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Guajillo Pork Chops

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When I saw these succulent Porterhouse pork chops at the butcher shop, I knew they were coming home with me. Porterhouse pork chops are the Cadillac of chops. Divided by a “T” bone, these chops combine some of the best cuts of the tenderloin and the loin surrounded by a generous and beautiful ribbon of pork fat and their double thickness these chops are as luscious and succulent almost like having almost a steak. Thinking of how to prepare them, I could almost hear them whispering “Guajillo and garlic” to me, so there Guajillo Pork Chops for diner it was.

Chiles are one of my favorite ingredients in Mexican cooking, especially dry chiles. They work miracles in the kitchen. Dry or fresh, these beautiful capsicum fruits are not only about spicy heat;
fresh chiles can brighten up and give a spicy-sass flavor to any dish along with a bright loud note. Dry chiles add a pleasant intense depth of flavor from smokey-sweet, to spicy and fruity, floral and fruity notes with a pleasant hint of spice. Dry chiles are a must have in your pantry.
Dry Guajillos are the perfect example I just described. Guajillos, when slightly toasted, fried or hydrated, bloom with the most aromatic, intense color and mild fruity heat flavor. This effect is irresistible and best used with pork because the meat’s flavor still shines through.

I just knew this Guajillo-Garlic adobo is what these chops needed. In the blink of an eye, I was in the kitchen prepping and making this recipe come to life. I toasted the guajillo chiles to awaken the oils and flavor, then removed the seeds cut into strips and sauteed them in a little oil along with comino seeds and copious amounts of garlic. All these toasted ingredients went into the molcajete to be ground by hand. Using the molcajete is one of my favorite pleasures in the kitchen to smell the aromas that the combination of ingredients emanate from the friction of the volcanic stone. Feeling how the ingredients are being transformed, is such a rewarding cooking process for me. Once the chiles start to become a coarse paste, I incorporated the vinegar and there it was… Guajillo Adobo. This adobo can be ground as coarse or fine as you prefer. I left it medium coarse for this recipe , to add texture to the rub. When its was time to marry the flavors first a gave a good pan sear on the chops, added the adobo, basted the pork chops, and finished in the oven. The smell in the kitchen was insane! The moment I sliced the chop it was juicy, and succulent.
I try not to ever say “you should”… but in this case I will say “you must” try this recipe.
Have fun in the kitchen!

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Guajillo Pork Chops

Makes 2 1b. Chops serves 2-4

2 -2” thick Porterhouse Pork Chops*, about 1lb each.
Sea salt and black pepper to season the chops
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

For the brine:

1 cups warm water,
1/2 kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup ice
1 bay leaf

For the adobo:

4 dry Guajillo peppers
8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
¼ teaspoon comino seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh crushed Black Pepper
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar.

Preparation Method:

1. In a glass bowl, dissolve sugar and salt into the warm water. Add ice, let it melt,add bay leaf. Add pork chops cover with plastic wrap or a lid, let them rest over night or at least 2-4 hours.
2. Take the pork chops out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking them. To become room temperature, this will ensure even cooking and tender, juicy chops. Remove pork chops from brine and pat dry really well. Set aside.
3. In a cast iron pan, slightly toast the Guajillo peppers until pliable and they change color. Remove from heat, let them cool a bit. Using kitchen scissors remove the chile tails and shake them to remove all seeds. Cut the chiles into thin rings.
4. Heat up a cast iron pan, make sure your chops fit loosely on the pan you will use. Add oil and warm up, add garlic, comino seeds, and the thinly cut guajillo. Saute for 2 -3 minutes until Guajillos are deep red and garlic is light golden brown. Remove pan from heat.

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5. With a slotted spoon transfer the sauteed guajillos, garlic and cominos to a molcajete or stone mortar. Add sea salt and grind by hand until a coarse paste. Add the vinegar, agave nectar and grind a few more times until well incorporated.
This can be done on a small food processor pulsing 3-4 times, add the vinegar and pulse 2 more times until you have a coarse paste. Reserve paste set aside.

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6. In the same cast iron pan, utilizing the garlic-Guajillo infused oil left in the pan, bring the pan to a medium high heat. Season the pork chops both sides and around the edges with sea salt and pepper. Sear the chops for about 2-3 minutes per side and sear the chops all around standing them on their sides. This will render some of the pork fat and also will give a nice crust to the chops.
7. Once all sides are seared, bring down the heat to medium low and carefully tilt the pan, add the Guajillo adobo paste, into that oil. Be careful this might splash. Place pan flat and start basting the chops with this paste-oil for a couple of minutes. Top pork chops with a couple of spoonfuls of the guajillo adobo, add about ½ tablespoon butter on top of each pork chop.

Place the pan into the preheated oven at 425 for about 6-8 minutes.
Insert a meat thermometer, they should read between:
140-145F for medium rare.
Remove pan from oven and rest them in the pan for 3 minutes, transfer to a board or warm platter and rest them for 2 minutes.
155-160F for well done.
Remove pan from oven and let them rest in the pan for 3-5 minutes for well done. Transfer to a plater and serve.

Notes:

I always remove my pork chops from the heat about 5 degrees before they reach the highest temperature, the reminder heat will carry on and will keep cooking the chops, while you baste them, with out over cooking them. New guidelines in cooking temperature from the USDA have allow our sweet pork not being overcooked, living us with a tender, juicer pork.
Check this link for more information:
www.pork.org/new-usda-guidelines-lower-pork-cooking-temperature/

*If you are in Austin, visit Salt & Time for amazing porterhouse pork chops, or Smith and Smith Farms ask for Colby at the Texas Farmers Markets on Sundays at Mueller and Domain location

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Music Pairing: Cantaloupe Island- Herbie Hancock

 

 

5 from 1 vote
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Guajillo Pork Chops

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The great delicate fruity middle spice guajillo and garlic adobo over these porter house pork chops is to die for. Serve them with mashed sweet potatoes, and a generous green salad with a generous squeeze of lemon or lime, salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 2" Porterhouse Pork Chops, about 1 lb each.
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to season the chops
  • 1 tablespoon butter

For the brine:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 piece bay leaf

For the Guajillo Adobo:

  • 4 dry Guajilllo peppers
  • 8 cloves garlic, fresh
  • 1/4 teaspoon comino seeds
  • 1 teaspoons sea salt
  • Fresh crushed black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Apple cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar

Instructions

  1. 1. In a glass bowl, dissolve sugar and salt into the warm water. Add ice, let it melt, add bay leaf. Add pork chops cover with plastic wrap or a lid, let them rest over night or at least 2-4 hours.

    2. Take the pork chops out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking them. To become room temperature, this will ensure even cooking and tender, juicy chops. Remove pork chops from brine and pat dry really well. Set aside.

    3. In a cast iron pan, slightly toast the Guajillo peppers until pliable and they change color. Remove from heat, let them cool a bit. Using kitchen scissors remove the chile tails and shake them to remove all seeds. Cut the chiles into thin rings.

    4. Heat up a cast iron pan, make sure your chops fit loosely on the pan you will use. Add oil and warm up, add garlic, comino seeds, and the thinly cut guajillo. Saute for 2 -3 minutes until Guajillos are deep red and garlic is light golden brown. Remove pan from heat.

    5. With a slotted spoon transfer the sauteed guajillos, garlic and cominos to a molcajete or stone mortar. Add sea salt and grind by hand until a coarse paste. Add the vinegar, agave nectar and grind a few more times until well incorporated.

    This can be done on a small food processor pulsing 3-4 times, add the vinegar and pulse 2 more times until you have a coarse paste. Reserve paste set aside.

    6. In the same cast iron pan, utilizing the garlic-Guajillo infused oil left in the pan, bring the pan to a medium high heat. Season the pork chops both sides and around the edges with sea salt and pepper. Sear the chops for about 2-3 minutes per side and sear the chops all around standing them on their sides. This will render some of the pork fat and also will give a nice crust to the chops.

    7. Once all sides are seared, bring down the heat to medium low and carefully tilt the pan, add the Guajillo adobo paste, into that oil. Be careful this might splash. Place pan flat and start basting the chops with this paste-oil for a couple of minutes. Top pork chops with a couple of spoonfuls of the guajillo adobo, add about ½ tablespoon butter on top of each pork chop.

    Place the pan into the preheated oven at 425 for about 6-8 minutes.

    Insert a meat thermometer, they should read between:

    140-145F for medium rare.

    Remove pan from oven and rest them in the pan for 3 minutes, transfer to a board or warm platter and rest them for 2 minutes.

    155-160F for well done.

    Remove pan from oven and let them rest in the pan for 3-5 minutes for well done. Transfer to a plater and serve.

Recipe Notes

Notes:

I always remove my pork chops from the heat about 5 degrees before they reach the highest temperature, the reminder heat will carry on and will keep cooking the chops, while you baste them, with out over cooking them. New guidelines in cooking temperature from the USDA have allow our sweet pork not being overcooked, living us with a tender, juicer pork.
Check this link for more information:
www.pork.org/new-usda-guidelines-lower-pork-cooking-temperature/

*If you are in Austin, visit Salt & Time for amazing porterhouse pork chops, or Smith and Smith Farms ask for Colby at the Texas Farmers Markets on Sundays at Mueller and Domain location

Happy Cooking!

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Salsa Mucha Muchacha AKA Salsa Macha

Salsa-Mucha-Muchacha-a.k.a-Salsa-Macha_Yes,-more-please!

This is one of my salsa obsessions. In the chile kingdom and its spice scale, this Mucha muchacha salsa has the best flavor and intensity in my opinion. Chiles are one of my dearest ingredients because by preparing them in different ways they transform and have multiple flavors and textures to offer far beyond simply spicy and hot. The level of spiciness can be tamed by the cook and by combining different chiles one can create new flavors. From smoking, toasting, roasting, frying, charring, grilling, steaming, boiling, its an endless combination that ends with a delicious result and the best accent for a meal.

Like this salsa.

This salsa will make your heart sing, and speak in tongues.

This recipe has a back story from my single years. I had a neighbor who became one of my best friends, Ultiminio. Yes, that was his name; he was such a great friend and had a great charisma. We lived in a four level small building. Bottom floor for a small retail area top tree levels for three little apartments. I lived at apartment No.3 and Ultiminio lived on the first level. On the weekends we used to scream at each other from our little balconies: ~Vecina!, Vecino!Whats for breakfast?…
We knew Sundays were for refrigerator inventory. So in less time than you imagine, we were gathering ingredients to make breakfast happen. Usually I had beans and he had one egg and I had another egg, a piece of cheese, a lost potato, tostadas or tortillas… and Coffee always was in both pantries. You get the picture, but this salsa, THIS SALSA always brought everything together. Ultiminio taught me how to make this salsa with chiles Moritas from his hometown Chiapas. It was absolutely fantastic and we would eat endless pots of beans and totopos, eggs, orange wedges, cucumbers, jicama, soups, you name it, this salsa was the excuse to prepare anything and everything. I remember dearly those days because no matter what we had we always ended up with a delicious breakfast and this salsa was always on the menu.

Later on, I adapted the recipe using my favorite chile, Chile de arbol and a hint of Morita. I always remember making this salsa and my tastebuds salivate every time, its my ultimate craving.

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The flavor on this salsa its like no other, is intense chili, smoky and nutty. The spicy notes from the arbol bring depth and a settle spiciness, then just when you think your mouth its gonna be on fire, the chile Moritas hit you with their bright, sweet spicy almost like cherry flavor and all starts to mellows down, following by the hint of sharp garlic, salt and nutty notes from the oils. It is Like a roller coaster. Afterwards, a tamed pleasant spice lingers on your tongue and warms up your tastebuds leaving you wanting more.

Please do not be alarmed when you read the ingredients on the recipe, I know 64-68 chiles can be excessive, but this is exactly the type of salsa preparation that shows the versatility of chiles and the multiple spectrum of flavor versus heat, that chiles can offer. Bare with me and follow along, you are a few steps from salsa heaven.

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Salsa Mucha Muchacha AKA Salsa Macha

Makes 8-10 oz Jar

50gr. About 64-68 dry chiles de arbol, between 3.5” to 4” long approx.
3-4 chiles moritas about 2” 3″ in size
1 cup sunflower, or corn oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons roasted salted peanuts
2 large garlic cloves (I used Ajo Criollo, its mild and very aromatic)
1 – ½ teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. Remove all the steams of the chiles. In a medium size pot place oil and warm up over medium heat. Place all the Arbol chiles and carefully toss constantly until all chiles look dark mahogany red but not burt. If you see some of the chiles getting darker faster than others, remove promptly and keep frying the rest.

Mucha-Muchacha_Salsa-Macha-Fried-Chiles-de-Arbol
2. Remove pot from heat and take out all the fried chiles to cool down a bit.
3. Return the oil pot into the stove and add the 3 Morita chiles watch carefully, because this Moritas tend to inflate like balloons. Once they are dark red, almost black, remove chiles from the oil and let them cool off.

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4. Place the pot with the oil on a safe place to cool off for about 3 minutes. Then add the toasted peanuts and sesame seeds, into the oil and toss. Wait for another 3-5 minutes until the oil is at a luke warm temperature.

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5. Place the fried Chiles the arbol, The chiles Moritas, garlic cloves, salt and carefully poor all the oil with the sesame seeds and peanuts on the glass of a blender a small food processor or for best results use an immersion blender, and Puree everything until a lose paste.

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6. The salsa should look smooth enough but have some texture left from the seeds. Keep salsa on a air tight glass jar on the refrigerator. The chiles and oil tend to separate, just shake or mix well with a spoon before using. This salsa will last about 2-3 weeks if you are lucky. This salsa gets better and better every day. Enjoy!

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A few suggestions on how to use Salsa Mucha Muchacha,

Its very versatile. It can bring to life any fried egg, avocado toast, creamy soup, or broth. It is specially good on black beans, quesadillas, tacos, aguachile, seafood and it is amazing on this Mariana’s Mexican Sashimi. It is also great on any stew, steak or roasted meat. Also as condiment fora roasted chicken, or use it as rub or marinade with a couple of tablespoons of vinegar.

Lately, one of my favorite ways to use it its when sautéing  greens, like Kale, Chard, Spinach, Purslane, Dandelions, even broccoli!.

Here is how it goes: Quick saute some kale, chard, or spinach in a little bit of olive oil add some onion slices, toss week until edges of the onions start getting cooked. Then add the greens, add one or two teaspoons of this salsa toss quickly until bright green and right before turning the pan off add a little splash-arooh of apple cider vinegar or a squeeze of lemon , toss briefly and serve over brown rice, quinoa, farro, beans, serve with slices of avocado add a dollop of greek style yogurt. Put an egg on it and there you have it, an unforgettable quick lunch that will make you crave your greens. Enjoy!

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Music pairing: Esquivel – Mucha Muchacha

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Red Charred Salsa

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It seems like magic to me how with just a few ingredients you can achieve a whole lot of attitude, an incredible amount of deep of flavor, and spice. I’ve seen lots of recipes calling for way more trouble and ingredients than this one and they do not end up tasting half as good. This recipe has only four ingredients.

What makes this salsa dance?…It’s all about the cooking method. Slow charred tomatoes, toasted dry chiles and a lot of arm work make this salsa like no other you’ve ever had.

If you have the time to disconnect for a bit and make this recipe the old fashioned way, you will find the salsa bright center of the universe. What is the difference between blenders, food processors and immersion blenders versus mortars or pestles? Well its in the name. All a blender does well is as its name describes; it blends, which leaves more whole seeds in the salsa than you might wish for. Now, let’s talk about mortars-molcajetes. For me, there is a tremendous amount of nostalgia in using a mortar/molcajete because the act of using a stone vessel is a whole different experience in the kitchen. It relaxes me and makes me conscience of the transformation of the ingredients and therefore I savor the whole process. Besides the romantic aspect, the difference I see between blenders and Mortars is that mortars pulverize the seeds, as you smash them against the stone adding extra flavor to the salsa. The stone adds flavor to the sauce and you are able to enjoy the earthy aromas when smashing the garlic and the sea salt, the toasted chiles, the smell of the fruity tomatoes as the consistency of the salsa changes. I would recommend you try to make the salsa this way for the simple pleasure of it.

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I know nowadays we all are creatures of convenience; if you are not as romantic as me about the whole traditional process~ Hey! Food processor or immersion blender are my weapons of choice. They get the job done in a fraction of a second and get you ready to enjoy the salsa in less that 5 pulses. Best of all is that with this recipe you can still achieve a great deal of flavor by using them.

Flavor wise this salsa has a smokey background and medium moderate spiciness. Please don’t be scared about the amount of chiles. Dry chiles when toasted, become smokey and very pleasantly pungent. Combining these kinds of chiles balances the act. Chile de arbol brings the spicy note and chile cascabel adds deep, color and character. The charred tomatoes and the garlic make this salsa extra savory. Fresh onion and chopped cilantro add a bit of fresh texture that makes the salsa irresistible to eat with chips.

Despite your method of choice, I assure you this red charred salsa will make you dance. It is a staple at our house I make a batch every other week. It keeps really well in the refrigerator for up to ten days.
It is quite a versatile salsa. I use it to top ranchero eggs, breakfast tacos, pork loin, carne asada, beans, bean soup, shrimp, whole fish (like red snapper), and if you add more tomatoes it is a great salsa to use in chilaquiles rojos. And of course its great with chips and salsa a good pilsner beer for spicy little snack. Enjoy!

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Red Charred Salsa

Makes 4 cups

3 medium large tomatoes about 4”round is what I used.
(like Better boy, Big Beef, Bush big boy. Any juicy, meaty tomato with high acidity content work best)
8-10 dry chiles de arbol
3-4 dry chile cascabel
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1-1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
water

Garnish with:

½ medium size red onion and small bunch of cilantro, finelly choped

Preparation

1. In a cast iron pan or “comal” toast the chiles at medium heat, turning them constantly using a wood paddle. Once they look evenly toasted and showing an intense dark red remove the pan from fire and let them cool a bit until easy to handle. Remove chile stems.

2. Using the same cast iron pan, place tomatoes upside down, set the heat over medium, cover them with a lid to apply some pressure on them so heat will cook them more evenly. Turn them upside up and keep rotating them until well blistered, charred skins and they look cook through. About 8-10 minutes.
Once the tomatoes are charred and cooked set them aside until easy enough to handle. Remove skin, and with a paring knife remove the core of the tomatoes.

3. If making salsa in the food processor or blender:
Place tomatoes, garlic, sea salt, and toasted chiles in blender or food processor and pulse until coarsley or smooth blend. Add a little water if needed. Taste and adjust for salt if needed.

4. If making salsa in the molcajete or mortar:
Place garlic cloves and sea salt in the mortar, smash until pureed. Add toasted chiles 2 at the time and smash until a coarse paste, make sure you smash almost all the chile seeds. If you need more traction add a pinch of sea salt. Once you have a paste, add one tomato at the time into the mortar and smash until well combined. Repeat until you add all 3 tomatoes. Taste and adjust for salt and salsa consistency. This is entirely up to you. Add a bit of water at a time, until you feel is the right consistency for you.

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Red Charred Salsa

Top with fine diced onion and cilantro, serve at room temperature,

along with chips and a nice cold beer. Eat with abandon!

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