Pork Tinga Experiment

That is, a spicy pork filling for things like tacos.

Also, the second experiment in the little crockpot.

Ingredients:

  • Small pork roast, 1.7 lbs with bone in my case, trimmed of excess fat and divided into natural pieces
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 roma tomato, minced
  • 1 ancho chile, cut up
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp powdered guajilo chile
  • ½ tsp chile arbol
  • ½ tsp cayenne (ran out of chile arbol)

Preparation:

Put the onion, tomato, and seasonings into a small crockpot.  Put the meat on top.

Add beef broth slowly (it takes a while to work its way down through the layers) until nearly covered (remember, crockpot should be less than ¾ full).

Cover and cook on high for 5 hours.

Take out the bone, picking off and returning any edible bits.  Mash the remaining meat with a potato masher (it should be cooked enough for this to work).

Notes:

I served this in soft corn tortillas.  Adding crystal hot sauce made it considerably better, it was not sufficiently seasoned initially. There’s too much liquid to use directly, dish it up with a slotted spoon or have very soupy tacos.

We got 4 servings out of this, each of which filled three tacos decently. Adding some garnishes, chopped onion and sour cream for example, would probably help.

The original recipe called for tomato sauce rather than actual tomato, and had no cumin in it (shock, horror!). And had numerous other differences (and was for a much bigger batch).

I’d want to increase the chiles, the cumin, and the herbs.  And add something, beer or wine or vinegar, to move the flavor that direction a bit.

 

Mexican Spicy Pork

The pork variant of the taco filling recipe from a bit ago.

Ingredients:

  • 3T or so olive oil
  • 4 yellow onions, minced
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 pounds pork (maybe somewhat less after boning and trimming)
  • 1t fresh-ground black pepper
  • 3T flour
  • 1T paprika
  • 2T cumin seeds (or so)
  • 1T ground ancho pepper
  • 1T ground guajillo pepper
  • 1/2cup accidental zinfandel vinegar (well, past-drinking zinfandel)
  • 3T oregano
  • 2 cups water
  • small corn tortillas
  • 1tsp salt
  • 3T olive oil

Directions:

Cut pork into small cubes (say 3/4″).  Mix the pepper and flour, and dredge the pork in this.

Heat 3T oil in a good skillet, and brown the pork in it.

Meanwhile, heat 3T oil in a pot big enough for the whole mess, and sauté the onions, garlic, and seasonings in this.

Add the pork when it’s done, and the wine, and about half the water (to cover).  Bring to a boil, and turn down to simmer.

Cook about an hour, adjusting water as seems fitting.

Notes

Flavor is still a little dark, and texture is a little pasty.  Maybe leave out the flour entirely?  Or at least use less, and add it as a thickener later?

This one didn’t have any salsa; didn’t seem to help or hurt.

Maybe some lime juice?

Water level and texture was better this time. Note that I used proportionally less water, not just absolutely less.

 

Mexican Spicy Chicken

Taco filling; no doubt also useful as a burrito filling or even added to a quesadilla, but not tested beyond tacos yet.  This is an attempt to report what I actually did, rather than the recipe I started from :-).  See notes at the end for thoughts towards the future.

Ingredients:

  • 2T olive oil
  • 4 yellow onions, minced
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 pounds chicken in half inch cubes (I mixed breast and thigh)
  • 2T old hot Hungarian paprika (too much)
  • 1t fresh black pepper
  • 1T generic paprika
  • 2T cumin seeds
  • 1 dried  Ancho chile snipped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup Mrs. Renfrew’s medium salsa
  • 1/2 cup overage Zinfandel
  • 4T oregano
  • Couple of good pinches of salt
  • 4 cups chicken stock (bouillon)
  • 2T white flour mixed in 4T water
  • 3T olive oil
  • small corn tortillas

Directions:

Sauté garlic and onions in 2T olive oil until lightly browned.

Cook chicken cubes in 3T olive oil.  When half done add all the dry seasonings.  Keep well stirred.

Bring stock to a boil.  Add cooked onions and garlic, and cooked chicken and spices.  Cook for half an hour at least.

At around the last 5 minutes, stir in the flour and water to thicken.

Heat pairs of tortillas on a lightly oiled grill until they are soft and perhaps starting to brown in spots.  Fill each pair of tortillas with a big spoon of chicken filling.

Notes

Kind of aiming towards the kind of spicy chicken filling you get at places like Pinedas Tacos.  That includes cubed rather than shredded chicken.

This was, if anything, a little too spicy. I’d skip the Hungarian paprika next time, and substitute a dark-flavored Mexican pepper, ground.  Also, more cumin.  And possibly still more salt (I started out conservative since I used stock, which tends to be very salty).

Also a bit too liquid.  I’d like to get it down to a less liquid consistency without the thickening.  Maybe less water, more cooking.  The original recipe dredged the chicken in flour to start, and probably got some thickening out of that.

Basically fairly close to goal, though.  I’d work towards using some standard tomato product plus more seasoning rather than the salsa, to make it more reproducible and less dependent on processed ingredients.

Might be worth trying the same basic recipe with pork cubes.

Chicken Tacos, Take 2

Did a second try at the chicken tinga tacos I originally tried in February, making the change I most wanted (ditching the canned chipotle in adobo sauce) and getting pretty good results.

I boiled half or so an onion, two cloves of garlic, and 20oz of boneless chicken breast with 3 chopped chipotle peppers (these were actually labeled “Morita”; in any case, smoked red jalapeño), for a bit over an hour.  Just enough water to cover by the end (I didn’t have to top it up).  Drain, reserving liquid.  Don’t bother trying to separate the chiken from the rest if you started from boneless like this.  Some rough stirring towards the end will break up the bits nicely, too.  Still, full breasts or a full chicken would probably be better, I will try that when I’m ready for a big batch.

Then I sautéd another onion and a bit and 3 cloves of garlic in some olive oil, and added 1/2tsp ground coriander and 1/2tsp whole cumin seed.  When this was well started, I added a small can of tomato sauce.  This was probably too much, or the wrong thing; 1/2 cup of minced tomato would probably have been better, or sauce rather than paste, or less.  Too much sweetness came through to the end, and I think it was from the paste.

When the tomato paste was well mixed in I added the meat and mixed it around a lot.  I started adding the reserved liquid back fairly early, to get the texture “right”.   In the end I used about 3/4 of the reserved liquid.

Serve in small white corn tortillas, with minced onion.  (And coriander leaf if you like that, which I don’t all that much, and didn’t have any on hand.)

The result was good.  I’d have liked more spice and a bit more front-of-mouth spice, probably some cayenne in with the spices would have been good.  And probably a 4th chipotle into the boiling stage.  The smokiness came through decently, and another chipotle plus the cayenne should give about the right heat.  Definitely less tomato paste, or some other form of tomato.

Two dinners plus 4 units of leftovers again.

I think after one more decent batch, I’ll be ready to do a *big* batch and have *lots* of leftovers.