Déjenme decirles acerca de una fiesta fabulosa… What, you don’t speak Spanish? Yeah me either… let’s move on. Let me tell you about the time I journeyed to Mexico with some wonderful friends… well not a literal trip, but a trip to the culinary world of Mexican flavours. I’m talking about zesty limes, smack you in the face chillis, creamy avocados, deliciously charred corn, crispy Tosadilas, 12 hour slow cooked pork and of course a nice crisp cold beer with a hint of lemon or for the more refined a slice of lime. Yeah what I just described sounds like heaven right? This dinner (well late lunch) was number three in a series of feasts, first being Moroccan, then Spanish and then the time had come for my favourite (Mexican, incase you hadn’t worked it out). This time we also welcomed Jamie to the dinner table, and man can that dude cook! It may help that he is a Chef and makes kick arse food for a living… This guy even makes lamb tongue taste good! Let’s all take a minute and welcome Jamie to the table.
This time round, Inspired Food HQ was the destination, and a beautiful Autumn day set the scene. There was a piñata (albeit empty), a pink cactus (do you have any idea how hard it is to find fake cacti when you want one?) and of course an overly bright table runner, yep this screamed Mexican… well my version of Mexico anyway. Although Mexican and Summer go hand in hand, none of us wanted to wait that long, so it was on. The beers were chilled and my prep was just about down when the doorbell rang. Laura, Aaron and Loki were the first to arrive (Loki is their cute little pup, for those not stalking Laura on Instagram yet, speaking of stalking while you’re at it check out Aaron’s Instagram too, this dude has bucket loads of talent… look for the donut ninja with T-Rex arms.. just do it). Soon after their arrival, the door bell rang again and Lexi, Jemima and Jamie arrived packing a laundry basket filled with food ready to be cooked and devoured.
It has been just over a year since our last catch up (can you believe it??) obviously a lot can happen in a year so there was a good catch up over some fried flour tortillas (thanks to my lovely lady) and some homemade guac. Next to step up to the hot plate was Lexi. Now don’t be fooled, just because this chick doesn’t have a food blog doesn’t mean she can’t cook (I know right, who would have thought that people make food with out the need to share it with the world… crazy). Lexi made Crispy Chicken Tostadas with Avocado Puree and Chorizo Crumb (recipe courtesy of Ben Milbourne) and what a perfect way to dive into our Mexican journey! Creamy smooth avocado puree, crisply salt hit from the chorizo crumb, and perfectly cooked crispy chicken… Yum!
After a brief intermission (after two other massive feasts we’ve learnt to pace ourselves) We got stuck into prepping the mains. Jemima had prepared an aromatic Chilli Con Carne. Packed with chilli, a hint of coffee, a dash of sour cream and sprinkling of freshness from the coriander. All this meant that this bad boy was a flavour explosion with every spoonfull. Served with a side of brown rice, I can picture myself eating bucket loads of this Chilli in front of a fire complete with an eski full of beer and some excellent company. I suggest you do the same. You won’t regret it. Laura also provided us with a wonderful side of Esquites (Mexican Street Corn). As usual, this little dish was ready to surprise the palette. For those who don’t know Laura would assume it is just a bowl of corn… but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Laura’s finesse and attention to flavour is impeccable, charing the corn added a nice hint of nuttiness, adding feta (Mexican cheese is so hard to find here!! Anyone know where to find some?) really added a nice fresh saltiness which worked perfectly with the tangyness from a squeeze of lime. This dish really was a masterpiece! Laura also made a jar of Salsa de Chile Rojo which thinking back on, I don’t think I got to try!
What is a Mexican feast without tacos? Yeah not really Mexican at all right? I decided that I would make 12 hour slow cook Pork Tacos, complete with homemade corn tortillas of course. Now if you ask my lovely lady, she would tell you I don’t have a very good track record making bread like foods… so she made me buy some pre-made tortillas just in case… but you will be glad to know they were not needed. After 12 hours of cooking the pork shoulder (on the bone of course) we woke up to a house smelling of Mexican flavours and that right there is a wonderful way to wake up. Paired with a choice of two salsas, some crispy purple cabbage and some fresh thinly sliced radish, I really hope it was enough to keep up with the other dishes!
Next up, obviously was dessert. Laura had prepared some excellent Boozy Cucumber, Lime and Chilli Paletas which were the perfect palette cleansers after such of variety of mains. Deliciously fresh and the perfect amount of tequila (well perfect for some, not so perfect for others) These will become a regular for me during the summer months! Thanks Laura.
Now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for… Well at least the moment I’ve been waiting for! It was Jamie’s turn to step into the kitchen. After all the conversations throughout the afternoon, you could easily tell this guy knows his food! (You can also tell he is a chef, with containers of prepped food complete with date labels… I need to lift my game for the next feast!) Jamie was making an avocado puree, chocolate mousse, lime curd and assorted awesomeness complete with finger limes. At least that’s what Jemima decided to call it. This dessert was absolutely amazing and it is easy to see why this guy makes a living from cooking. The flavours were all perfectly balanced and the texture of the biscuit crumb really set it of with the citrusy pop of the finger lime. The best thing? It wasn’t too sweet! As most of you have probably heard before, I usually go for another beer instead of dessert, but this time I had both. This was the perfect end to our Mexican Feast and plans are underway for the next instalment. I can’t wait for an Indian feast!
12 Hour Slow Cooked Mexican PorkPrint Recipe
- 3kg pork shoulder, bone in
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 8 chipotle chillis, roughly chopped
- 2 jalapeno chillis, roughly chopped
- 2 red chillis, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1/2 a stubby of beer (drink the rest)
- 2 oranges, zest and juice
- 1 lime, zest and juice
In a small frying pan over a medium heat, toast the cumin and coriander seeds until lightly golden and aromatic.
Transfer to a mortar and pestle ground them into a powder.
Combine the cumin and coriander powder with the oregano, chilli powder, and salt.
Score the skin of the pork shoulder in a criss-cross pattern, being careful not to go through to the meat.
Rub the dried spice mix all over the pork, and place into a large container. Add the orange juice, zest, lime juice, zest, cinnamon sticks, chipotle, jalapeños and red chilli and mix well. Marinate in the fridge for 4 hours or preferably overnight.
Preheat your oven to 200’c
In a large cast iron pot over a medium heat add the olive oil, onion and garlic and cook until just softened.
Add the pork shoulder and brown on all sides for 5-10 minutes.
Add the beer and bring to the boil.
Once boiling transfer to the oven and cook on high for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 110’c and cook for 11 ½ hours.
For the last 30 minutes turn the oven back up to 200’c, remove the lid and let the pork caramelise, basting with the juices every 10 minutes.
Pull your pork apart with 2 forks and stir through any remaining liquid.
Assemble your tacos and enjoy.
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