Carne de Puerco con Chile Guajillo (Pork with Guajillo Sauce)

The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.

Suggested Use:
A mildly hot chile. Use in sauces, salsa, soups and your favorite chile. A little goes a long way.

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For pork:

2 pounds fatty boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2
6 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

For sauce:

1-1/3 lb fresh tomatillos (12 medium), husks discarded and tomatillos rinsed
5 oz dried guajillo chiles (18 to 20), wiped clean
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano, crumbled

Accompaniments: warm corn tortillas and cooked black beans


Cook pork:

Put the pork, water, salt and garlic in a 5-6 quart wide heavy pot and bring to a boil, skimming the froth off the top as you go. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until all of water has evaporated, about1-1/2 to 2 hours, then continue to cook, allowing the pork to fry in its own fat, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Make the sauce while the pork simmers:

Cover the whole tomatillos with water in a 2- 3 quart saucepan and simmer, uncovered, turning over occasionally, until tender, about 10-20 minutes. While the tomatillos are simmering, heat a comal over moderate heat until hot, about 2-3 minutes.

Toast the chiles, 2 or 3 at a time, pressing each with tongs and turning once, until the color changes slightly (some will inflate), about 10 seconds per batch. Transfer as toasted to a bowl.

Open the chiles (wear protective gloves), discarding the stems and seed cluster, then tear the chiles into large pieces and put into a large bowl.

Transfer the tomatillos to a blender with a slotted spoon and add 2 cupsof the tomatillo-cooking water (if the blender is too full, blend in batches), reserving the remainder. Add the chile pieces and salt. Blend until very smooth, about 2 minutes (use caution when blending hot liquids).

Heat sauce with pork:

Add the puree to the browned pork in the pot and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring and scraping up the brown bits from bottom of pot. Add the oregano and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, adding more tomatillo-cooking liquid or water if the sauce becomes too thick, about 10 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe from Gourmet Magazine, June 2006. Courtesy of Carolynn CarreƱo, “Cooking My Way to Mexican”.