Feature

Recipe of the week: Carne Adovada: How the Southwest does pulled pork

David Tanis, the co-chef of Chez Panisse, uses ground, dried red chilies to make “the best pulled pork you’ve ever had.”

As they are ground, dried red chilies release an aroma that is “so sweet, so pungent,” said David Tanis, co-chef of Chez Panisse, in his new book, Heart of the Artichoke (Artisan). Just the thought of it makes me “homesick” for the time I spent working at Santa Fe’s Café Escalera in the 1990s.

“People think chili peppers are just hot, but they’re much more.” Red chilies have a “vegetal sweetness, a richness,” and that’s because they’ve been allowed to “ripen on the plant beyond the sharpness” that they have when green. For sauces, marinades, and stews, you should use large, “leathery” dried red chilies, such as the ancho, guajillo, or New Mexico varieties. As in this recipe, which will produce “the best pulled pork you’ve ever had,” you generally toast and then soften the chilies before blending them into a paste.

Recipe of the weekSlow-Cooked Carne Adovada

6 oz dried New Mexico red chilies 2 tbsp lard or vegetable oil 1 large onion, finely diced Salt and pepper 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 1 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground 1 bay leaf 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, whole or cut into large chunks

Rinse and dry chilies. Toast them in a dry cast-iron pan over medium heat until they puff a bit and become fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Cut chilies in half lengthwise and remove seeds and stems. Put chilies in small pot of water and bring to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Let chilies cool in liquid. Purée chilies with a cup of their cooking liquid in blender. Heat lard or oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook about 5 minutes; no color, no browning. Add garlic, coriander, cumin, and bay leaf, then add chili purée and a little salt. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then let cool. (This can all be done in advance.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put pork in low roasting pan or heavy-bottomed ovenproof pot and season generously with salt and pepper. Add chili sauce and mix well to coat. Cover tightly with lid or foil. Bake pork for 1½ to 2 hours, until meat is quite tender and falling apart. Serve in shallow soup bowls with a big spoonful of steaming-hot hominy. Serves 4 to 6.

For hominy1 lb dried hominy, soaked overnight in water to cover 4 quarts water 1 tsp salt, or to taste 1 small onion, halved and stuck with a clove 6 garlic cloves 2 medium carrots, peeled and chunked

Drain hominy, rinse, and place in soup pot. Cover with water; add salt, onion, garlic, and carrots. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1½ to 2 hours, until kernels have swelled and softened. Discard aromatics. Add salt to taste.

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