Once a week we go to our favorite Mexican restaurant and have chips and salsa (of course) and a couple of little dishes usually tacos de adobada and chalupas. It’s always tasty and comfortable but lately we have not been feeling so great after we eat. I don’t know if we’re eating too many chips or if they use a lot of processed food or what. I figured I could cook the same food at home and then we would know what was in it.
Since Cinco de Mayo was this weekend I decided to try a few things. I’ve done the standard Mexican dishes of tacos and burritos and nachos and stuff and everything but I wanted to know what authentic Mexican cooking is like. So I looked up what spices go into Mexican cooking. I want to understand this food so I won’t necessarily need a recipe to make a normal Mexican dish. I have a Rick Bayless cook book that I’m using for inspiration to try to get the basics down. I just want to be able to say, “yes, I can cook Mexican and know in my heart that I could walk into a kitchen and cook something Mexican.
I’m still in the beginning stages of this but I know this journey will be well worth it.
I figured the best place to start would be with the spices and flavorings that make the tastes we can pinpoint as Mexican. It’s not quite as simple as that though because it is also what you put the flavorings on that will determine if it is really Mexican cooking or you just know how to put hot chiles and cumin on a turkey.
I like to just jump on in and start cooking and learn as I go, so…
First up is Pork Tingas. A simple dish so I thought I’d start there. You slow-simmer the pork with potatoes in a tomato-chipotle sauce. It’s very easy but you need a slow-cooker. We brought home a pork shoulder from the store. I trimmed it up as best I could then cut it into cubes . The sauce was easy to make. You line the slow-cooker with some cut up yukon golds, put the pork on top of that and top it with the sauce then cook it on high for 6 hours. The hard part was having to smell it all day without being able to eat it. Here’s the recipe
What You’ll Need:
1 pound red or Yukon gold potatoes – cut in 1-inch pieces
2 pounds pork shoulder
1 28-oz can tomatoes
4 canned chipotle peppers
1 TB of the adobo sauce from the can
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. oregano (preferably Mexican)
3 garlic cloves – chopped
1 onion – sliced
Salt to taste (about a teaspoon)
Queso Fresco or just cheese
Avocados slices up
What You Do:
1. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together
2. Line the slow cooker with the potatoes
3. Put the pork on top
4. Put the sauce on top of the pork
5. Cook on high for 6 hours
When it is ready, scoop it into the tacos, top with cheese and avocados.
This really felt like a Mexican dish you would get in a real Mexican restaurant. The meat fell apart, the potatoes were firm and soaked with the tomato sauce and the sauce was spicy and fragrant. Try this dish and you won’t be disappointed.