlic into a blender or food processor along with the drained, soaked chilies, oregano, cumin, allspice and ½ c of the chicken broth. Puree into a thick paste. Add salt to taste. Pour the chili paste back into the pot along with the remaining 1 c of chicken broth. While occasionally stirring, cook the chile sauce for 5 minutes on medium heat. This may gurgle!
Add the meat back into the pot and cook covered on low heat for 2 ½ hours, occasionally stirring. After an hour of cooking, taste and adjust seasonings and add water or broth if the pot looks to dry. You do not want it too saucy, though! When done serve in bowls with Cotija cheese (I used feta because I like the saltiness) sprinkled on top, along with warm flour tortillas and lime wedges.
Ole and may the best team win!