Mexican Spicy Pork

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


  • 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


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.


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.


  • 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


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.


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.

Found the Lentil Cassoulet Recipe

That is, I found a computer file with an older version, that contained the details I remembered before but didn’t recreate.

This recipe comes originally from a Julia Child TV show. My mother developed it based on one viewing of the show, and passed it on to me. If anybody finds the original of this, you will probably have a marvelous example of the “folk process” at work.

Serves 4 or more.


1 C lentils
3 C water
4 Carrots Slice fairly thin
3 stalks Celery Slice fairly thin
3 Onions Chop coarsely
4 Leeks Slice fairly thin
2 T flour
1/2 C red wine
1/2 LB sausage Bratwurst or better (hot Italian, maybe)
Shallots Chopped fine

Ingredients: Boil lentils, covered in the water for 25 minutes; salt to
taste. Drain, reserving the liquid. Spread lentils into buttered 8×13 baking dish.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Saute chopped carrots, celery, onions, and leeks in oil. When cooked, add flour, wine, and enough lentil liquid to cover (there often isn’t enough, add some extra water if necessary). Cook until thickened, then pour over lentils in baking dish.

Place sausage on top. Sprinkle with chopped shallots, thyme, and breadcrumbs.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Also, Bread

I’ve never actually made bread before (I’ve made pie crust, and baked a couple of cakes, but not much baking in general). So I decided I wanted italian bread tonight.

To me, that means a white bread, somewhat freeform loaves (but tending more towards oval than circular). A tight, somewhat chewy crumb. And fairly heavy crust, though thinner and less crunchy than “French bread”.

I started from this basic recipe.

On first making it, I ended up using about 2 ¾ cups of flour. I may have left the dough slightly too moist, but not disastrously. I had to scrape it down off the sides of the bowl and off the dough hook of the mixer a couple of times, which Pamela says is normal. I didn’t feel it had risen enough in half an hour, so I gave it another half hour, and then punched it down. Rising was in the lower oven on the “proof” setting, I didn’t measure the actual temperature, but it felt reasonable.

I didn’t do anything to emphasize the crust, no basting, no pizza stone, no water pan in the oven.


1 envelope (¼ oz.) active dry yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 cup warm water (100° – 110°)

2 to 3 cups bread flour (I used unbleached general purpose)

2 TBS olive oil

1 tsp salt


Combine yeast, sugar, 1 cup warm water in mixer bowl. Let stand 5 minutes (and check for yeast activity).

Add 2 cups flour, oil and salt to bowl. Beat on low (I used the lowest speed on our KitchenAid) with dough hook for 1 minute.

Gradually add up to 1 cup additional flour until dough leaves sides of bowl and polls together (dough goes through a “shaggy” stage in here). With our mixer we have to push flour into the dough hook some. Add flour until the dough is the “right” consistency, which is soft and smooth, not wet, sticky, or overly dry with a rough surface.

Increase speed to medium and beat 5 minutes (I used the second-lowest speed).

Get dough off hook and make a ball in the bottom of the bowl. Cover this closely with plastic and let rise 30 minutes in a draft-free place at about 85° (I used the bottom oven on the “proof” setting). Let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk (I ended up giving it an hour), then punch down.

Start oven preheating to 400°.
Punch down and let stand 10 minutes (I put it back in the oven under plastic).

Take dough from bowl (it may have been a bit too moist, it tried to stick just a bit) and place on lightly floured surface. Form into loaf, about 12 inches long.

Place dough on lightly greased cookie sheet

Make 3 ¼” deep scores across the top with sharp knife to let the steam out (mine had kind of crude slashes, the dough tended to stick to the knife; and steam blew out one side of the loaf).

Bake at 400° for 16 minutes or until golden brown. Should make a nice hollow sound when rapped on the bottom. (I ended up at about 20 minutes).

Cool on wire rack.

Slice and eat!


I liked the way the bread texture came out. The crust is too thin; it even looks wrong from outside. Taste is tolerable (at least when fresh). This kind of tastes like what I think of as good bread machine results, i.e. mediocre, but fresh bread is always good.

Next time I want to try something to increase the crust, maybe painting it with water.

Mediocre Texas Chili

I’m starting the process of working up what I think of as a “Texas” chili recipe — beef, no beans, no tomato so far.

1.5 lb chili-cut (or very coarse grind) beef
1 medium onion, chopped medium
3 T vegetable oil
3 T minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 T ground ancho chile
1 T ground guajillo chile
2 t ground arbol chile
2 t ground cumin seed
3 T oregano leaf
1/2 t ground black pepper
2 cups beef stock, bouillon, or just water,
or some beer, or something
2 T masa harina
3 T water

Heat oil in dutch oven or other big enough container. Brown beef, then add onion, garlic, and herbs and spices. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the two cups of liquid, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer. Let simmer for a couple of hours. Remove bay leaves.

Mix masa harina with water until smooth, add to chili, and stir well.  Cook for 5 or 10 minutes, and serve.

I added a small amount of salt, which I think was too much, hence no salt listed above.  Use your judgment.  More cumin is probably a good idea, and using whole seed rather than ground will probably help.

I would rate the hotness of this batch at low medium, which is a wide band.

It tasted nice enough, but it wasn’t really “there” yet, and I’m not sure what to change next.