chicharrones

Pozole

Pozole

Pozole

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Partial  excerpts from Wikipedia:
“Pozole. Variants: pozolé, pozolli, pasole), which means “hominy”, is a traditional soup or stew from Mexico, which once had ritual significance. It is made from hominy, with meat (typically pork), and can be seasoned and garnished with shredded cabbage, chile peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, avocado, salsa and/or limes.
It is a typical dish in various states such as Sinaloa, Michoacán, Guerrero, Zacatecas, Jalisco, Morelos, State of Mexico and Distrito Federal. Pozole is served in Mexican restaurants worldwide.
Pozole is frequently served as a celebratory dish throughout Mexico and by Mexican communities outside Mexico. Common occasions include Mexico Independence Day, quince años, weddings, birthdays, baptisms, and New Year’s Day.
Pozole can be prepared in many ways. All variations include a base of cooked hominy in broth. Typically pork, or sometimes chicken, is included in the base. Vegetarian recipes substitute beans for the meat.
Dried hominy can be used for pozole, but it must be soaked and cooked
The three main types of pozole are blanco/white, verde/green and rojo/red.
White Pozole is the preparation without any additional green or red sauce. Green Pozole adds a rich sauce based on green ingredients, possibly including tomatillos, epazote, cilantro, jalapeños, and/or pepitas. Red Pozole is made without the green sauce, instead adding a red sauce made from one or more chiles, such as guajillo, piquin, or ancho.
When pozole is served, it is accompanied by a wide variety of condiments, potentially including chopped onion, shredded lettuce, sliced radish, cabbage, avocado, limes, oregano, tostadas, chicharrónes, and/or chiles.
Pozole was mentioned in Fray Bernardino de Sahagún‘s General History of the Things of New Spain (c. 1500). Since maize was a sacred plant for the Aztecs and other inhabitants of Mesoamerica, pozole was made to be consumed on special occasions. The conjunction of maize (usually whole hominy kernels) and meat in a single dish is of particular interest to scholars, because the ancient Americans(which?) believed the gods made humans out of masa (cornmeal dough).”
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According to research by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute of Anthropology and History) and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, on these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human. After the prisoners were killed by having their hearts torn out in a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body was chopped and cooked with maize, and the resulting meal was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion. After the Conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat as it “tasted very similar” [to human flesh], according to a Spanish priest.

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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Pozole

Pozole

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Pozole

Pozole

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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Best Snack – Ever !?

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Pork Rinds, Pork Skins, Pork Scratchings, Pork Crackling, Chicharrones, Scrunchions, Oreilles de Christ, Chicharrón, chicharrón con Gordo, Gratons, Khaep Mu,  Tóp Mỡ, škvarky,  Grieben, Griaba, Torresmos,  Couratos,  Knabbelspek, Flæskesvæ, etc, etc, etc.
Fried pork skin is eaten in most if not all areas around the world where pork is consumed. (Many other animal skins, ears and intestines are also used to make cracklings, but today I just want to talk about pork skins, most widely known as Chicharrones, but also by the many other names listed at the beginning of this post.
I sometimes buy them ready-made in bags and have found a few very good brands in the supermarkets around here, especially in the Latin-Markets. But nothing comes close to the freshly made homemade stuff, still warm and with a texture, flavor and aroma which you just don’t get from a bag. I happened to have some pork skin in the fridge which I removed from a pork butt I cooked yesterday, anticipating the chicharrones I wanted to prepare today. (I usually cook the butt skin-on).
However, pork skin is widely available from butchers and markets so you should have no problem sourcing it.
The process is very simple :
To fry the skins, use duck fat, pork fat or peanut oil. Simmer the skin in salted water until very tender, drain, let dry for a couple of hours. Cut into strips or cubes and fry at low temperature until very crisp. Remove to absorbent paper and season to your liking. Just plain kosher salt will do, but you can experiment with additional seasoning, such as cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, curry powder, za-atar, old bay seasoning, or my favorite,  five spice powder, which I have used in today’s dish. I also like to sprinkle finely sliced scallions and chili flakes over the cracklings and use a dipping sauce of chili oil and hoi sin sauce.
WARNING !!!!
I recommend to cook the chicharrones outside in the open air; splattering of fat WILL occur !
In any case, no matter if you cook the chicharrones inside or outside, cover the fryer 3/4 with a lid while frying to minimize the fat going all over the place and possibly ignite on the hot stove.

To sum it up – making chicharrones at home is like making love :
– if you know what you are doing, the rewards can be wonderful 🙂
– if you don’t know what you’re doing, you might get burned 😦
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Chicharrones

Chicharrones

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Chicharrones

Chicharrones

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Pulled Pork “Havana Loco”

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havana
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For  most of my life I detested the very idea of pulled pork. My professional training as a cook had taught me that if something falls apart, it is overcooked and therefore non grata. In addition, the pulled pork I was introduced to during my early years in the USA was almost always smoked for many hours, then completely inundated in (most of the time crappy) “bbq sauce”.
The whole thing seemed to me to have the texture and taste of some lousy half-smoked cigars mashed-up and mixed with ketchup and vinegar, more often than not served on a limp, tasteless burger bun. As a result, for many years I stayed away from pulled pork.
This changed when I got to travel in Latin America and in Latin American-circles, where pulled pork took on a very different dimension, one which I was finally able to wholeheartedly embrace. Usually braised in the oven for hours, with lots of cilantro, lime, garlic, various citrus juices and sometimes the addition of onions and/or chilies, the pork tastes lively and fresh, not at all heavy or greasy or overly sweet. Usually, it is served with white rice and yucca or a simple salad and most of the time with some kind of spicy, vinegar based condiment.
Below find my own take on pulled pork, as I imagine I would serve it at my imaginary, popular nightspot in a Havana of long-gone times, with hot girls dancing to the Rumba, Mojitos flowing freely and eating, drinking, dancing, making love and enjoying life being the only thing on everybody’s mind……………..
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Bon Appetit ! Life is Good !
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Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork “Havana Loco”

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Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork “Havana Loco”

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Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork “Havana Loco”

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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