My love relationship with food...enjoy this section of my website where I share some of my favorite homecooked meals, step-by-step...
Tostadas de Tinga So here's where the fun starts. I first tried this recipe when I was a server at Tapas Barcelona restaurant in Evanston, Illinois. I know what your thinking..."Hey dummy! Those tostadas aren't Spanish! They're from Mexico! Tostadas in Spain are different!" Well friend...you are correct! Although I worked at a Spanish restaurant, the cooks and head chef were from Mexico. It was a hot summer afternoon and I had just worked a lunch shift. One of the cooks offered me some "Tinga" (As a server, you were fortunate if the cooks offered you some of their own personal lunch. It was a great honor). The minute I tasted it, I decided that if I didn't spend the rest of my life trying to recreate it, I had no reason to continue existing. That was almost 15 years ago...and here I stand having mastered Tinga! We had a family of nine over from church. Fifteen lbs of pork shoulder and a long day of cooking, here's what I came up with. As you toil in the kitchen over this, know that the time will be worth it. Good luck...and happy cooking!
Trimming the Pork Butt Here's an important first step. Trimming the pork butt (aka shoulder) of excess fat. Notice how my butt's nice and lean!(tee-hee). You'll need about 5 lbs. This is about one shoulder. If you buy one that's a little smaller or bigger, don't sweat it. Ok, I know what you "know-it-all's" are thinking. "Why's he telling'em to trim the fat?! That's where all the flavor is!"...Yes!...BUT!...Too much fat will just give you fatty shredded pork that leaches into the sauce. Trust me there's no lack of flavor here...Ok. Enough about that. Let's move on.
Season and Sear Next step is simple and will undoubtedly annoy your wife. Smoke out the kitchen and make the house smell like pork!...Mmmmmm! Season the pork GENEROUSLY ALL OVER with kosher salt and black pepper. Why kosher salt? It just makes stuff taste better...I don't know why...just do it! To sear it, put about 1/4 cup of canola or olive oil in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet (don't use a non-stick skillet...it will murder the non-stick coating). Heat it over high heat until you barely begin to see smoke. Add the pork to the pan and don't touch it! Ever heard the term "A watched pot never boils"? Well, "A watched butt never sears"!! Bwaa-ha! ha! ha! After one side is seared, sear it on all sides.
Smile! It's BEER! Yup! Once that pork is seared, put it in a baking dish and pour about a half a bottle of beer in it. Then just drink the rest. You deserve it for slaving over a hot stove all day!
Start the Sauce You'll need to slice up one large yellow (Spanish) onion. If the onions start to sting your eyes, here's a tip...
Take another pull off your beer...
Welcome to Flavor Country To really get a great-flavored sauce, cook up some chorizo sausage over medium heat in a large saucepot. You'll need about 2 or 3 lbs. Do yourself a favor and don't use the nasty roadkill chorizo in a tube. If you cook that off, you'll yield 50% FAT! Not kidding! Use chorizo that's from a good meat market or Mexican grocery store. It's not hard to find, it's cheap and it's usually GOOD!
Stir in the Onions Yep. Get those onions nice and coated with the chorizo. Keep them going a while until they are completely cooked through. Meanwhile, start bringin' the heat!
Holy Mole! It's CHIPOTLE! Ahh yes! Once so elusive, now the name of a popular restaurant chain (popular especially if you've got a hankering to get food poisoning). Chipotles are smoked jalapeno peppers that have gained massive popularity. There is nothing quite like them. They're smoky and SPICY! You'll want to use canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. In this picture, I tripled the recipe so unless you have a death wish, don't use this many. You'll want to use about 3-5 chipotle peppers depending on the size. Add these to a blender or food processor with about 4-5 garlic cloves and a large (28 oz) can of whole peeled tomatoes along with a small (14 oz) can of tomato sauce. Blend until smooth. At this point, you may or may not want to add more chipotle (or just some of the adobo sauce will work too). The sauce, in its raw state should be SPICY. Because by the time you add the shredded pork, the sauce will dull. So don't skimp on the chipotle!
Add the Sauce Check out the onions! They're really nice and cooked completely through. Once you're at that point, add all that spicy goodness from the food processor/blender. Bring this mixture to a simmer, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer then cook and stir for about an hour. Make sure and stir it often so the bottom doesn't burn!
Shred the Pork and Stir in the Sauce Ok! Now we're getting close. Take out the pork and shred it. Then stir in the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Cover and place in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour at 350F, stirring occasionally. You're just about ready to dig in!
The Right Stuff... The garnishes are real simple. Some julienned radishes, chopped fresh cilantro and lime. I also served with Mexican "crema" (not shown here). You can by all means use sour cream but crema is amazing. It has a more pungent dairy flavor. It's also fattier, smoother, saltier and less tart than sour cream. If you've never tried it and can find it, use it! You won't regret it!
After All Your Hard Work If you have reached the end of this recipe, pat yourself on the back and celebrate. It took a long time but you undoubtedly realize that it was worth it! Enjoy!
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