Damn those darned Texans and their big attitude, big hats and big generosity. I was having a pretty easy time over here on the east coast of the Emerald Isle when Richard McGary suggested “You should try Carne Adovada. You have all the chillis you need in the chilli parcel.“ Now, a suggestion like this from most other people would prompt a response like “Yes, of course, I must give it a go one of these days.”. (That is an Irish way of saying “Thanks for the suggestion. I will never do it, not in this or any other lifetime.”). But, the gentle prompt from the refined McGary leads me to the cooking, my eldest daughter to buy a tortilla press and her boyfriend, to get the appropriate corn flour.
I don’t know why we Irish are so subservient and servile in nature. That tall in the saddle Texan clicks his culinary fingers and we scuttle off to prepare Carne Adovada and Corn Tortillas. The great thing about Carne Adovada is that there are as many recipes for it as there are cacti in the Chihuahuan Desert. That leaves me pretty safe from whoops of inauthenticity from those saddle sore cow pokes.
For my Carne Adovada, you will need:
- 1.5 kilos of pork shoulder
- 1 Salida chili (hot)
- 1 Salida chili (medium)
- 1 Ancho chili
- 4 onions
- 500 ml of chicken stock
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 teaspoons of cumin
- 2 teaspoons of coriander
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons of honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
The first thing to do is to pour hot water over the three dried chilis.
One of the things I love about this dish, I get to chop up a big piece of meat.
Any post with ‘big meat’ needs a gratuitous meat shot. This post is no exception.
The pork needs to be browned on one or two sides. Do this in batches in the casserole dish. We don’t want to toughen the meat too much.
While this is progressing, chop the onions.
Take the meat out and take a photograph of it.
While you are photographing the meat, sweat down the onions and garlic.
While the onions are sweating, have fun by blending the chilis.
Add some of the chili water to the mixture and blend them.
Add some more of the mixture and blend until they form a delicious looking ‘Adovada’ paste.
When the onions are nice and soft, add the aromatics.
Add the meat. Next have some fun by pouring the chili sauce.
Next, add the chicken stock.
When you have given it a good stir, add the honey.
Bring the casserole to the boil, cover it and then pop it into a 190º C oven. Leave it there for 45 minutes. Take it out and uncover. Cook on the stove top until the sauce reduces by a good half.
Now, I know that over in the “Great State of Texas” having a tortilla press is as natural as lassoing ponies out on the range. Here in Dublin, they are as rare as hens’ teeth. So, possibly unique to Irish blogging (with apologies to the great Lilly Ramirez), I present home-made corn tortillas. The quantities are written on the flour bag. Use 2 parts flour to 1.3 parts water with a pinch of salt.
Mix the flour and salted water together into a dough. Knead the dough until your kneading hand is clean (joking!). Knead it with clean hands for about 5 minutes.
Break into golf ball sized pieces and place between parchment on the press. Note our one-sheet-for-both-sides approach.
Fold the paper over…
Close and press the press until the tortilla is nice and flat. Practise makes perfect.
Fry these, one at a time on a dry cast iron skillet.
Serve the Carne Adovada on the tortilla with sliced onion, shredded cheese and some nice guacamole. A cold beer on the side won’t go astray either.
I generally don’t respond well to ‘helpful suggestions’ about what I could and should cook. For once, I am delighted to have cow-towed to the Texan with long shadow.
Thanks Richard and as they say in the Lone Star State; Yeeeeeehaaaaaaa!