On Friday, Pat Sharpe wrote about Hugo Ortega’s new cookbook “Hugo Ortega’s Street Food of Mexico,” which will be featured at the Texas Book Festival this Saturday and Sunday (October 27-28) in Austin. To give our readers a deeper look into some of the many dishes included in the cookbook, Ortega sent along the guisado de cazuela de chicharrón, a softened pork skins stew, from the book. To see more delicious recipes like this, pick up a copy of “Hugo Ortega’s Street Food of Mexico.”
Guisado de cazuela de chicharrón
Softened Pork Skins Stew | Makes 4-6 servings
Puestos de chicharrónes are found throughout markets in Mexico City, where these crunchy pork skins are in containers under lamps, and customers can buy them by the kilo. In some stands, the large dried pork skin — usually the actual size of the pig it came from — is hanging from hooks, exposed in all its glory. Chicharrónes can be eaten dry, in a tortilla with salsa de aguacate (page 125) or cooked in a stew, as offered here. Chicharrónes wilt and reduce in size in hot liquid. They are available in the potato chips/snacks aisle in Mexican/Latin grocery stores. Keep in mind that chicharrónes are naturally very salty; therefore, add salt to taste.
10 medium tomatillos, husks removed, washed, roasted
1 large white onion, quartered, roasted
6 garlic cloves, peeled, roasted
1 whole jalapeño pepper, roasted, stemmed
¼ cup olive oil
2 (4 oz) packages chicharrónes
2½ cups beef stock (store-bought or reserved from recipe on page 90)
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
¼ tsp ground cumin
Pinch ground cloves
¼ cup pipicha leaves, optional
12 regular-sized tortillas (page 74), warm
½ small bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped for garnish
½ small white onion, finely chopped for garnish
Place tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapeño in blender and purée into a smooth consistency.
Place saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil to pan and preheat 2 minutes. Add tomatillo sauce and bring up to a boil, 3 minutes, stirring continuously.
Add chicharrónes, stirring frequently to completely submerge them in sauce. Allow to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add beef stock or reserved liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and leave gently bubbling for 5 minutes. Add oregano, cumin, cloves and pipicha, if using. Cook for 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Place ¼ cup stew on each tortilla. Garnish with cilantro and white onion.