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Hatch Piña Colada

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The kitschy Sassy, forgotten drink “the Piña Colada” what happened to it?

I think it was forgotten after the caloric curfew of the 90’s… I do not know why people stopped drinking this creamy refreshing and delicious pineapple concoction? Was it the calories or the bad infamous song?…

These days everything about coconut its “chic and healthy”. Coconut oil, coconut flakes, coconut sugar, coconut cream, coconut beauty products, everything coconut can make you more shiny, fragrant, moisturized, and not to mention, those coconut based bronzers can give you a hell of a good tan!. The only forgotten situation related to coconut it’s on the music department; that, has not shown improvements at all. Well, who would attempt right? hehehe!

With this in mind, why not bring a healthier, kitschier, “Sassier” Piña Colada back?

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Hatch Carnitas Home Made Style

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Hatch it all! The favorite New Mexico Chiles are back in season, and here in Austin hatch season is in full swing.

Hatch everything, I mean everything. Even the things you don’t want to Hatch they will be Hatched.

This green spicy capsicum grown in the Hatch Valley along The Rio Grande, New Mexico is irresistible. The fruity and one-note spicy chile get’s you every time. It is the kind of heat that builds up little by little and suddenly you just feel like screaming FUEGO!

This sneaky and delicious chile is the August town fever here in Austin, Texas.

With this contagious spicy Hatch fever, I thought about a new spin on a classic dish from Michoacan, “Carnitas”, Hatch Carnitas is my recipe.

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Me being from Jalisco, the neighbor Michoacan state, the “carnitas” are prepared slightly different than original authentic Michoacanas. Why? Well isn’t it always like that? Different versions upon ingredients and regional. You see the authentic Carnitas are made in a huge copper pot, and if this pot comes from the coppersmithing town Santa Clara del Cobre even better! The whole pig is broken down into pieces and fry in its own fat within this large single pot. And if the pig comes from La Piedad Cabadas where the best pork is raised in Mexico, even better. Typically they are cooked outside on a wood fire, where the copper pot its triveted and set with pork lard and a huge wood paddle is used to stir the bubbling unctuous meat. Sounds like fun right?…Well not so much, when you live in the city. Honestly, you have to leave this huge production to the experts of Quiroga, Michoacan was the Carnitas were borne. If you have the chance to travel try them. They are a manjar of gods and the real deal.

Slowly but surely this Carnitas recipe traveled to the neighbor states and people adjusted the recipe to a smaller scale, fitted to a more homestyle recipe. The Copper pot gives the authentic color and flavor to the carnitas. With this in mind these recipes have been adjusted by adding different ingredients like orange juice, condensed milk, herbs and spices that mimic a little the authentic flavors. All these alternate recipes are great, in their own style.

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What I attempted with this recipe is to recreate the “Carnitas” texture and succulent juiciness without using too much fat. I used a neutral oil instead of lard. Grapeseed oil lets the flavor of the sweet pork meat shine. I used pork shoulder that I trimmed a bit to leave a leaner cut of meat, without compromising the flavor, after all, you have to remember the Carnitas origin and live some flavor. I also adapted the recipe to the flavors of the Hatch peppers. I used fired roasted hatch peppers that added a medium spicy fruity flavor, that gave the meat a great color and a sticky crusty spicy coat in combination with the sweetness from the pineapple juice. These two ingredients balanced the sweet and acidity flavor that in combination with the pork fat its the bomb. Milk and herbs as supporting cast of flavor and tenderness while it braises.

I don’t own a copper pot, but my beloved enamel cast iron red pot it’s my best accomplice. I know you are wondering why not use the slow cooker? Well, I like to be able to control the heat at any time. When you Braise on the stove like this carnitas, I cook them with a lid on for an hour and a half and then uncovered at a bit faster pace for 45 minutes or so, to obtain the best results; crusty glazed exterior and succulent moist inside. I have used the slow cooker in other attempts and the results taste more like pulled pork to me. I’m also including a Simple quick pickled vegetable that is KEY to serve along the Carnitas. This element brings them alive, an acid-spicy-sweet -crunchy and fresh component that just round up every bite. Make them its so easy and it’s a must, I could not imagine Carnitas without this pickled vegetable concoction its a classic… Slowly but surely these braised Hatch Carnitas will drive you to the moon and back, It is a great version to make at home.
Enjoy the Hatch fever!

If you want to know more about this Capsicum New Mexican Hybrid please click  here or here

For the Hatch Carnitas Recipe, you will need…

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Pulled Pork Tacos & Hatch-banero Mango Slaw

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I consider myself a part-time vegetarian but every now and then my carnivorous side knocks at my door. In this case I was craving for a good fresh pork taco. This is an lengthy description right?    Good – fresh – pork – taco? Let me explain myself. “Good”: high quality meat well prepared and well seasoned. “Fresh” : I make it from scratch no short cuts. I want something that is really gonna satisfy my craving. I could go to buy a taco but its better when you make them. Its easy to follow these few steps and….. Done! The formula is ready so you can have the best tacos in town, because you made them!
Being from Mexico, its been hard for me to find good tacos in town (how come something so simple can get so screwed up at the restaurants?). I think the best ones I had here in Austin were prepared in my kitchen. Why? Not because I’m a taco genius, its do to a simple easy equation: handmade tortilla + quality meat cook properly + fresh salsa = the best taco. Want to make fresh corn tortillas?… check our step by step tutorial click here.

In this case, this is more like an adaptation taco recipe, I used the pork shoulder, or pork butt, because its a good substantial cut of meat. It has a balanced percentage of fat and meat and is great for braising. Yes I wish I could have a copper pot with a huge wooden spoon and cook the pork in hot lard (like carnitas style) and also a huge powerful vent in my tiny kitchen for the smell to go away!. Yes, I love tacos but the smelly vapors in my house? Not so much. Therefore I’m using my handy dandy slow cooker. I place a little table outside in my patio and leave it there for about 3-6 hours, depending on how many lbs. of meat I’m cooking. The result is the neighbors want my fork tender juicy meat. (See pictures below). Its such a great method because it allows you to go to work come back with dinner ready! If you are planning a dinner party its also a really easy one pot wonder, everybody happily assembles their tacos.

In this case I wanted to make some sweet and sour cole slaw instead of the traditional cilantro and onions or pickled red onions. I added some mango for sweetness and spicy hatch chilies.For the salsa I used creamy avocado and green tomatillos to balance the acidity from the spicy mango slaw (as I’m writing my mouth is watering). These are good fresh pork tacos to me, for now let the pictures do the talking…
This is three recipes in one all fairly easy considering the pork cooks by itself, a Taco Feast that will satisfy any crowd… Enjoy!

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Pulled Pork Tacos & Hatch-banero Mango Slaw

Serves 6-8 mexicans, 8-12 americans, 12-16 french.

Ingredients:

3-5 lbs pork shoulder or pork butt roast
1 orange ½ juiced the other half cut in thick slices
4-6 garlic cloves
½ medium size onion cut into thick rings
2 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of whole black pepper corns
6 whole cloves
2 tablespoons of dry chile powder
1 tablespoon dry mexican oregano
2 tablespoons of sea salt
2 red habanero peppers
3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup water

Preparation:

On the bottom of the slow cooker sprinkle some salt , half of the pepper corns, half cloves, 2-3 crushed garlic cloves add vinegar and water. Remove some of the excess fat then place the pork roast in the slow cooker. Sprinkle all the rest of the aromatic ingredients on top, add onion rings, orange slices, chili powder, brown sugar, red habanero peppers, garlic cloves. Cover with a lid and follow the instructions for your slow cooker. I cooked this amount of meat in 4 hours (the 3 first hours in high, the last hour on low). Cook until the center of your meat reaches 145F / 62C measured with a meat thermometer. Once your meat is ready turn off the slow cooker and let it rest for about 30-45 min.
Remove all the topping spices and pieces of orange, onion and bay leaf. Transfer the meat into a bowl, and then proceed to fish out all the peppercorns and cloves once you remove all the aromatics, Remove some of the extra fat, but not too much (Leave some for flavor). Place the meat back into the juices and with the help of 2 forks start shredding the meat. It will be easy since the meat has been cooking for so long. Leave it in the pot to keep it warm.

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On the bottom of the slow cooker sprinkle some salt , half of the pepper corns, half cloves, 2-3 crushed garlic cloves add vinegar and water. Remove some of the excess fat then place the pork roast in the slow cooker. Sprinkle all the rest of the aromatic ingredients on top, add onion rings, orange slices, chili powder, brown sugar, red habanero peppers, garlic cloves. Cover with a lid and follow the instructions for your slow cooker. I cooked this amount of meat in 4 hours (the 3 first hours in high, the last hour on low). Cook until the center of your meat reaches 145F / 62C measured with a meat thermometer. Once your meat is ready turn off the slow cooker and let it rest for about 30-45 min.
Remove all the topping spices and pieces of orange, onion and bay leaf. Transfer the meat into a bowl, and then proceed to fish out all the peppercorns and cloves once you remove all the aromatics, Remove some of the extra fat, but not too much (Leave some for flavor). Place the meat back into the juices and with the help of 2 forks start shredding the meat. It will be easy since the meat has been cooking for so long. Leave it in the pot to keep it warm.

Spicy Hatch & Habanero Mango Cole Slaw

Serves 6-8
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Ingredients:

2 cups or ½ small size red cabbage
4 cups or ½ medium size green cabbage
1.5-2 cups 1 big mango 2 medium size peeled and medium diced
3 green onions finely chopped
½ red onion finely chopped
¼ cup cilantro finely chopped
1 Hatch pepper seeded and finely chopped* ( you can replace the hatch for fresh jalapeños )
1 red habbanero pepper seeded and finely chopped*
*Rub a little canola oil in your hands specially your finger tips before start cutting the peppers, this will help avoid burning your hands.

Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup of canola Oil
½ cup of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon of dry oregano
½ teaspoon of celery salt
½ lime juice
½ lemon juice

Preparation:

In a large bowl whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients. Add the 2 types of cabbage and the rest of the chopped ingredients. Mix well set a side let it get happy for about 20-30 minutes.

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Green Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa

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Ingredients:

6-8 Small fresh green tomatillos
2 hatch peppers roasted skinned and seeded
1 ripe Hass avocado
3-4 cilantro sprigs
juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup of water
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

In a stand blender or using a hand blender, puree all ingredients until smooth and creamy consistency. Adjust for salt and pepper.

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How does all this work together?…

Place everything on the table like a buffet style, warm up your tortillas, keep the shredded pork warm on the slow cooker, cut some extra limes, some Cholula red sauce, or any of your preference. Layout the coleslaw, the green avocado salsa and let everybody assemble their own tacos. Open a cold bottle of amber beer like Victoria (this beer is from Mexico but now available in Austin!!!) squeeze a lime juice and Salud!…Share with friends!

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Enjoy!

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