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I'm making some red chile pork. I thought about making standard beef chili, but I didn't quite feel up to it. Making beef chili is almost a religious rite for me. I didn't want ritual, I wanted something more experimental. I have never made red chile pork before. I've eaten it lots of times, sure. But the version I made was different from anything I have had in a restaurant.

I went with a combination of boneless pork short rib and boneless pork sirloin, trimmed of hard fat and cut into 1/2" cubes, seasoned with salt and pepper. I made a chile paste more or less the same as what I use for beef chili, with ancho, pasilla, and new mexico chiles. For this chili, I tried to use a higher porportion of new mexicos and pasillas in the mix. It's tough, though, those chiles have super thin flesh compared to anchos, so you have to use a LOT more of them before it makes a big difference. Anchos are really thick and meaty, and add serious texture to the sauce.

After I'd blistered and seeded the dried peppers, I tore them into pieces and covered them with boiling water to reconstitute. I browned the pork in batches, then browned a chopped onion and a couple cloves of garlic. A splash of dry vermouth to scrap the bottom of the pot, then add liberal paprika and cumin. Add the pork back and top with chicken stock. Puree the peppers into a paste and add to the pot, along with dried mexican oregano and a bay leaf. Add a big splash of white wine vinegar and some salt & pepper to taste.

I bought a habanero, but decided not to use it because I would like for mariah to try the end product. I did add a pinch of pequín powder to brighten it up.

Then wait patiently while it cooks, and write an LJ post in the process. Pork takes longer to get tender than beef, generally, particularly if you use rib meat. I went ahead and threw some short-grain brown rice in the rice cooker, but the rice will likely be done long before the pork is ready. I will go back every 30 minutes or so and taste the broth, adding more salt, vinegar, or spices as necessary to achieve the perfect flavor. When it's done, I'll probably want to thicken it with a cornstarch-water slurry. If I had thought about it, I would have bought some mexican hominy to put into the pot. That would have helped thicken it without needing the cornstarch, and generally hominy is awesome. I am a lifelong advocate of nixtamalization. But alas, I have no hominy, so I'll just thicken with starch and eat it over brown rice whenever it's done.

I'll leave this public in case someone is interested in my culinary adventures.


EDIT: I forgot to add that I added one coarsely-chopped red bell pepper right after I added the stock. I wanted the red bell pepper to have a bit more substance to it than what I usually do with my fresh peppers in a beef chili, so I did not sautee it at all, just added it whole once the liquid was in the pot.

Date: 2014-10-26 02:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vambot5.livejournal.com
Trying it now. Notes:
--I did not add enough salt early enough. The pork needs more salt.
--The pork is still rather tough. I'm not sure that these cuts--rib and sirloin--are going to get tender no matter how long they simmer. With beef, after an hour and a half of simmering pretty much any cut will be tender. Maybe I should marinate the pork overnight with some tenderizing agents. That really complicates the whole mess, at that point, I may as well do beef chili.
--During cooking, I went back and added at least a tablespoon of vinegar. When I make beef chili, I use some tomatoes, which add a little bit of acidity. I wouldn't use tomatoes here. The dish craves acidity. Maybe consider marinating the pork in lime juice in the future.
--I could have done two red bell peppers instead of one. The peppers shrunk during cooking, but the meat did not. I could stand more peppers.
--I could stand more onion, too. But it is difficult because the onion adds a lot of bulk early on in the cooking. Two onions instead of one would add a lot of active cooking time.
--That habanero would have been welcome, as far as I'm concerned. Despite containing seven types of peppers, the dish just isn't spicy. All of the peppers included in the dish were mild ones, except for the pequín powder. If I make this again, I will definitely add some fresh hot pepper when I add the stock. Depending on the clientele, let it be a jalapeño, serrano, or habanero.

Verdict: Meh.

The meat came out of the lengthy process pretty bland. The broth is alright, but the meat chunks are pretty much worthless. I will stow the pot overnight in the fridge and try it again tomorrow. Pork is funny sometimes; it does not like to add flavors while it's cooking, much less afterwards. Pork really prefers a pre-cooking rub or marinade. My style is much more "go down to the store after work and see what's on sale." If the pork does not improve after resting overnight, I probably won't try this again.
Edited Date: 2014-10-26 03:00 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-10-27 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vambot5.livejournal.com
Chili was good the second day! I took it to a potluck.

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