martes, 11 de octubre de 2011

Asado de Boda Zacatecano (Zacatecan Wedding Roast)

After so many pedantic posts, I decided to put my feet back on the ground and cook some real comfort food. You know, the type of food that'll stick to your ribs and fucking stay there until your coronaries petrify. Many recipes came to mind, but hell, it's Chocolate Week! so I decided to go with something no one had tried before in my house.

The best thing about travelling across Mexico is that not a single fat old lady will deny you her recipes if you ask politely. This one in particular comes from the state of Zacatecas, smack right in the middle of the country. The people there are just as amazing as the sights. Go there on your next vacation.
Remember: BE POLITE. Mexican Grandmas don't fuck around
Zacatecas (from the nahuatl "Where the grass grows tall") has a rich history, both political and gastronomical. It had some of the largest silver mines in the country, and was fought over by both the Spanish and the French, so the food is understandably amazing. Fusion food as it should be, unpretentious and appealing, with a kind of primal charm.

This particular recipe is sort of labor-intensive, if you're the kind of fat lazy fuck that gets every ingredient from a can or a frozen bag, which is why, as the name implies, it's served at weddings. But if you've got a shred of initiative in you, you'll enjoy making it as much as you'll enjoy eating it. Traditionally, this recipe calls for a whopping 3 cups of rendered pork fat, and while there's no denying that all that porky deliciousness is good, I had to tweak it a little and turn down the porcine debauchery to make it heart-friendly.

Start with 4 lbs of boneless pork shoulder cut into large cubes. Trim the largest chunks of fat and reserve them.

Put the meat in a large pot with enough water to cover it completely. Add some aromatics -in this case, celery and onion- and simmer over a medium flame for about 1 hour.

While the meat cooks, get some chiles. These are Anchos and Chilacates, but you can substitute for Pasillas and New Mexicos. Use about 1/2 lb of each. Place them in a pot with enough water to cover them and bring them to a boil. As soon as they boil, turn the heat off and let them sit in the hot water for 20 minutes, then drain and reserve.

Now take the peel form half a Valencia orange. Try to remove as much of the white pith as possible without being overly anal rettentive. Reserve.

These are bolillos, mexican sourdough rolls. Take 2 day-old bolillos and slice them thick. Air them out for a few minutes. Take 3 Tbsps of corn oil and some of the reserved por fat. Heat them over the lowest possible flame to render some pork fat and impart flavor. Once the fat pieces are browned, remove them and fry the bread over a medium low flame.

Drain the meat, discard the celery and onion and reserve the stock. As soon as your bread is fried, dunk it in the stock and let it soak it up.

This is piloncillo. It's the rawest form of sugar you'll find and it usually comes in 200g (7oz) cones. You'll need one cone. Place it in a zip-top bag, cover it with a kitchen towel and gently pound the shit out of it with a hammer. You'll be left with a sort of moist, brownsugary thing. If you can't find piloncillo, substitute with 5 oz brown sugar and 2 oz dark molasses.
This is mexican cinnamon (canela), also known as True Cinnamon, and it has a very distinct flavor, piquant and spicy, extremely pungent and aromatic, yet sweet. You'll need one stick.
Blend the chiles (minus the stalks), the piloncillo, the cinnamon, and some pork stock until you make a thick salsa.

Now add the bread and the rest of the stock and about 3 tablespoons of salt and keep blending. Reserve.
Take another 6 Tbsps of corn oil and gently render some more pork fat. Once you're done, remove the fat pieces and brown the meat evenly. Add a cup of water when you're done and scrape all the delicious, browned, quasibacon particles from the bottom of the pan.
This is mexican chocolate. It's semisweet and very different from the baking chocolates you're used to. Baking chocolates are slowly ground between metal cylinders for days and then slowly emulsified. Mexican chocolate is more artisanal, coarser, sweetened with cane sugar and spiked with cinnamon and sometimes nutmeg. You'll need 2 tablets.
Lower the heat to low. Strain the sauce over the meat, pressing on it and discarding any solids left. Your sauce should be silky and smooth.
Now add the orange peel and break the chocolate over the sauce, stirring vigorously and constantly. Chocolate is added at the very end to prevent burning and fucking up. Keep simmering over a low flame for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Serve with additional bolillos and some mexican red rice.

Pairing (be gentle, it's my first time):
Contrary to french belief, complex mexican sauces do marry well with Champange and sparkling wines, just make sure it's not something too acidic. In my humble opinion, Freixenet's Cava Sala Vivé Brut is an excelent and unexpected choice, regardless of the vintage year. 

Following the long Zacatecan tradition of clinging to their brief contact with the Spanish, a fairly young bottle of El Coto de Rioja Crianza 2007 (again, against all european preconceptions) will compliment the freshness from the orange peel and bring out the earthiness from the chocolate and cinnamon.

Mexican reds are worthy of consideration as well, most specially L.A Cetto's Don Luis Merlot and Boutique Syrah. Just avoid southamerican wines, they tend to be too acidic.

Almost any beer will do, but if you went through all this trouble, you might as well, invest in some good ones. Guiness is a good choice, although it can be a little overpowering. My recommendations would be Cucapá Obscura and Bohemia Weizen.

Printer Friendly Version: Asado de Bodas Zacatecano (Zacatecan Wedding Roast)
Serves 6
Aproximately 3 hours

4lbs boneless pork shoulder
2 ribs celery
1 small onion
1 gallon water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 lb ancho or pasilla peppers
1/2 lb chilacate or dried new mexico peppers
1 stick mexican cinnamon
2 tablets mexican chocolate
1 cone (7oz) of piloncillo, or 5oz brown sugar + 2oz dark molasses
2 stale bolillos, or at least as much artisanal sourdough bread
The peel off 1/2 an orange
  1. Simmer the pork along with the celery and onion for about 1 hour, then drain and reserve the stock
  2. Rehydrate the chiles in hot water and drain
  3. Fry the bolillos in 3 Tbsps vegetable oil + a little pork fat and make big-ass croutons, then dunk'em in the pork stock
  4. Blend the chiles, piloncillo, cinnamon, bread and stock to a thick sauce
  5. Brown the pork in 6 Tbsps vegetable oil + a little pork fat and de glaze the pan with a cup of water.
  6. Strain the sauce over the meat, discard any solids left.
  7. Add the orange peel and chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts.
  8. Simmer over a very low flame for 30 minutes, stirring vigorously to avoid burning
  9. Fucking rule a mexican wedding
  10. Leave a fucking comment

4 comentarios:

  1. oooh lard, this looks so good, did you save something? ha,...

    Can you change the pork wit chicken or beef?

  2. Not a big fan of bohemia weizen, I am of bohemia tho,... I think in my case something like this I will get a Negra Modelo or Victoria

  3. You know, i might just try a couple of these recipes out... might have some trouble finding some of the ingredients here in the UK but i will give it a go! :)
    By the way, that dish looks delicious!