Foodie Friday: Chicharron en Salsa Verde

22 Apr

Chicharron

Chicharron en salsa verde is a common Mexican guisado, and one that is simple to make. Sig-o requested it for the menu this week so I thought I would share it with you. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy finding fresh chicharron where we live, so I use the packaged stuff in a pinch. This particular kind turned out particularly well — it holds it’s body well in the sauce.

When we lived in my husband’s hometown in Mexico, I spent most of my free time in the kitchens of any of the Doñas who would take me in. I learned a lot from them, including the fact that there is no one way to make even the most typical of Mexican dishes — everyone has their own special touch or secret. I was recently talking recipes with my suegra and she told me how she makes picadillo. When I told her that her closest comadre makes it fundamentally different, she was in shock (maybe because she didn’t know… or maybe because I did!). And so it is with salsas. Salsas vary by dish, of course, by region, and by individual. So here is one that I picked up along the way, served with chicharron.

******

Chicharron en Salsa Verde

Tomatillos (~25)

Jalapeños (~3, or to taste)

Dried chile (1-optional; I used a chipotle this time)

Onion (1/2 large)

Garlic (2 cloves)

Peppercorns (~6)

Clove (~1)

Chicken broth or bouillon (Knorr Suiza)

Oil

Tomatillos and chiles

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the best at measurements. You can play around with this until you get the taste that best suites you — we like things pretty spicy around here.

Remove all the husks from the tomatillos. In case you’ve never seen one naked, here’s what they look like once you removed the papery husk.

Tomatillo husks

Rinse well and then place in pot with chiles and just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and remove from heat once they begin to soften. You’ll notice in the picture below that I threw a dried chile in the mix, as well. Not a must, but I think it gives it a little extra kick and another layer to the texture of the taste. But note that it will also turn your “green” salsa a little more to the orange side.

Boil tomatillos

Toast the garlic, cloves, and peppercorns. I usually also toast some whole cumin seeds, but I realized I’m out today, so I just left it out. Once toasted I also usually grind the spices (not the garlic) in my molcajete (mortar and pestle), but z-baby woke up from his nap just as I was at this step so I threw it all in the blender instead.

Tostando ajo

Puree the tomatillos, chiles, garlic, and spices using the same water everything was boiled in. Don’t throw out that extra water yet — it’s the golden rule! Heat oil in pot and add onion. Allow it to brown and soften slightly, then add it to the blender and puree it in with the salsa.

Cebolla

In the same oil the onion was cooked in, add the pureed salsa. Add some of the additional water the tomatillos were boiled in if the sauce seems too thick. Bring to a boil. Add the Knorr Suiza. How much? I say start with just a pinch and work your way up. Remember, the chicharron will also add salt. I err on the side of “less is more.” My suegra, on the other hand, about gives me a heart attack every time I see her add in her querida Knorr Suiza… but then again, she’s the one who has had multiple successful restaurants in Mexico (no pressure, nuera!). So try a little, then add some more!

Salsa

Once the salsa is up to a boil, add the chicharron. Cook on low until the chicharron has softened. This usually doesn’t take longer than around 15 minutes (it’s still not quite to that point in the photo below).

Chicharron en salsa verde

Serve with fresh corn tortillas, or spoon it into hot gorditas… the possibilities go on and on. ¡Provecho!

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One Response to “Foodie Friday: Chicharron en Salsa Verde”

  1. Tara Castillo April 27, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    Wow! Sounds good! I’m going to have to try this receta! My suegra taught me how she makes hotsauce when I came to visit y las tias taught me how to make chiles rellenos. I wish I would have had more time to learn more recipes. Its always makes so much more sense seeing done rather than being told over the phone.
    Thanks for posting!

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