Hatch Chile Pork Tacos


Hatch chiles are grown in the Hatch Valley in New Mexico and are cultivars developed in the area over more than a century. The are only grown seasonally, and the season is NOW!

INGREDIENTS
15 dried hatch chiles
9 dried arbol chiles
3-4 pound boneless pork butt
two heads of garlic, peeled
four teaspoons cumin
six teaspoons coriander
one tablespoon oregano
salt
juice of two limes
juice of one grapefruit
two bay leaves
one cup beef stock
half cup oude genever

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Hatch chiles. Don Enrique is an excellent brand of dried chiles.

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Arbols.

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Other ingredients for the chile sauce (bay leaves don’t get blended in, though).

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Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles, and rehydrate by immersing them in boiling water and then turning the heat off to let them steep for about 20-30 minutes. Put them in the blender with the steeping water.

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Put in all the other chile sauce ingredients and some salt.

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Blend the everloving fucke out of itte to make the fucken chile sauce.

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Boomsma oude genever.

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Put the chile sauce, genever, and beef stock in a dutch over and bring to a boil.

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Pork butt. As shown here, you want to trim most of the cap fat off the outside, leaving plenty of fat in the meat. If you were going to roast, smoke, or BBQ a pork butt, you would want to leave the cap fat on, cooking it with the cap on top, so that it melts and drips through, moistening the meat, but then dripping through and out of the meat. When braising, all of the fat is staying in the final product, so you want to tune the amount properly.

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Put the butt in the pot with the bay leaves, cover and simmer on low, turning the meat over every half hour. When it is pliable enough to break it into a few pieces, you can do that to speed the cooking a bit and also make it cook through more evenly. It takes about one hour per pound.

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Done!

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Remove the meat from the pot and turn the heat up to begin to reduce the sauce.

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Reducing sauce. You want to ultimately have it thicken up nicely.

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Instead of queso fresco for garnish, we asked our cheese monger what he thought might pair nicely with red chile pork butt, and he recommended this beauty: Montealva, an aged goat cheese from Andalucia. As you’ll see later, the drier center crumbles up nicely like queso fresco, while the more decomposed outer layer just under the rind provides little chunks of gooey goodness. Needless to say, this has a much stronger flavour than queso fresco, and it worked out really well on the tacos. Although the first few I made, I put on more than was necessary (going on my experience with queso fresco).

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Shred the pork.

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Garnishes!

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Sauce thickening nicely! I guess it’s the starches from the chiles that make it thicken? Salt it to taste.

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Freshly made tortillas, as usual from Los Tacos No. 1.

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Put the shredded pork back into the sauce and mix well to incorporate. If you have the patience, it is great to let the pork/sauce mixture “meld” overnight in the fridge, as it is even better reheated the next day. This is what I always do when making tamales.

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Little guac. Note the cooleasse pig plates!

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Little cabbage.

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PIGGY GOING ON!!!!!!!!!!!

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Ready to eat!!!

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Next batch I left off the pico di gallo.

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This was actually plenty of cheese, given the relative strength of the Montealva compared to queso fresco, which is basically partially dried small-curd ricotta.

Comments

  1. Trebuchet says

    Minor nitpick: There’s a “season” for dried chilis? Looks delicious regardless. Except for the guac, which I personally don’t care for.

  2. says

    Yes, there is a season for dried Hatch chiles, dumbfucke. They grow them and dry them seasonally, and sell them all pretty quickly. When they’re gone, you can’t get more until next year.

  3. Charles Insandiego says

    Looks good, though the gin is a bit of a surprise. I might just throw a few juniper berries in, and use queso cotija instead of the goat cheese. I love goat meat, but not the milk.

  4. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    “15 dried hatch chiles”

    DRIED HATCH CHILES! WTF blasphemy is that! Hatch green chiles … picked fresh, roasted, and skinned are sacred canon. All else is heresy and apostasy, not to mention stupidly falling for some marketing propaganda and Don Enrique’s fancy label.

    Hatch greens are bred and grown in the Rio Abajo to be “chile verde”, which is Spanish for “green chile”, young, crisp, fresh and GREEN. What you have are the leftovers that ripened in the field and were dried to salvage some value from the crop and sold to gringos with no taste buds.

    If you want good dried red NM chiles, you have to get the ones from the Rio Arriba that were selected for hundreds of years to be at their best ripe and dried. ‘Chimayo’ and ‘Española’ or one of the other land races.

  5. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    And the season is not NOW … the season does not start until the produce department at Walmart sets up the chile roaster out back, and the guy at the farmers market brings the trailer with his roaster to the Plaza on Saturday.

    The entire town will be full of the neurotoxic vapors of roasting chiles.

    Your pathetic excuse for chiles will be scavenged from the fields later, after the green chile goodness is long gone.

  6. D. C. Sessions says

    What Tsu Dho Nimh said, except that there is no “chile harvest season” — there are several. The earliest (more or less ending right now) is when the most picante of the chiles are harvested. The smell of roasting chiles permeates the air, and auto body shops prepare for their most profitable season replacing blistered paint.

    Next is the so-called “medium” chiles. A few are consumed locally by newcomers to New Mexico who haven’t totally acclimated and by restaurants who have to serve the tourists. This runs more or less through September, depending of course on weather.

    Finally there’s the “mild” chiles. Which aren’t, but the restaurants get a fair number while the remainder are exported to places like Arizona, California, and Texas. This season flirts with the frosts of October/November and if the nights get too cool the fool things turn red and lose most of their flavor. Those get shipped north to Santa Fe, which actually does some nice things since their traditional cooking had to make do with chiles that were shipped too far to be fresh. (Anyone who visits Santa Fe can get some good examples at the Plaza Cafe. (Try the papas fritas con chile. Over a century in the same location; unfortunately they had to remodel somewhat a few years back and lost a bit of the old decor.)

    Not all of the chiles that go to Santa Fe are mild, though — they actually have learned to make the most of their traditional handicaps. This is reputed to be one of the main controversies between Santa Fe and Los Cruces.

  7. sailor1031 says

    Finally sommebody finds a use for dutche fukken ginne in addition to firestarter. Waye to fukken goe….

  8. Trebuchet says

    @CPP, #2: I really was asking a serious question. And based on responses 4,5, and 6, I may not be the only dumbfucke here.

  9. steveht says

    Yeah Trebuchet .. listen to Tsu Dho and DC .. only a dumbshitte who’s never been bowled over by fresh roasted chilies would think that that dried bag of last year’s crappeshitte peppers is the good stuffe …

    Or a Yankeeshite fanboi

    On the other hand .. goddamme excellent recipe

  10. Trebuchet says

    @10: In CPP’s defense, he’s more than 2000 miles from the scene.

    For those in the know: Are Hatch Chilis really that special? Or is it mostly a marketing ploy like Vidalia onions?

  11. Trebuchet says

    Oh yeah: “Chili” or “Chile”? I tend to use the “e” version for the country and the dish, but the “i” version for the fruit/vegetable. But that’s probably just me.

  12. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    @13 … They have been bred specifically for the purpose of being picked green, roasted, skinned and turned into chile verde or chopped into omelets or draped over your hamburger. And the weather is excellent – a long growing season with enough variability to get various levels of “heat”. The ones that grew and matured in hot dry weather have more capsaicin. As the weather cools off, so do the chiles.

    They are OK when ripened and dried, but not as good as a variety that has been selected for goodness when dried and rehydrated, or dried, roasted and then dehydrated (two different flavors from those processes).

    The locals distinguish between “chiles para ristras (chiles to string and dry) and “chiles para asar” (chiles to roast over a flame and peel).

    My contractor – as well as getting roasted Hatch greens and dried reds from varous farming relatives across the state – is growing Chimayo, Serrano, and a couple other varieties.

  13. flavia says

    PP’s recipes are gorgeous. For what it can be seen, their kitchen sounds wonderful with ample counters and in different colours!. Feeling jealous.

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