by John Ryan
Cooking the Pork
and Making a Munchie
Unfortunately, you can't start the sauce until the pork is done because you need the broth for the sauce. And the pork takes a good, long, unattended while. I use the time to listen to the radio, do a load of laundry, tidy up, knock out the guacamole/salsa dip and listen to records I've forgotten about.
A few pork "don'ts" notes:
Don't worry about trimming fat from the pork, you'll get rid of it later when you shred the meat.
Don't try to hurry the meat. It has to cook slowly.
Don't put off the task of shredding the meat. It is messy and takes a while, but it's mindless and easier if the pork is still warm. If you have a partner that's willing to help, you're in luck.
Finally, don't be too compulsive about shredding the meat, you want some chunks along with some fine threads.
To Make the Pork:
1 head garlic
1 5-pound pork shoulder
5 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
Water to cover (approx. 12 cups)
1. Cut the whole head of garlic in half around the middle. Put it in the pot with the pork, bay leaves, salt, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, skim the gray foam that comes to the top, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover. (Check after 15 minutes, you'll probably need to lower the heat a touch more.) Cook until the meat is literally falling off the bone, 3 to 4 hours.
2. Set the pork aside on a large platter or pasta bowl. Strain and save the broth-you'll need 14 cups. Add water if necessary. 3) Shred the pork: Work on a large platter or cookie sheet. Use a couple forks to tear the meat apart. Discard the bone and gross hunks of fat. Put the pork in a large bowl.
Flag and Chips
Everyone knows that the Mexican flag is red, white, and green, right? So here's what I propose as a snack. The concept is simple-a layer of guacamole, a layer of salsa, and a layer of sour cream. Now, spreading the sour cream is a little tricky, but my real problem is a serving dish. Something rustic and Southwestern, like a large, shallow earthenware crock would be great. But so far I've used a 8x8 inch square cake pan. Granted, it would give a self-respecting food stylist a coronary, but so it goes.
Just Good Food
- Master Shopping List, Ingredient Notes, and An Overview
- Cooking the Pork and Making a Munchie
- Chili Sauce and Finishing the Meat Filling
- Preparing the Husks and Making the Masa
- Making and Steaming the Tamales
Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.
This page created December 1998