What a perfect post while in the middle of a Blizzard…
Back before Christmas, The Mexican Board of Tourism invited me along with several bloggers to experience the fine and complex cuisine of Mexico at Mexique ,a French influenced Mexican restaurant. French influenced Mexican you ask? Yes as the French occupied briefly during the whole Maximilian Affair , masterminded by Napoleon III to bring an Austrian archduke there to rule. I sat with fellow Chicago blogger Joelen with our men as we learned about the rich history and culinary traditions of Mexico.The Mexican Board of Tourism wanted to refute the perception that Mexican food was just tacos, burritos and tamales. Mexican food is elegant and rich with complex flavors that reflect the indigenous peoples and those that settled there. The region of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico , is where you will find blacks, former slaves. Its no surprise their cooking resembles what we think of as Caribbean food with the African roots. Oaxaca, home of the longest surviving indigenous people the Zapotecs and Mixtecs, is know as the land of the Seven Moles.Moles are labor intensive red or brown chili based sauces that are a staple of Mexican cuisine. Oaxaca is also known for Chocolate.
What I loved about our informative dinner was that the Executive Chef Carlos Gaytan broke all my stereotypes of the food. The Ceviche was smooth and velvety without excessive use of citrus acid and rounded out by lush avocado emulsion. Pork belly was served with butternut squash foam and mole Teloloapan, Carne Asada .Each course was a marvel followed by a decadent chocolate tamales wrapped in corn husks. Rich, bittersweet and dense. Sensational.
In the end we were each gifted with the culinary tome Oaxaca. I haven’t made anything from the book yet , but have enjoyed reading it. Fortunately living in Chicago with a large Mexican community, I have many of these ingredients at my fingertips.
So being the improvisational cook I am , I whipped this up one weekend and realized how I have been influenced by the flavors of Mexico. While its not authentic it incorporates many elements I have been reading about and exposed to by our Mexican community in Chicago. My cooking Mojo is off this month but Certain Someone and I enjoyed these flavors immensely. It tastes even better the next day.If you like spice and are trapped in the snow , like I am you will be warmed up by this dish. I wont give a formal recipe, as this is what I call is instinctive cooking.
Pork Belly Chipotle Tacos
You will need:
Pork Belly with skin, Can of Chipolte Peppers in Adobe, onion, chicken stock, corn tortillas,sour cream, lime, cheese( Queso or cojita optional)
- Braise a inexpensive pork belly with the skin for 3 hours in a covered Dutch Oven at around 350F.Season it with salt and pepper.
- Crisp it for 30 minutes .
- Let stand.
- In a sauce pan saute some onions in oil.
- Add a can of Chipotle peppers in Adobo ( found in Latin sections of supermarket).
- Slice your pork belly with skin and add to peppers and onions.
- Add chicken stock.
- Season to taste.
- Simmer until all flavors are blended.
- Serve on grilled corn tortillas.
The winner of last weeks giveaway is… Irene E! Congratulations. I know you will enjoy Food and Friends …Recipes and Memories from Simca’s Cuisine.